Can You Monitor That Issue? Why Yes, We Can.
For years, Ceisler Media has monitored media coverage and pertinent issues for our clients. Recently we stepped up the process by creating a Media Operations division. The team of six is led by Melissa Sherman Kozlowski, our Media Operations Executive.
Whether a client needs a crisis-related issue monitored, a pertinent policy tracked or daily clips collated, Melissa develops an individualized plan to meet the need. From there, she works with the Media Operations team members to ensure they are equipped with the necessary information to support our clients.
Melissa Sherman Kozlowski: Caitlin and Elise, you have monitored issues on behalf of our high-profile clients for many years. From your experience, why is staying on top of the news so essential?
Caitlin O’Connor: Monitoring the news is essential to the daily work we do for our clients because we must stay informed. As avid consumers of the news, we need to know not just what issues are being reported but how they are reported. Everything our firm does is grounded in strategy. Ceisler Media helps tell our clients’ stories, manage their reputations and build their brands. In order to operate from a position of strength, our firm has to stay updated on issues impacting our clients’ field of industry.
Elise Corbett: Also, our clients rely on us as extensions of their teams. They have a million things to pay attention to. If we are able to flag something in the news they should be paying attention to, that can be invaluable.
Melissa: How has the speed of the news cycle impacted the need of the offerings at Ceisler Media?
Caitlin: We have been living in the 24/7 news cycle for years, but the pandemic accelerated the way our society consumes information. Online-only publications and social media influencers are competing with (and sometimes scooping) traditional outlets. Add citizen journalism and curated content into that mix and you have a crowded field. For our clients, this brings both opportunities and challenges. We certainly have more mediums that we can access to tell our clients’ stories but cutting through that noise can be incredibly difficult. That is why having a robust media operations team is essential to our firm’s overall structure. It is important that when one of our clients suddenly needs an issue monitored (which happens frequently), the firm has the capacity to do so.
Elise: I would add that a strong media operations team allows for more efficiency across the board. We can take on the work and allow our internal client account teams to more easily digest the information and strategize next steps. In addition, different client teams may need to monitor the same trends or news stories and not realize it, so the media operations team cuts down potential double work.
Caitlin: Melissa, what have you done to develop this team?
Melissa: Great question. It is important every team member understands which topics the client is looking for prior to signing on. Therefore, all applicants must take a test to make sure they pay strict attention to detail, know how to locate an article and understand the importance of formatting and consistency for each clip.
Our team’s offerings are growing rapidly. We perform multiple searches every day for a wide array of clients. It is important that everyone on the team is trained on all of the clips. And we are always trying to refine our searches and improve our reports, which includes augmenting with social media where we believe it is relevant.
I’ll ask you, Caitlin, what are important tips to share with new members of our team?
Caitlin: First, understand the story, media outlet or issue you are monitoring. If you do not understand what you are looking for, you won’t find it. Second, take time to research. Being good at research is a skill that can be developed, but it requires time. Plan your schedule accordingly so you do not feel rushed. Third, the firm has great platforms like Critical Mention and Cision to help in your research. Use them. And fourth, understand the difference between legitimate news outlets and sites that appear to be credible but aren’t. Many websites and publications resemble media outlets, but they are based on sponsored content or fake news. As the adage goes, consider the source.