The 11 Best Free and Paid Media Monitoring Tools for PR

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Media monitoring is an important component of PR.

Understanding who is talking about your clients’ brands and what they’re saying and feeling about it can help you improve reputations, avoid crises, provide stellar customer service, and — ultimately — drive revenue. It can also provide insight to what journalists, bloggers, and publications to contact for new media opportunities.

The following 11 media monitoring tools can help you stay on top of where and how your clients are mentioned in the media. Note: Since I haven’t personally used all of these tools, I’ve conducted some of my research on software review site G2. I’ve also included some reviews from real customers and users.

Best Free Media Monitoring Tools

Let’s start with a handful of the best free media monitoring tools. Regardless of your budget, these are helpful tools to add to your PR arsenal. Note: Many of these tools are free offerings from paid tools. Some features may require an upgrade.

1. Talkwalker Alerts (similar to Google Alerts)

Cost: Free to use Alerts; Talkwalker plans start at $9,600/year

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Talkwalker Alerts is a free tool by Talkwalker, an enterprise-level media monitoring tool. Talkwalker Alerts claims to be the “best free and easy alternative to Google Alerts,” allowing users to create alerts around terms and keywords.

Unlike Google Alerts, however, this tool monitors social media and allows you to filter when you receive alerts as well as what sources you’d like to receive alerts from — blogs, forums, websites, publications, and social media.

Used by over 600,000 people, Talkwalker Alerts sends any relevant web or Twitter mentions of your clients’ brands (or whatever alerts you set up) directly to your email. There’s no limit to how many alerts you can set or mentions you can receive in your inbox.

2. Hootsuite

Cost: Free plan option; paid plans start at $65/month with 30-day free trial

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Hootsuite is a social media scheduling, publishing, monitoring, and analytics tool, but we will focus on the monitoring aspect. While Hootsuite doesn’t report on brand mentions in the news or online forums, it does provide robust monitoring capabilities across all social networks — for mentions of your clients’ brands and their competitors.

Hootsuite also allows you to set up custom streams that listen for mentions of trending topics and product names. Unique to Hootsuite is its Hootsuite Insights feature. Powered by Brandwatch (a tool we discuss in the paid media monitoring list section below), Hootsuite Insights gives you a real-time view of conversations around each brand and allows you to respond and engage when necessary. This feature is also helpful when collecting consumer research and learning more about your clients’ target audiences.

The free plan that Hootsuite offers allows you to manage three social profiles and schedule up to 30 messages per month. To access the more robust monitoring tools (like Hootsuite Insights), you’ll have to upgrade to at least the Professional plan.

3. Anewstip

Cost: Free plan option; paid plans start at $200/month with 7-day free trial

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Anewstip is a unique media monitoring tool; it allows you to search for mentions of your clients’ brands in news articles and tweets to find relevant journalists that are already writing about each business or industry. The tool is also a database and houses contact information for over one million journalists, editors, bloggers, and news outlets — a highly valuable feature for writing media pitches.

As described by a reviewer on G2: “Imagine being able to type in any keyword and have Twitter profiles of journalists who have created new articles about your product and … send a pitch to help them come up with new content and have your link in their article.” Anewstip not only helps you monitor your media and build your media list, but it also helps you send personalized pitches and monitor how many are opened and clicked on — a powerful measure to see what type of outreach is working best for your clients.

The free plan for Anewstip allows one user, unlimited searches, and two media lists with 100 contacts apiece. However, in order to access contact information for journalists and send pitching, you’ll have to upgrade to at least the Pro plan.

4. SocialSearcher

Cost: Free plan option; paid plans start at 3.49 €/month with 14-day free trial

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SocialSearcher identifies as a “free social media search engine”. In my opinion, it’s one of the most powerful social media monitoring tools that you can access for free.

When you search for a brand or keyword, SocialSearcher browses Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, Flickr, Dailymotion and Vimeo for real-time mentions and conversations. It also provides analytics at-a-glance, including the number of mentions, when they were posted, popular hashtags, and the general sentiment around the keyword or brand. You don’t even have to login to run a search.

As a free user, you can conduct and save up to 100 searches per day and set up up to two email alerts for mentions directly to your inbox. SocialSearcher also offers premium automated social monitoring, advanced filtering technology, mentions history, trend tracking, and deep social analytics. To access these, however, you’ll have to upgrade to at least the Basic plan.

Best Paid Media Monitoring Tools

In this section, I’ll unpack a handful of paid media monitoring tools. Naturally, these are much more robust than the tools previously mentioned. Some cater to enterprise businesses and typically require you to contact their sales team to receive a custom quote. Others — like Covered Press — allow you to jump right in and start monitoring media mentions, even at the enterprise level.

5. Covered Press

Cost: 14-day free trial; plans start at $195/month

Covered Press was developed to make publicists’ lives and jobs easier. With real-time press alerts, gorgeous streamlined reporting, custom client dashboards, and detailed analytics, Covered Press is the PR professional’s dream media platform — it combines the features and functionalities of many of the tools you’ll see in this list, and at a much lower price point.

Covered Press provides an easy-to-navigate dashboard and is also a white-label product, meaning you can remove the Covered Press branding and add yours when enabling client dashboards and presenting reports to clients.

The Covered Press tool was developed to scale as you do. The tool has no limits on searches, storage, or reports and allows you to pay monthly or yearly. However, subscription plans do vary by the number of allowed users, clients, and report templates.

6. BuzzSumo

Cost: 7-day free trial; plans start at $99/month

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BuzzSumo is a beloved tool among marketers and publicists alike. It offers features that help you discover trending content, dig into billions of research and data points, connect with influencers, and — most relevant for this post — monitor mentions, trends, and links.

