Media Monitoring: Thor Industries

As public relations professionals, we’re strong believers that monitoring the news is just as important as pitching story ideas to reporters. Staying up to date on the latest in the media is essential to understanding a client’s industry and audience. This deeper understanding not only leads to creating more authentic content that resonates with a client’s audience, but it also allows for genuine connections with real people on behalf of the brand. 

This is particularly true for our client THOR Industries, one of the largest RV manufacturers in the world and parent company to 17 subsidiary RV brands. Each day, our team combs through hundreds of print, online and broadcast news clips and social media posts that mention THOR Industries, any of its subsidiaries or any of the subsidiaries’ specific brands. We then compile a roundup of news and social media highlights and email it to the THOR Industries team.

This daily news and social media report (yes, the daily part is important) serves two critical purposes:

  1. It allows the THOR Industries team to quickly and easily see the most important news and social media posts from the day.
  2. It keeps our team up to speed on the ins and outs of the RV industry. As mentioned, with this fuller understanding of the RV world, we’re able to create content and engage with THOR Industries’ audience from an insider’s perspective, rather than outsiders looking in.

Did you know that by 2020, there will be 40 times more bytes of data than there are stars in the observable universe?! That’s a lot of data. In the age of information overload, how do we cut through the noise and find the media that matters most to our clients?

Luckily, there are several tools available to help. One of our favorites is your basic Google Alerts, which sends notifications via email whenever your preset keywords are mentioned online. For more robust news and social media monitoring and alerts, we use Meltwater and Cision. These platforms allow for more specific searches and insights on audience reach and other meaningful data points. We recommend using all three in tandem for news and social media monitoring so nothing slips through the cracks. 

These platforms pull in an astonishing amount of search results, so we narrow down these results using several filters, including Boolean search terms. This type of search allows users to combine keyword searches with “operators” like AND, NOT and OR to generate more specific search results. We use Boolean search terms with all the tools listed above, and they’re a major timesaver and relatively easy to learn. 

For example, in our searches for THOR Industries, we only want articles related to the RV industry and not the Marvel superhero. Our search using Boolean search terms might look like this: “THOR Industries” AND “RV” NOT (“Thor” AND (“Marvel” OR “Superhero”))

Make sense? If not, check out this Boolean beginners guide to get started. 

Now that you have all your search results in one place, how do you determine what news and social media posts to call out to your client? In our monitoring, we’re always on the hunt for relevant articles and social media posts from credible sources and that have a significant reach and quality content

You should also ask your client what types of articles they want to see! Do they care about investor news? Then keep an eye out for stock-related news about your client. What about community involvement? Look for news and social media posts about your client’s role in the community. 

Learning what is most important to your client takes time, and the more you monitor, the more you’ll understand the search results that are most relevant.

Happy monitoring!

Let Your Brand Lead Your Business

The COVID-19 world is bananas. There, I said it. 

Whether these strange times end up lasting a season or become our long-term norm, businesses that adapt effectively and efficiently to the new digital landscape have the best chance for sustained success and longevity. If you’re slow to adjust, you risk becoming irrelevant and may have a hard time catching up altogether. No matter your product or service, there are a few key things to remember in order to stay relevant and viable.

Position yourself as the answer
Business and individuals alike are looking for solutions to everyday problems, new and old. If you are a business, you likely exist because you answer a specific need. Now ask yourself: is your solution still relevant and is the problem still a problem? Re-evaluate your offerings, and get creative about what you call them. Rename them based on what your customers are looking for right now. There is new vocabulary popping up everyday related to Coronavirus and its effects. Additionally, expand your solutions. Launch that new offering you have been wondering about. Review your team’s talents and strengths to see if there are any unique services you can add to your catalog. People are asking questions, and you need to continue to be the answer.

Meet people where they are
Even as restrictions lift in some parts of the country, many people aren’t out and about right now. That means they aren’t seeing your billboards, or even hearing word-of-mouth referrals as much as they were 10 weeks ago. The vast majority of folks are spending more time online, more time streaming entertainment and more time with their families. That’s where you should be, too. Spend time on message boards, join social media conversations, serve ads on streaming services, reach out to your personal network. Get creative and meet your potential customers where they—just don’t forget to strike the right tone.

Stay ahead of trends (and start them if you can)
The digital world has always changed at a rapid pace. Not only keeping up with trends, but staying ahead of them will position you as the expert and ensure you are always doing the best work and providing the best results for your company and your customers. The ultimate goal here is to start a trend. Try something you’ve never seen before. Use your diverse knowledge to merge your expertise with something creative to make something new. See what others are doing and take it to a never-before-seen level. Have some fun and set a standard.

Commit to quality and consistency
At the end of the day, people are looking for quality and consistency. Know who you are, stay true to yourself and your mission and do everything with that in mind. If you make sure to do things consistently with the highest quality, you will create value for someone, somewhere. This will always be the case—now, and on the other side of this pandemic.

Ready to take control of your marketing strategy?

Listen Up: The Power of Media Monitoring

A holistic, strategic approach to public relations goes far beyond crafting a brand’s message and securing media placements. While establishing what to say and how, when and where to say it creates the framework for a PR strategy, effective PR also requires a deep understanding of how your brand is being perceived by your target media and target audience. This understanding elevates your ability to develop impactful campaigns, foster valuable media relationships and respond well to crises. 

