Disclosure: this post has been sponsored by Reputation Monitor, a U.K. based online monitoring service provided by Distilled; itself a search marketing and Web design company. (One month free trial here)
Background on media monitoring
One of the most important aspects of my job, for the first year or so, was monitoring media coverage for my clients. For two clients, I had between 10 and 15 sources to be searched for between 8 and 12 key words or phrases.
Almost four years on, monitoring is still a big part of my work life only this time I’m focused online – on blogs, personal Web sites, chat rooms, message boards, social networks and social book marking/news sites.
Really Simple Syndication makes media monitoring Really, Seriously, Simple
And thanks to RSS, it’s a lot easier. I have key word searches set up through Technorati, Bloglines, Google, Yahoo!, Blog Pulse and a slew of other services – all of which means I don’t go to the 72 million or so sites I’m actually monitoring, I’m actively pulling that information to me on an on demand basis. iStudio has also cooked up our own news aggregator – email me if you want to know more.
For more info on how to “roll your own” RSS monitoring solution, check out Mike Manuel’s Yahoo! Pipes solution and Feed for All’s excellent article (via Judy Gombita) on ego searches. Oh, and if you can’t find an RSS feed for a Web site, check out my post – No RSS, No Problem.
Alternative to Rolling Your Own
However, if you don’t have the same comfort level with social media, or the inclination to learn, there are services out there that can help you.
Both are really very great services for the social media challenged, or just excessively busy, account director looking to get a toe wet in the social media community – NB: some people have a *small* problem with RepuTrace though.
A Word From The Sponsors
RepuTrace and Custom Scoop are just two of a growing number of online monitoring solutions – one of which is Reputation Monitor. I must confess I haven’t tried the service but I did have a quick email chat with Will Critchlow, one of Distilled’s co-founders and a company director.
Essentially, the service aggregates, and then applies a meta filter to, a slew of RSS feeds before delivering them to you in a manner of your choosing. The meta filter allows you to cut out irrelevant or spam posting and lets you focus on the pieces of coverage that will really affect your client or organization.
So I bet you have questions and I bet they are something along the lines of:
1. Why should I pay for a service I can get for free elsewhere?
2. If I am going to pay for a service, why should I choose the one that’s paying you to write about them?
I’ll let Will take those (emphasis my own):
BMBY – Why should I pay for a service I can get for free?
Will Critchlow – Primarily convenience. The main benefit is that the filtering we do (to make sure a post is about you / your client) means that you have to wade through less stuff that isn’t about you. You can cover everything we cover with a good set of RSS feeds, but you will lose out on the post-filtering.
Soon, we will have loads more exciting features, including some graphical reporting etc. (By the way, if people want to hear about future features / updates / uses, the best bet is to subscribe the Distilled blog.
BMBY – What differentiates Reputation Monitor from Reputrace, Customscoop etc?
WC – We are a lot more up front about our pricing and the terms etc. than practically all of the ‘monitoring as a service’ companies I have found in the market. They all require consultations etc (and most cost many times what Reputation Monitor costs) whereas Reputation Monitor has transparent pricing and instant online sign-up. (note – I’ve lost my notes from the demos with Custom Scoop and RepuTrace, so I can’t confirm or deny this. Ed)
In terms of functionality, Reputation Monitor is deliberately simple – we don’t try to sing and dance until we have got the basics really right. At the moment, I’m sure the more expensive solutions have more functionality, but we offer enough for most businesses to do exactly what they need to at an incredibly affordable price. You would be better placed than me to compare fully if you have used any others, as I haven’t used tools from our competitors.
As mentioned above, we intend to keep rolling out new features, which will hopefully bring in the best bits of everything that’s out there while keeping it affordable.
So there you go. It may be cheaper for you to set up your own RSS solution, but what’s the opportunity cost in terms of your time?