With BuzzSumo, you can create real-time alerts for mentions of your clients’ brands, products, competitors, and relevant trends. Do the same same for relevant influencers, journalists, and bloggers to see what they publish and keep and eye on PR opportunities. Lastly, you can track new backlinks to your client sites to track organic growth and new traffic.

Tracking this information can also inform new content strategies, customer research, and potential media partnerships. As shared by a reviewer on G2: “[AppSumo] is easy to use for any level … It quickly provides PR and social data as well as trend analyses. It’s great to identify insights around owned and earned content for any brand.”

Depending on what subscription plan you choose for BuzzSumo, you’ll have access to a certain number of user seats, monthly searches, and alerts.

7. Brand24

Cost: 14-day free trial; plans start at $49/month

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At almost a decade old, Brand24 is one of the world’s top media monitoring tools. Seriously … it’s collected over 22 billion mentions worldwide. That’s a lot of mentions.

Not only does it help you monitor your clients’ brands across social media, news, blogs, videos, forums, podcasts, and review sites, however; it also helps you understand customer sentiment and brand reputation — important metrics when providing PR services. With advanced automated sentiment analysis, Brand24 allows you to monitor how people feel about each brand so you can step in to engage customers and manage crises.

The tool also provides robust reporting so you can track your monitoring and PR efforts; you can also export this data to present to your clients. Beyond media monitoring, however, Brand24 also offers excellent customer service and onboarding so you can make the most out of the tool, regardless of what subscription plan you choose.

8. Reputology

Cost: 14-day free trial; plans start at $180/month

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If you’ve never heard of Reputology, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn about it.
Reputology is a media monitoring tool dedicated to monitoring online reviews … and with how important word-of-mouth marketing and social proof is today, this tool is highly valuable for your clients. Reputology scans for brand mentions on over 100 online review websites like Yelp and Google My Business, alerts you so you can respond, and helps you remove negative or spammy reviews.

The tool also provides a single dashboard from which you can manage all of your clients’ review mentions and responses. (If you have ever used TweetDeck, it’s quite similar.) It also provides reporting and analytics as well as competitor benchmarking to see how the reviews compare and how you can respond.

All subscription plans for Reputology provide sentiment analysis, customer voice capture, and white-label landing pages and widgets so you can present your findings to clients with your branding. As posted by a reviewer on G2: “I really like how it takes information from many different sites and brings all information to me! I don’t have to go to many sites to track the reviews and comments. The data is put into charts that help the presentation.”

(Note: The last three tools on the list are enterprise-level tools — software that is on the more expensive side and require custom quotes to implement.)

9. Brandwatch

Cost: Request a quote

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Next up is Brandwatch, “the most powerful listening platform in the world”. If your clients’ brands are mentioned online, Brandwatch will catch it. Not only does it offer arguably the most robust media monitoring capabilities, but it provides a custom, agency-specific subscription. This plan is designed to help you capture AI-driven brand insights, receive hyper-relevant media alerts, and win more pitches by identifying opportunities with targeted data.

As shared by a reviewer on G2: “Brandwatch has boosted our capability to look deep inside analytics and mentions across the spectrum of the social-digital spectrum. From deep competitor analysis to reporting our own marketing and PR efforts, Brandwatch affords us all the flexibility and tools we need. For just the reporting aspect, the ease of showing effectiveness, has saved us a lot of time and money, not to mention our having added business.”

Furthermore, to help you succeed, Brandwatch also provides its users with webinars, tools, and benchmark reports that help inform your work.

10. Critical Mention

Cost: Request a quote

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Critical Mention is another widely-used media monitoring tool; it sets itself apart from the others, however, in that it offers four different types of media monitoring — broadcast, social media, online news, and licensed content.

Broadcast monitoring listens to radio and television mentions, online news monitoring browses global online publications, and licensed content monitoring unlocks paywalls and provides you access to subscription and print-only content.

If you’re looking for a truly all-encompassing media monitoring tool, Critical Mention may be for you. PR professionals use the Critical Mention tool in a variety of ways. Per one reviewer on G2: “We capture clips for our clients to let them see that their produced content aired in their desired markets. It is one thing to send a client a log from a station that their content aired but when they can actually see it it makes the transaction real.”

In addition to monitoring, Critical Mention also provides access to a frequently-updated database of news outlets, journalists, influencers, reporters, and bloggers. So, this tool not only helps you discover and monitor your brand mentions; it also helps you pitch new opportunities to the right channels and sources.

11. TVEyes

Cost: Free trial; request a quote for pricing

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TVEyes is unlike any other tool on this list — it’s a search engine designed to locate brand mentions across television and radio. TVEyes monitors over 2,000 TV and radio stations in 12 languages across almost 20 countries and regions. According to TVEyes, “If it aired on TV, you’ll find it on TVEyes.”

The TVEyes tool provides real-time access to clips that mention your clients’ brands. It also provides an easy-to-use dashboard interface and offers customizable reporting that you can export for your clients or team. By simply typing in a keyword — whether your brand name, the name of a competitor, or a trending term — TVEyes provides lightning fast results of any broadcast mentions.

As shared by a reviewer on G2: “I love that I can give my client instant feedback on their TV appearances … I’m helping my client stay on message by watching clips and providing feedback. The key is the near real-time feedback I can provide my client. That is huge. I miss their live appearances all the time. Then when they call asking how they did, I can instantly jump on and watch.”

Conclusion

Media monitoring tools are highly valuable tools to any PR professional’s arsenal.

From browsing social media conversations to checking up on online reviews and listening for traditional media mentions — not to mention sending real-time alerts and generating gorgeous reports — these 11 media monitoring tools (including Covered Press!) are designed to help make your job easier and your clients more successful.

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