UK PR firms fail to track online media coverage.

The majority of UK PR companies are failing to identify potential negative blog posts, and aren’t able to protect their online reputation and brand.

A study carried out by Distilled - the creators of Reputation Monitor, a media monitoring tool, found that only 2 of the 100 PR companies found a mention of their company on the Distilled Blog.

“A great brand can take months, if not years, and millions of dollars to build. It should be the thing you hold most precious. Don’t let even one negative blog comment go unnoticed.” warns Andy Beal - one of the world’s most respected online marketing experts.

“What starts as a ripple in a small pond of discontent, can quickly become a tidal-wave of negative consumer sentiment, unless your company is able to quickly identify potential negative blog posts and move quickly to protect its online reputation and brand” Beal said.

Despite prizes worth over £200 (champagne, a no obligation trial of reputation monitor, and an offer to donate to charity) only two of the 100 companies listed replied to the offer. Duncan Morris from Distilled said “To be honest we weren’t surprised at the lack of response. Online media monitoring is just taking off in America, and what we often see in the online world is that the UK can be years behind America.”

If these PR companies aren’t monitoring the online media on their own behalf, are they doing it for their clients? The very nature of a PR campaign is to generate mentions of a company. These days it is increasingly likely that these mentions will be online, and with the best will in the world some of these mentions could be negative.

“Not only is it a wasted opportunity to add an extra service to their clients, but it could prove costly to their brands. Blogs and other sources of user generated content have taken off to the extent that failing to track what is being said online could destroy the reputation of a brand. Every company should be tracking their online reputation” said Morris.

Distilled, formed in 2005 by Will Critchlow and Duncan Morris, specialises in helping companies get more business from their websites, through a combination of website design, development and search engine marketing. They regularly write on the topic of reputation monitoring on their blog.

You can read this release in full on the Distilled website, where you can also signup for a free trial of reputation monitor.

Duncan Morris

Duncan Morris

Duncan founded Distilled with Will in 2005. He built the, now defunct website CMS from the ground-up, and consulted for some of the company’s first clients. Today Duncan leads the management team and helps to steer...   read more

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  1. John Smith

    I have to disagree with the implication of "don't let even one negative blog comment go unnoticed." It seems to imply that agencies should chase after every negative post they see. That is not a very strategic approach. Also, while it is a cute stunt, I'm not sure you could draw these conclusions from it. I probably would not respond if I saw it. Just seems like a marketing come on.

    reply >
  2. John - Thanks for your comments. I think the point that Andy is making and that I agree with is that you need to monitor what is being said about you so that you can make a decision about whether you do anything with the negative comment. If you don't track what people are saying about you then you never have the option to reply should you see fit.

    I'm would not be surprised at all if there were a handful of people who saw the blog post and who didn't contact us for one reason or another.

    I would however be shocked if the number of people who saw it but didn't get in contact was high enough to change my conclusion - being that not enough PR companies are monitoring their reputation.

    Our blog and this offer is obviously one method of marketing reputation monitor. However, I firmly believe that what we have to offer is valuable to the PR companies we listed.

    So whilst I am inclined to agree that our survey was by no means fool proof, and could be seen purely as a "marketing come on", I stand by the gist of the blog post, being that not enough PR companies are monitoring what is being said about them online.

    I would love to hear other peoples views on this. Are you a PR company that saw the first blog post but decided not to respond?

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  3. As Duncan has already said, they is to not let a single post go "unnoticed". You certainly don't have to responde to every post, but you should be aware of it.

    Jeff Jarvis' "Dell Hell" started with one post. He was not a computer expert, didn't write for PC World, and yet that one post turned into a year of media hell for Dell.

    The best PR firms "try" to monitor all that is said about a client - you may not catch everything, but you should make the effort. If you relay on a clipping service to let you know when your client was mentioned in a newspaper, it's already too late.

    reply >

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