At See.Spark.Go, we use a variety of platforms and processes to ensure we’re capturing every media mention for our clients, while also monitoring their competitors’ news and trends within their industries. We share media coverage updates in real-time, as well as in our weekly Media Feedback Reports, and we dive deeper into trends and analyses on a quarterly and annual basis. By keeping a pulse not just on our clients, but on the environments in which they exist, we’re able to create informed, yet agile strategies.

Here are just a few of the ways that ongoing, comprehensive media monitoring can take your PR strategy to the next level:

Relevant Pitches Get Read
Media monitoring allows PR pros to stay informed about their clients’ audiences, competitors and target media on an ongoing basis, making market research for a new product or campaign quick, easy and accurate. Identifying and understanding consumers’ general sentiment toward the industry, as well as similar products or services, is vital when considering how to best engage with journalists. 

Journalists want to write about topics that interest them and that will create value for their readers, viewers or listeners. It takes more time, but if you can articulate your client’s differentiators and/or how they relate to a current trend within the context of what each specific journalist covers, you’re far more likely to receive an interview request than if you blanket pitch a list without doing your research. Sending relevant pitches is the best way to build a relationship with a journalist, and you can only do that by keeping up with the whole industry’s happenings—not just those of your client.

Robust Reports Create Informed Strategies
Beyond staying attuned to industry trends and media, ongoing media monitoring also allows you to communicate the value of earned media and use that information to inform future strategies. You can track certain “vanity metrics” like ad equivalency and impressions; but the true value of earned media comes from factors like tone, positioning, message pull-through and audience demographics. It’s not enough to ask, “How many people did we reach?” Instead, you have to ask, “Were they the right people? What did we say to them? How were we positioned?” By taking a closer look at your coverage, you can better understand what’s working and what has the best chance of “moving the needle.” With more data points available to measure success, you can more easily identify high-performing strategies and replicate them moving forward.

More Context Means Fewer Crises
Last but certainly not least, being aware of your brand’s surroundings in all relevant spheres allows for preparedness. No one enjoys navigating a crisis, but it is important to be prepared if ever that moment comes so that your brand can respond rather than react to the situation. If you’ve routinely monitored the media content in your sphere, you’ll be equipped to efficiently and effectively craft a crisis response strategy because you understand your audience sentiment, your competitors’ positions and the greater context surrounding the industry. Plus, those great media relationships you’ve built as a result of your relevant pitches might allow you to mitigate having your crisis amplified in the media. Never underestimate the power of having journalists on your side! 

In today’s media landscape, there are more media channels to influence your brand’s image than ever before. Media monitoring lets you make the most of every opportunity by being proactive and prepared. The more touch points you have in place to track your media coverage, and the more data you have available to quantify it, the better your PR strategies will be. Knowing how your brand’s value proposition aligns with your media’s interests will allow you to conduct smart outreach and seed relatable messages, therefore elevating your brand as a whole.

Striking the Right Tone: How Marketers Should Communicate in the Age of Coronavirus

As the old adage goes, timing is everything. As strategy partners to our clients, it’s our job to identify good timing and to make the most of the opportunities it presents. This includes knowing how to strike the right tone when the going gets tough and things go viral (literally).

From terror attacks to recessions to natural disasters, marketers and their agencies have faced plenty of challenges before—but the worldwide COVID impact is, well, unprecedented.

The messages we publish are under a microscope, and rightly so. Curating just the right tone for your communication approach is imperative to your brand’s success through this temporary, yet highly sensitive time. Here are our top five tips to help brands strike the right tone during difficult times:

  1. Keep it human. See.Spark.Go President & Co-founder Brittany Thoms says it best: “It’s all about staying relevant and human.” Audiences are far more likely to give to, buy from or support people-forward organizations over faceless brands. It’s imperative that brands carry an empathetic tone that fits whatever its audience is experiencing in the moment.
  2. Stay aspirational. Shed a light! Your audience is ultimately looking to you to be a resource, example or inspiration for the type of life they want to live. Keep producing the good stuff—just make sure it doesn’t read as “oblivious” to current events.
  3. Check it twice, or more. Brands are currently reevaluating the tone of their ads and social content. Many have had to pull spots, shelve already-produced work for another time, or retool existing content. While it may feel like wasted effort to scrap that awesome campaign you worked so hard on, if it no longer makes sense within the global climate, you (and your leadership, clients, and consumers) will be so glad you decided to pivot. 
  4. Humor and sarcasm aren’t out! Just run it through several sensitivity filters before hitting “publish.”
  5. Be generous. Consumers are looking to see what you can offer to the community in these times. Are you adapting your operational services to meet current needs, or possibly reimagining your business model to focus on customer convenience? Keep working to create value for those you serve by meeting them where they’re at, and you will be rewarded.

We hope you will view this time as an opportunity to evaluate your brand through a new lens and lean into better understanding your audience. Approach them as if you were approaching yourself—as humans who are also navigating uncharted waters. They may not want to be “sold” to right now, and we have to respect that. Take this time instead to cultivate community and foster loyalty among your audience, and they’ll continue to support you in the long term.

Social media for brands requires a deep understanding of your target market, which is why See.Spark.Go invests heavily in time and resources to help brands listen and respond to the audiences they serve. For more on See.Spark.Go’s crisis management approach and how we can serve your brand with social media management and tone development, get in touch.