In the old days, they called it press clippings, because you got out a pair of scissors, grabbed stacks of newspapers and got busy clipping.
Then you pasted the stories onto 8.5 x 11 sheets and ran them through this thing they called a photocopier.
Today, most look up their clips online and forward stories via links on an email.
But who has time to scour the series of tubes all day, wondering if newspapers, blogs, TV stations or radio shows said your name or ran a story about you?
There are three basic choices for monitoring your media.
- Hire a PR Firm
This is a smart option for many people.
Maybe a big corporation with an in-house media shop can do their own clips, but how many authors, rock stars, Hollywood actors or pro football players have their own media shop? It’s simpler for many public figures to just hire a PR firm to do this job. And they’ll do it well. This is what they do all day.
- Delegate It
Monitoring media isn’t usually a full-time job. You can delegate this to somebody. The job isn’t that difficult, once you know how to do it.
Which leads to the third option.
- Do It Yourself
Set up Google news alerts. Not just one alert. Do a bunch of them.
Put in your name, your organization’s name, the name of any products or services, everything that might generate a hit in the press. Example: if you’re an author, put in your name and the names of all your books. If you’re a musician, set up alerts for your name and the titles of your albums.
Google will search the series of tubes for you, scouring newspapers, TV stations, blogs, everything. You can get a daily summary of all the hits — or get them in your email as they’re published.
You’ll also want to set up a search in Twitter for your name and certain Twitter hashtags.
There are other options out there. Some people swear by Lexis-Nexus searches, use research librarians or other media databases. There are also apps that will check multiple social media sites for you — not just Twitter but Facebook and others.
The one warning I have is this: make it once a day. Don’t set up your alerts to show up in the inbox as they happen, because the temptation is too strong to stop what you’re doing and see what the press and public is saying. Once a day is smart.