Meltwater takes pain out of online media monitoring

Meltwater News aggregates online media, providing overviews of online media presence.

Specifications: Meltwater News aggregates online media, providing overviews of organizations' online media presence. It tracks keywords, phrases, and topics in more than 160,000 sources from more than 190 countries and monitors consistently throughout the day.

Cost: starting at $6,000 for 12 months, the product can monitor social media; produce clip reports, graphs, and charts; unlimited articles; and unlimited keywords.

Jon Sullivan, Aflac's manager of corporate communications, has been using Meltwater News for at least three years.

How do you use it?
I monitor and analyze conversations about Aflac and our competitors. I can generate all mentions of Aflac, headlines involving Aflac, and industry news in general.

It does for me what I used to have to do with Google searches - put in key words and hope it turned out what I was looking for. It's very helpful that I don't have to generate it myself.

Before I'm even at my desk, my morning Meltwater News report comes to my Blackberry. It gives me a capsulized idea of conversation that happened the previous day and overnight.

How does it serve your business needs?
Part of the role of a good corporate communications team is to ensure our executives, officers, and managers are informed about what's going on in the industry, with our company, and general conversation about Aflac.

We're primarily doing weekly reports. I use Meltwater News' platform to decide which articles I want in the report. Because I get alerts every morning, and I can do additional searches if needed, I can disseminate information any day, any time if something happens people need to know about.

I just searched on Aflac headlines for the last 12 months. Meltwater News generated a chart I'll use to keep executives informed about Aflac trends in headlines. I can determine what we were doing that generated headlines and use that as analytic data to do something similarly in coming years. For example, headline numbers jumped significantly in August, September, and October when we promoted Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, so we know we were doing something right.

How does it integrate with your existing infrastructure from an IT standpoint?
It's web-based. It comes to my Blackberry via email.

What are the main benefits?
Its simplicity. It's not just national news. If there's something happening in a small town, I need to know about it. And customer service is terrific. When I have a challenge it gets resolved quickly.

What are the main drawbacks?
Nothing comes to mind.

What would you like to see added/improved?
I'd like more placement value analytics. The reports don't tell me the value of the placement – but it might be an industry challenge more than Meltwater News specifically. PR people have been battling that since the beginning of earned media.

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