Creating PR Opportunities For Your Business


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Real Time Media Monitoring To The Rescue 

It's integral to always be aware of your brand's media exposure, but it's next to impossible when there are so many media outlets and platforms to monitor. But, public relations managers and brands can breathe a sigh of relief because there is a platform that takes care of this for you, and we're about to learn all about it. 

Recently, our CEO sat down with a team member who's helped build the world’s leading aggregator of real-time television and radio content. In this blog, Hollywood Branded learns how to create PR opportunities for your business from the expertise of Zack Jenkins, Vice President of Sales and Account Management at the media monitoring service, Critical Mention. 

Zach Jenkins Podcast Canva

A Little More About Zack

As part of his role, Zack shapes the organization's sales and go-to-market strategy, as well as negotiates partner agreements. Before joining Critical Mention Zack worked as a private wealth manager at Allen Partners, and he graduated Cum Laude from Boston University and also attended Copenhagen Business School.  

We brought Zack on our podcast today to dive in deeper about the many reasons why brands and agencies can benefit from having media monitoring services as well as active PR programs. We’ll learn how you can better create PR opportunities for your business, what could be possibly be avoided and how some companies are missing the mark.

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Interview Transcript Highlights

Question: Super happy to have you here. I know that you have quite the experience over at Critical Mention, I'd love to give you a chance to give all of our listeners a little bit more information on your background, and what you do.

Answer: Yeah, I'd love to. I have actually been with Critical Mention for the last eight years. It was actually my second job out of college. I was briefly a wannabe Wall Street person. But, I landed at Critical Mention in direct sales back in 2011.

Back then, Critical Mention was just a broadcast monitoring service, and the media monitoring landscape in general was sort of dramatically different. But, I've been in direct sales working directly with the wonderful PR and communications people really ever since. From companies and government agencies of all sizes, I work with directly in terms of bringing them on into Critical Mention as a solution for their media monitoring needs. Four years ago I moved up to Sales Director, which was still direct sales, but just more involved, and larger accounts, and a little bit more into the strategy, and sort of product side of it.

Then, back in November of last year, I moved up into the Vice President, more sort of a management role. And, set aside my direct sales, which is something I still actually miss. There's nothing better than interacting directly with clients, and I still try and do that as much as I possibly can. Now it's a little bit more managerial, and strategy, and deciding the directions that Critical Mention is heading. Yeah, it's been a great ride, and yeah, there's always something exciting happening here. I've been on my toes pretty much the whole time.

Question: Well I know, I'm very familiar with your service because our agency uses it, and we have for the last couple of years. But, can you give our listeners a little bit more insight into why does a software like Critical Mention exist? What solutions does it provide, and how does it help companies?

Answer: Absolutely. I think in general, I always like to think of Critical Mention and what we're doing as just a solution based sale, where we're really there to help either a PR agency better serve their direct clients, or if it's a direct Corp. Com. or PR person directly, their sort of internal constituency, or the corporation itself.

Primarily, obviously a huge part of PR, and messaging, and awareness is knowing what's being said about your company, so there's a huge responsibility for PR people to just know exactly what sort of the news is. And, by aggregating television, and radio, and social, and online, and licensed print, anything like that in one place. We try and give PR professionals just a portal to be able to access sort of everything in one place, so to be in the know.


Then, the other huge portion of it is obviously internal reporting. So whether it's a daily newsletter, whether it's some type of report around an event that you did, or a campaign, the thoughts on the agency front. We find that PR people are spending a ton of time either looking for coverage, and finding a way to share that internally. So, with the reporting tool, and being able to not only identify that this coverage was great, but to have impression numbers, and reach, and some type of ROI metric is huge in that, because getting media coverage is so difficult. So when it finally does come in, especially when it's positive, that's something you really want to be able to highlight. We try and give PR people a chance to really know what's going on, and then when things are happening, be able to communicate that internally in a meaningful way.

Question: Have there been any creative ways, besides my inadvertent usage of Critical Mention to get y'all tons of media and exposure. But, have you seen how other people have leveraged Critical Mention in some unique ways at all, that come to mind?

Answer: There's, a lot of companies have found out about news unexpectedly through Critical Mention. If there's an incident at a plant or something like that, where the local news is often times the first place to pick that up, and so local TV can sort of be a little bit unusual in terms of breaking news that way, and Critical Mention can certainly be of help there. 

