If working in PR, handling media crises is in your job description. Knowing you’re the one who handles them, unfortunately, doesn’t make the job any less stressful.

Especially if a crisis is in the making and you’re not aware of it.

Picture this scenario. You arrive at your workplace, relatively unoccupied and ready to start the day. You briefly chat with your colleagues (exchange the latest office gossip), brew your coffee and then settle in for the day.

Unbeknownst to you, however, while your coffee was brewing, so was a media crisis surrounding your brand. Your latest campaign has offended quite a few individuals who were rather happy to share their unhappiness with others. That is, they were compelled to share it on social media. The discontent has been slowly gaining traction and now a few media outlets have picked up the story, too. And look, you finally have a trending hashtag – nevermind its negative connotations.

Then, still blissfully ignorant, you receive an urgent call or an e-mail. Honestly, how are you only finding about this now, Susan? Thrust now in your face, that one article accusing the brand of inappropriate behavior, stares accusingly. Your biggest fear has become a reality. The last person to know about this problem is – you.

Poor Susan, ever at fault, now starts digging into the issue and tries to come up with a solution and crisis management strategy. She huffs and she puffs, but she is ready to try and appease the masses with a heartfelt apology. Does it work?

The apology might. The explanation of why Susan was the last to find out about the issue will not.

What then, could have helped Susan win this round?

Simply put – alerts.

Let’s find out more

You’ve probably come across media monitoring once or twice in your line of work. Maybe you even implement one of today’s plentiful media monitoring tools on a daily basis.

That means you diligently monitor your brand as well as anything of interest to your brand. You accumulate data on a daily basis and sift through all the mentions and reports. Either alone, or with the help of your team.

It’s rather time-consuming though, isn’t it?

Imagine how much easier Susan’s life could have been if only she took advantage of the alerts feature.

There’s plenty of options to choose from, too. In Susan’s case, a Spike alert would have been of great value as it notifies a person when their tracked query starts generating more buzz than usual. In short, it detects crises faster than The Board. Perfect for Susan. In Mediatoolkit, Spike alert automatically activates for every query you track.

Our algorithm actually calculates the average amount of mentions a brand is getting. If Susan were then to monitor a certain query for a while, its pattern could have been well established – an average activity of its online presence noted. Thus, when Susan’s query started generating more mentions than usual, she’d automatically be notified by an e-mail.

If this were a case, Susan wouldn’t have found herself in a situation where she’s one of the last few people to know about the crisis. Actually, she would have been the first. Not only that, but she’d already had a plan set in motion by the time someone slapped an article about the crisis on her desk. The plus side is that besides detecting a crisis, a spike alert also detects opportunities. A positive mention of your brand gets gazillion retweets? Be the first one to find out about it and enjoy spreading the popular user-generated content.

Real-life example

Let me also quickly refer to a study case we’ve done on Dolce & Gabbana. They have recently got themselves into a rather hairy situation and were faced with the exact same problem that’s been discussed thus far – a media crisis. Their campaign went viral because of racism accusations towards China. Subsequently, their show was cancelled, reputation damaged and millions of dollars lost. All due to not reacting on time and underestimating the power of social media.

That’s why alerts are a great feature to fully take advantage of. When Susan’s or Dolce & Gabbana’s campaign started to receive so much negative feedback, they would have already had all the necessary information at their disposal. Media monitoring tools crawl the whole of world wide web for you, not just a chosen few websites or social media platforms (even if such an option exists). They track and gather all the data relevant to your brand and base all the reports on them. Alerts simply notify you of that data in a clear and concise way, and they are so easy to set up, too. You can only be a few clicks away from continually keeping up with your brand.

However, a media crisis is one of the more extreme examples of why alerts are so important to businesses nowadays. Always being one step ahead is an absolute must considering the possibilities of today’s technology and tools.

However important this particular use of alerts is, there are other types of alerts. Not only alerts but also digests.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into this feature.

How to set up the alerts

Mediatoolkit, specifically, offers alerts and digests. Even more specifically, it offers real-time and custom e-mail alerts, as well as daily and weekly e-mail digests.

All you have to do to start it up is click on the folder for which you want to set up the alerts and then click on the bell icon on the top of the screen.

 

In the window that pops up, you’ll be able to choose a preferred type of alert. To help you out, though, let’s get into a bit more detail about each option.

Real-time alerts really keep you up to date since they notify you about new mentions as they appear online. They are great for keeping an eye out for any potential media upheaval that’s happening in real time. With these alerts you’ll be the first to know if someone mentions your brand alongside keywords like “boycott”, “scandal”, “salmonella” or in any other negative context related to your business. They’ll also help you discover positive content. Whether your newest campaign truly hit it off with the audience or there’s a generally positive sentiment – you’ll know about it.

Originally, real-time alerts are limited to six alerts per hour so as to keep your inbox from overflowing. However, you can always change it up and customize the number of alerts you want to receive in real time. By customizing them you can set the exact day of the week, time of the day or even timeframe for receiving alerts that work best for you or your business.

Additionally, you can set up a daily or weekly digest. While real-time alerts notify you of mentions as they appear online, as was already said, in digests you’ll receive a daily or weekly overview of all mentions. More precisely, you’ll get the information about the source, date and time of every mention. Also, by clicking on the received mention, you’ll be able to access the full article/post on the web page or social media.

To make sure this isn’t a desktop only thing, you can also turn on push alerts on your phone as well as set up Slack alerts. You can even set up Slack alerts for more folders and receive new mentions in the same Slack channels.

Now, imagine if this feature were a part of Susan’s daily work routine – brew coffee, chat with colleagues, settle in, check daily 8 AM scheduled alerts.

Do you think she still would have been blindsided?

Takeaway

Even though they are excellent in it, don’t let the discovery of a crisis be the only reason you use alerts. Alerts are, above all else, a great way of continually keeping up with anything that is relevant to your business. Take the above-mentioned digests, for instance. Every day, if you so choose, you get a summary of your brand’s online mentions – where you were talked about, who talked about you and what were they talking about.

The very idea of being in the know about every aspect of your brand’s online presence, every minute of every day truly is tempting, isn’t it?

Choose to always stay one step ahead and start using alerts now – click here for a free trial period!

Part of the Mediatoolkit marketing team. Fanfiction and sleep enthusiast dabbling in content creation.