Online Media Measurement and Brand Control

If you are asking yourself, What is online media measurement? Read on.

Online Media Measurement usually refers to tracking online communications and networking patterns that occur on blogs, podcasts, videos, social communities, and the various commentary that exchanges between them. Many companies are struggled with the task of analyzing when and why people are talking about them online, or if there is something a company needs to be aware of relating to the industry with competitive companies and products.

Why is online media monitoring so important?

Basic business 101 tells us that it is essential to monitor the “pulse” of your consumers, employees, and decision makers. For small business, knowing what your target market is talking about and how they are reacting to similar issues allows you to utilize a nimble business model to achieve rapid growth with short-term opportunities.

For big business it allows businesses to maneuver strategic pitfalls and detect trends in an industry. It is vital to understand what individuals are influencing your market, whether that happens to be an angry consumer or even someone within the organization. From a 30,000 foot view, the ability to measure how your brand, company, and leadership is perceived by online readers could be fundamental to your business- the next set of eyes wandering across the wrong review of your site may be a stock holder in the company or a journalist waiting to spotlight what is happening.

How to approach online media monitoring?

We engage our brains. We participate and join in the conversation. One of the vital requirements in monitoring a conversation is actually knowing the subtle tone and voice of the participants. What may sound gruff to one viewer may be an inside joke amongst friends, and that perception changes based upon how a new participant discovers the information. Did they come in from a search engine? Did they follow a series of comments from another site? Did they have a personal connection to the conversation? Who are they? What are their motifs?

How can you discover what buzz exists about your company?

From a “free perspective” you can establish most of the blog tracking by using a personalized Google homepage or RSS site, setting up watchlists and Google alerts on specific keyphrases. From a less technical perspective, you can simply write up a list of the CEOs and Marketing VPs for ten companies in your industry and they will lead you to 95% of the blog market for you.

  • Take that list of 20 names.
    • Search Google and Linkedin for them.
    • Write down company and professional blogs.
  • Take the 20-50 blogs and enter the URLs into Technorati.
    • Write down the popularity of each blog
    • Rank them in order
  • Starting with the highest ranking blog,
    • Write down the author of the blog
    • Write down the blog’s blogroll

You can also create a homepage or hidden blog page using a widgets from mybuzzmonitor.com to build a whole bunch of different categories and keywords to monitor.

  • Feedreader.com – Feedreader is a FREE RSS news aggregation solution that provides robust,
    state-of-the-art features in an intuitive, user-friendly environment.
  • Bloglines – my preferred RSS reader of choice. A web based platform that allows me to use multiple computers and share my feeds amongst my professional team and friends.
  • Newsgator.com– Personalize RSS to get just what you want – from videos to vitamins, finance to fly fishing, technology to toddlers – just pick the news you want.
  • Illumio – is a desktop RSS reader, one of the few that has the ability to join groups and have conversations with other like-minded readers. This places it in an RSS Reader/Social Networking category.

Blog Search Engines

  • IceRocket.com – has a fairly active database of blogs online, and includes some extra functionality with a keyword trending tool that allows you to chart specific mentions of a name over time.
  • Technorati.com – is my preferred blog search tool. You can easily browse search terms, add functionality to your browser, see what is “hot or not” and re-republish information on your own site.
  • Google Blog Search – I don’t often use Google blog search, but it is sometimes an easy alternative with having it be “one click away” from some of my other daily searches. It is also very easy to add on to my iGoogle homepage. Of the three choices however, it provides the least amount of data for the casual observer.

Blog Communities

  • BlogCatalog & MyBlogLog – see the section on the right column with little pictures? That is MyBloglog. It provides me with fairly detailed information about a variety of the readers browsing this site. It also allows me to follow my readers (or any blog’s readers) back to another site and see what communities they are involved with. This information is vital to me, as a site with MyBlogLog (or it’s competitor BlogCatalog) has the ability to quickly identify what sites are influencing an industry.

Search Engine Ranking

  • Semonics (very cheap) can be used for some added functionality for a marketing / PR use. They provide index ranking and search ranking reports

What questions should you be asking?

  • Is my company name being talked about?
  • Is my company tagline in the news? What about my products?
  • Is my management team in the conversation? is their reputation?
  • Are my employees talking about us? what about x-employees?
  • Do my competitors have any buzz about them?
  • Who are the influencers of the conversations?
  • Who is reading it all?

CONCLUSION

With the explosion of companies trying to jump into the social media waters, many marketing agencies and public relations firms are looking at what they can “squeeze into a box” so that they can package direct solutions (i.e. automated) to clients. The development of thousands of new communication technology platforms (each with slightly different penetration, reach, functionality, and metrics) creates a huge problem with creating automated statistical tracking.

As more and more companies dive into this problem, the conversations being monitored by company X with toolset X will become lost in cyberspace as a specific industry marketplace adopts different methods of online conversation.

For the companies who do stay on top of conversations and understand the way the market moves- they will have an opportunity for analysis, improved business intelligence, brand protection, customer support alternatives, market research, and new channels for product marketing.

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