Oct 25

Staying Up to Speed on Relevant Information in the 24-hour News and Social Media Cycle

Person's hand on laptop touchpadOne thing I pride myself on is being able to keep my clients and colleagues updated on the most important news or social media mentions. While most people would say they enjoy stepping away from the news, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (I know you all love Tik Tok, though) that’s my job.

With newsrooms shrinking and reporters being overwhelmed, social media has become a key way to having your voice heard. In the past six months I’ve seen more issues start on social media than ever before. With the COVID-19 lockdowns early in 2020, most of us took to social media to cure boredom, keep a human connection and – hopefully – find something that makes us happy.

Since then, we’ve seen more social media use among everyone – up 72 percent since before the pandemic. Seventy-two percent. That’s a lot of additional usage to monitor, but spotting an unhappy resident, patient or customer early on can help save a lot of time.

I’d like to share some tips for how I stay up to date each day without feeling overwhelmed.

Invest in a news monitoring service

Investing in a news monitoring service is key to keeping up to date on mentions of your organization – especially if a story gets a lot of attention (good or bad). While you can set up Google Alerts, they can be significantly slower than a service that is meant to capture mentions of your organization. Two of my favorites are:

  • Cision: Allows you to track your brand mentions in real time across millions of global breaking news stories happening daily. The platform gives you access to thousands of newspapers – both print and online – magazines, paywalled content and more. You can access local, national and international coverage so you never miss a story.
  • TVEyes: Allows you to track broadcast coverage in real time. You can find global mentions of your organization on television programming. You can also edit any clip to share video and audio content with internal and external teams.

Read your local news

Start your morning or lunch with a quick news scan. Check out your local TV and radio stations, newspapers, top magazines and more. While national news is important, keeping up to date on the happenings in your community is key.

Follow local journalists

Following local journalists on Twitter is a great way to stay up to date on local news. Oftentimes, reporters cover different topics and work at different times, so their Twitter accounts are a good way to follow local stories. You can find a list of reporters on media outlets’ websites. Once you follow a few journalists on Twitter, you’ll start to see them pop up in your recommended follows. Don’t forget to follow the photojournalists, too.

Listen to a podcast

My favorite way to stay in the know on current events is to start my morning with NPR’s “Up First” podcast. Find your preferred podcast that gives you the highlights of the day’s headlines in 15 minutes or less.

And sometimes, you just have to go “old fashioned” with a classic Google or Facebook search. I typically try combinations of names, the problem itself, state, organization, etc. until I’m able to find a relevant mention.

While I know this isn’t something every industry needs to do every day, as a public relations professional, I must remain a few steps ahead when it comes to trends and public sentiment. I hope you’re able to use a few of these tips next time you monitor for mentions of your organization.

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