It's kinda like crisis control. Now that we have real time Twitter alerts, I mean a lot of this stuff again, is something that most clients probably wouldn't want shared. But, to get a real time Twitter alert that's filtered for only people with more than 5,000 followers, you can sort of start to get ahead of a lot of this stuff. I think people find all kinds of ways to use real time to sort of get ahead of the story.

dreamstime_xxl_7972708It also comes handy to measure what your competition's doing, and their exposure compared to you. I think when we run sort of the internal numbers on how people use our analytics, the share of voice is by far the most exported chart in the platform. That's where if I'm with McDonald's and I also want to track Burger King, and Wendy's, and Taco Bell, you can set all those up as searches in your account. Then, look by medium what the share of voice is weighted for sentiment, or weighted for audience. I think competitive tracking, especially for our agency clients, is a huge part of it. Where, if it's campaigns or things like that. Again, back to sort of the messaging of telling the PR story. If you're going to tell your client that you're going to get a larger percentage of these conversations around fast food, or healthcare, or whatever vertical that you're working in. To be able to show that, when this campaign started in January, your share of voice in these 50 key outlets that we've targeted and identified for all these competitors, was 20%. Now, it's up to 28%.

Again, that's another place where it's not only like great media content, but to be able to provide a metric to that, and show the client or your internal constituent what that means. That's exactly what Critical Mention was designed for.

Question: Any other case usages that you can think of, of how people have leveraged Critical Mention in ways that have benefited their companies?

Answer: Yeah, I think sponsorship opportunities is a huge one, especially for nonprofits. A ton of local news around food banks ... It's funny, we work with I think half, or 52 or 53 out of the Fortune 100. But, we also have hundreds of nonprofits, and the Midwest Food Bank of Tennessee, and the Girl Scouts, Regional Girl Scout Offices, and things like that. All shapes and sizes of companies can fit into Critical Mention somehow, and I think when these places are involved in the local community, and a lot of the news is going to be local. For them to be able to create these sponsorship reports that I mentioned around all the events that they do. We find that, that can really help them gain awareness. But, then when they go to that meeting next year, when they're asking someone to put down a subscription for the food drive, or a promotion for X, Y, or Z. They can say, "Here's the kind of media coverage that you can expect that we got from last year, and here's what it was actually worth to last years sponsors."

I think with charities, and nonprofits, and things like that, again, to be able to have something a little bit more tangible outside their really great mission again, just brings credibility for them. And, has really helped a lot of our nonprofit clients expand their sponsorship opportunities.

Question: Now, social media is a new area for Critical Mention, right?

Answer: Yeah. We launched Twitter back in ... Again, we've sort of evolved as media has as well. When I started, and I'm making myself seem extremely old even though I'm only 33. There wasn't a ton, social media was sort of ... I mean it was certainly around, but not nearly as mainstream and news driven as it is now. We launched Twitter back in 2015, and have full unrestricted access to the Twitter Firehose as they call it, so you can do anything you want there.

Other social media has gotten more complicated with all the privacy stuff around Facebook, and some of the other players. We are one of the few companies that's on the Facebook KPI as well, so Facebook and you ... with Facebook you actually login to Critical Mention through with your Facebook account and that helps you track all those pages.

Then, with Twitter as well, if you want to respond or interact with these posts, because you're actually logged in with your social accounts, you have the ability to do that as well. Again, it's sort of the mission of Critical Mention is to sort of tell the PR story. I think the real value in it is to be able to show how messaging is different in different mediums. It was covered on social media this way, and online sort of was typically a little bit more formal, television is obviously much more visual, and social, all sort of bets are off. So, to be able to frame that, have that all in one place is really ... we wanted this to be, when it comes to monitoring and analysis, truly comprehensive. And, to not have to go between multiple systems, and in and out, and be able to frame things in an appropriate way I think really helps.

Then, our reports, I'm sure you've had to use this from time to time. But, also have a link injector feature. So, even if there's something from Reddit, or from a private, or a PDF that is only emailed quarterly. You can manually insert any content you want into Critical Mention reports as well. If there's things that are a little bit more unusual that you'd want to include, all that's possible through the reporting tool as well.


Check Out The Podcast!

Our CEO Stacy and Zack have a great conversation about Critical Mention and how it has helped Hollywood Branded. Check out the full episode below to hear all about it!

Every week we have a marketing professional on our show to share their tips, tricks and lessons learned from their professional experience. Check out some of our other podcast blogs from earlier this year: 

Every week we release a new podcast featuring guest's with so much knowledge about marketing, you don't want to miss one!  How can you make sure you don't miss an episode? Click below to subscribe!

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