Re: Track online press coverage

From: Cliff Kurtzman <>
Date: Tue 12 Mar 2002 15:50:06 -0600

I wrote this article a couple of years ago for what is now
the Tenagra Apogee, the companion newsletter for this list
(if you don't receive the Apogee, you can subscribe at ). I hope it answers some
of Catherine's questions. I've repeated it below:

If your organization is mentioned in the the New York Times
online, the San Francisco Chronicle or even Ralph Wilson's
Web Marketing Today e-mail newsletter, are you sure to see
it? I'd bet that for most of us the answer is no. But it
is often useful and important to track news coverage of
your company, if for no other reason than to be sure that
what is being said about your organization is positive and
accurate. With so many news sources strictly online, any
traditional print press clipping service is likely to prove
inadequate for tracking your coverage.

Because so much of our business involves providing public
relations services for our clients with the objective of
creating media coverage, we are often asked if it is
possible to track the media coverage that the company may
receive. The answer is... yes, it is possible to track
and find much of your coverage, but you will never catch
100% of it. There are three main tools you can use that
provide a fairly robust means of identifying and tracking
media coverage.

The first means of tracking coverage is simply to ask
people that you interact with online how they heard about
you. If you make it easy for them to tell you, they
usually will. For example, in his June 2, 2000 ClickZ Column
(see ),
ClickZ [then] publisher Andy Bourland mentioned that he reads
Tenagra's Online Advertising Discussion List each day.
His online article included a hyperlink to the Online
Advertising Discussion List web site. When you go to
this site ( ), there is a form
requesting that you specify your e-mail address and asking
"How did you hear about The Online Advertising Discussion
List?" Starting at 1:58 a.m the morning of June 2, we
started receiving subscription requests from people
telling us that they heard about the list from Andy at
ClickZ. A total of twenty nine new subscribers have now
come from that reference.

The second means of tracking coverage comes from examining
the log files of your web server. When someone clicks from
another web site to your web site, it usually generates an
entry in the access log of your web server containing the
URL of the referring site. The software that you or your
agency uses to process your log files should produce
reports showing you a list of where your referrals are
coming from. By scanning this list, you will find links to
news stories that mention your site.

The third means of tracking coverage requires going out and
looking for it... or hiring someone (like us) to do it for
you. For each company that we track clippings for, there
are about thirty different news sites, search engines,
search agents, and news libraries that we use to scan for
coverage, plus special niche news and magazine sites that
we scan based on the particular industry of the client.
Many of these services are free to the user, but some
charge a fee for searching or retrieving articles. When
using these kinds of services, great care needs to be taken
to define the right keywords -- or you are likely to find
yourself sorting through a lot of irrelevant information.

You may find that creating a web page with links to your
online news stories provides a valuable addition to your
online media center or Intranet, as well as a pat on the
back or two from your management for all the great
coverage your public relations efforts have achieved.
But if you are posting the links on a publicly accessible
page, you may want to take care to assure that those links
that you post provide information that is accurate and
casts your company in a positive light. To see examples
of how this can work, take a look at pages we've created
for EDS ( )
and Tenagra ( ).

There are also search tools for monitoring usenet newsgroups
and stock chat sites. Going beyond simple monitoring and
notification, the next step is to provide strategic
assessment, analysis, and recommendations for response
actions in the event that misinformation is posted. This
is a particularly sensitive issue for many publicly-traded
companies, because an unfortunate reality is that there are
people who will use stock chat forums to post false
information, as well as rumors, aimed at manipulating stock
prices. This is also an area in which a good online public
relations agency (along with a good attorney) can provide a
lot of additional value.


Clifford R. Kurtzman, Ph.D.
President and CEO
The Tenagra Corporation
Using the Internet as a Strategic Asset

Received on Tue Mar 12 2002 - 15:50:06 CST


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