4 media monitoring tips for marketing to farmers

by Jeff Walter
June 7, 2017

Media monitoring tips

Here’s how you can best use media monitoring services to track media coverage and help evaluate campaign success.

Long before digital press releases or even the internet, marketing and PR professionals were forced to track media placements the old-fashioned way: manually. But with media outlets now operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, many organizations find it increasingly difficult to their track marketing communications material. Fortunately, today, media monitoring services, such as Cision and Meltwater, allow us to track our media investment more quickly and efficiently than ever before.

What is media monitoring?

As defined by CyberAlert, media monitoring is the process of reading, watching or listening to the editorial content of media sources on a continuing basis, and then, identifying, saving and analyzing content that contains specific keywords or topics. In simpler terms: it’s a key tool used to track what the media is saying about brands, competitors and stakeholders in print or on the internet, radio or TV.

How important is media monitoring?

Media monitoring is essential because analysis and measurement help understand the value of content. We, as marketers, can (and should) learn a lot from these services, because they provide valuable metrics to support your marketing outreach. While the information provided about the placement is valuable, most services take it a step further by providing the actual mention from the original source. This is particularly important to ag marketers, because many of our marketing initiatives are invested in local media, where it is particularly difficult to track.

Tip 1: There are services that specialize in different kinds of media coverage. Spend time identifying your needs and comparing services before jumping to purchase a subscription.

What kind of analysis do media monitoring services provide?

Media monitoring services can track articles, press releases, social media mentions and video clips, among others. They will tell you where coverage ran, how many times it ran and which market covered your tactic the most. You can also pull metrics such as circulation, publicity value and tone, which can be critical during crisis communications, but also risky due to subjectivity.

Tip 2: Be careful in choosing the metrics you place your value in. The Barcelona Principles refute the long-held practice of reporting advertising value equivalency or audience multipliers. Ask yourself: is my work appearing in outlets whose audience is largely my target farmer?

These services also allow you to download and export organized, detailed reports of your desired coverage. With this information, you will be able to:

  • more accurately analyze marketing tactics
  • determine the success of your campaign
  • better inform initiatives to ensure future coverage is relevant, timely and accurate

The value in these reports comes not from quantitative measurement, but from analysis of the way you communicated the message. The results should help answer evaluative questions such as:

  1. Did our campaign change the perception of anything?
  2. How is our brand impacting the marketplace?
  3. Is our impact greater than our output? If not, how can we get to that point?

Tip 3: The secret to pulling in the most accurate media coverage relies on your ability to filter your results by only the appropriate keywords. Refine your search terms and tag coverage by brand and crop mentions.

What can I do with the insight provided by media monitoring services?

The information provided by media monitoring services is most commonly used for reporting campaign results. Marketers can customize these reports based on the metrics they believe to be most valuable. From the information provided by the services, you will be able to form a more detailed qualitative analysis and better identify which tactics are working, which tactics are not working and how the marketplace is responding. While you may find conclusions that are not favorable, media monitoring services are important because they can help identify problems in your marketing strategy and allow you to tailor future content for your target market.

Tip 4: Use media monitoring services to measure industry competitors as well. This will allow you to compare coverage from a media perspective, gauge consumer interests and identify weaknesses in your campaign.

When ag marketers need to track media coverage, analyze data or find reliable metrics to evaluate campaign success, a properly managed media monitoring service can be a powerful resource.

Jeff Walter
About the Author – Jeff Walter

President/Chief Integration Officer. Jeff combines 20 years of client service experience with his deep knowledge and passion for agriculture, which stems from growing up on a corn and soybean farm in northern Illinois. He is a quick study of the brand, the customers and competitors, knows the right questions to ask, and with his oversight on planning and analytics, pushes the team to category-defining strategies and results-driven plans.


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Since 1978, the ag-marketing experts at Rhea + Kaiser have been helping brands connect with the farmer customer.

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