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Anna Lebedeva

How to Boost Your PR with Brand Monitoring #seocafe

Anna Lebedeva
How to Boost Your PR with Brand Monitoring #seocafe

What is branding? Put simply, it is the process of building a company’s image in the consumer’s mind, and we all know that this process is difficult and requires a long-term investment. It can take decades to create a firmly established brand, but it can literally take only a few minutes to destroy your company’s image.

We can say that PR acts as a watchdog for any brand. The whole essence of PR is about managing a company’s reputation by dealing with positive and especially negative publicity. In the era of severe competition it is particularly dangerous to lose control of your company’s reputation.

So it is vital to keep abreast of what people are saying about your brand and react accordingly. And to do that you need to constantly monitor your online presence.

Why do you need to monitor your brand mentions?

One of the essential goals of PR is to anticipate and deal with public opinion online, as what is said online heavily impacts a company’s whole image.

Before the rise of online monitoring services, PR used to be about manual media monitoring, seeking out a company’s mentions in newspapers and magazines. It is obvious that this task took plenty of PR specialists’ working hours and hours, which took time away from other important projects.

Now, with the introduction of new technologies, brand monitoring can be done with one click. Today monitoring tools allow PR professionals to keep up with their company’s brand image online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Let’s see exactly how marketers can benefit from brand monitoring:

  • It helps you understand if your strategy is effective. Brand monitoring allows you to evaluate the success of a publication or any other marketing activity. The number of mentions and comments you receive, as well as your audience’s level of engagement, clearly indicate which of your PR efforts were the most effective.
  • It allows you to keep up with your online presence. Another important task of your PR specialist is maintaining awareness of your brand. By constantly tracking mentions of your brand, you can immediately notice, for example, a significant decrease in mentions or an increasing number of negative comments. This is a clear sign that something is going wrong either with your company or with your PR strategy.
  • It’s a good way to build quality links. Brand monitoring is also an awesome way to boost your SEO strategy by building a solid link profile. Contact the person who mentioned you, thank them for the mention and ask for a link. You can learn more about building links with the help of PR activities from my post “Why PR Is the New Link Building.”

What are the key metrics for measuring brand awareness?

In essence, brand awareness is how widely your brand is known among your potential customers. And monitoring helps you estimate how recognized your brand is among your target audience. Now let’s find out exactly how you can exactly implement a strategy to increase awareness of your brand.

Basically, we can divide all the key metrics into quantitative and qualitative metrics.

Quantitative Metrics

These can be, for example:

  • Your number of likes and shares on social media
  • Your number of comments
  • The number of followers your company acquired over a certain period of time

Speaking of social signals that your publications can receive, a share has more value than a like (as a share widens your potential reach). Yet, if someone shared your post, that doesn’t necessarily mean they actually read it, as Andy Crestodina points out in his article. In that sense, the most precise indicators of engagement are comments, backlinks or online mentions.

Qualitative Metrics

While quantitative metrics help you estimate the audience coverage of your brand, the qualitative ones give you an understanding of your company’s image in customers’ minds. Here you need to pay attention to the tone that journalists use to write about your company, the expressions they use, and how they compare your company with your competitors’.

Clearly, tracking qualitative metrics is more time consuming and will require you to pay attention to the smallest details.

Notice the sentiment of your customers’ comments and reviews. Are your mentions mostly positive or negative? Are customers praising your brand or complaining? Do they want to know more about your company? What questions do they ask and what difficulties do they face? By asking yourself these questions, you can estimate on which stage of relationship you and your customers are.

Another important thing to check is your audience’s demographics and habits. At the very least, it is usually possible to track their location, especially if a comment was left in social media. Use this information to understand where your happiest and unhappiest clients are located.

How to Handle Negative Feedback

Keeping up with online communications is not an easy task: information spreads at the speed of light and becomes immediately accessible for a lot of people. That’s why one of the key goals of PR is to anticipate any negative situation that can occur online.

Many PR professionals consider negative feedback the worst thing that can happen to their company. Undoubtedly it can cause significant harm to your brand, but the scale of the catastrophe really depends on how fast and professionally you react.

Use negative mentions as a valuable chance to engage with your customers, to get to know them better and receive honest feedback that will help you improve your products or services.

Here is some advice for dealing negative mentions:

  • Responding aggressively to negative comments or simply ignoring them is a mistake! In this post you can find some fabulous examples of brands ruining their reputation with their responses to negative feedback. If you want to establish trust with your (customers?/audience?), always stay calm and be polite.
  • Speed matters! Try to respond immediately. Even if you don’t have the answer right at that moment, let the commenter know that you’re working on it and will get back to them as soon as possible.
  • Don’t forget to follow up with your unsatisfied customer. Ask them if their problem was solved and if they need any additional support from your team. Show your customers that you care even after the negative situation was successfully resolved.

Why is it Important to Monitor Your Competitors' Mentions?

You can learn a lot about brand monitoring by analyzing the PR strategies of your competitors. What kind of news do they create and how do they spread the word about it? Who engages with that news and becomes their friends? What kinds of communication styles do they use to pursue their audience?

Analyze the tone they use to communicate with their target audience. Notice their audience’s reaction to that chosen tone and if your competitor uses the same tone throughout all communication channels. Think about how you can be different and stand out among the crowd.

Monitor negative comments and complaints about your competitor’s product. Use this information to your advantage and leverage it in your own PR strategy.

How to Create New Ideas with Brand Monitoring

Keeping an eye on your competitors’ activities is also a smart strategy for generating new marketing ideas. Track your competitors’ news, releases and publications and study their audience’s reaction. Adopt their most effective PR activities; take their successful content ideas and transform them into something even more outstanding!

New brilliant ideas are not the only profits you’ll see from monitoring your competitors. You can also analyze mistakes they make and learn from their negative experiences. That way you will not only save time and money, but also protect your brand’s reputation.

Your current or potential customers can be a valuable source of content ideas as well. Keep up with the questions they are asking about your brand or the problems they face, then write a post that answers their questions and solves their problems.

Which Tools Help You Track Mentions?

Brand Monitoring Tools

And as a conclusion, I'd like to share a some practical advice from our #SEOcafe chat participants:

And what is your favorite tip for brand monitoring? Please, share it in the comments below!

Anna Lebedeva is the PR manager at SEMrush. She has a passion for digital marketing, new technologies and media. She’s worked with brands in IT, fashion, packaging, hotel and transportation industries and is now actively spreading the word about SEMrush around the world.

Anna Lebedeva is the PR manager at SEMrush. She has a passion for digital marketing, new technologies and media. She’s worked with brands in IT, fashion, packaging, hotel and transportation industries and is now actively spreading the word about SEMrush around the world.

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