Welcome to my 300th posting! Sorry about yesterday – travel back from Europe had me running to catch up.
Last March when I began this blog, I wrote a posting called "What People Are Saying About You and How Do You Know" which raised the importance of going beyond media monitoring when keeping your finger on the pulse of what is said in the public domain. It is advice, I believe, that bears repetition.
Companies and institutions regularly media monitor to see what is being written about them, their products and to gain insight into public and stakeholder perception. But media monitoring doesn’t begin to do the trick and here are just a few reasons why:
- There are Lots of Blogs – There has been and continues to be an explosion of blogs and an increasing number, like this one, are professionally oriented rather than rooted in a personal diary.
- Blogs Are Integrating with Traditional Media – Increasingly, reporters are looking at blogs. The Washington Post, for example, often links published on-line stories to blogs that are covering the same topic. And, as a blog writer, I can tell you that the number of pitches I receive and the number of press releases I receive is on the rise.
- A Strong Din of Conversation – There is an entire conversation that takes place in the blogosphere and if you aren’t monitoring it, you are getting only a small part of the story.
- Large Readership – Recently, an Associated Press poll demonstrated that among those that read blogs, most are reading about 10 per day.
- Instant Influence Especially with Investors – When a blogger posts something where a company that is publicly traded is mentioned, part of that posting and a link appear within minutes on the Google Finance page of that company. I have found no one is a more avid reader of blogs than investors.
So if you are getting a media monitoring report, and no blog monitoring report, you are getting short-changed. Unfortunately, the tools available for blog monitoring are far from perfect. I am a big fan of Google, but the Blog Search instrument there is somewhat blunt and a little limiting unless you use the Advanced Search. Technorati allows many different kinds of searches – by authority, relevance and freshness, but is wildly inconsistent. If you are going to take a monitoring approach, it is best to run your searches on both instruments.
If you are late to this, don’t fret. When television was introduced, there were many skeptics expressing the point of view that it would ever be an important force in communications. Andrew Sullivan has noted in many ways that blogging is changing the face of journalism. At this point, imagining a communications future without bloggers is like imagining it without video.