The new must-have tool for publishers? Media monitoring

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Gone are the days when publishers can rest on their laurels. With disruptive players creating a new environment of competitiveness within the sector, there has never been a greater need for vigilance regarding new developments, both with an eye on potential threats and to exploit competitive advantages.

As such, keeping abreast of news and events has never been more important, and media monitoring and market intelligence has become the go-to solution for millions of businesses. Given that I’ve worked in the space for a little while now, I thought I’d try and outline some of the key reasons for this.

Tools like Google Alerts have been used as a quick, easy way to receive updates for years now but, increasingly, free tools aren’t providing companies with the depth of coverage and information they need to really draw important insight from the news.

Predictably, the tech giants have become interested in giving people this kind of information themselves, keeping consumers within their ‘walled gardens’ as much as possible. Apple News, for example, launched with great fanfare this autumn with a bunch of top publishing

partners, such as the New York Times and Buzzfeed.

But up-and-coming platforms like Signal are exploring new niches, allowing you to keep up to date with both the top news sources and with smaller blogs at the same time. Take a look at this sample BookMachine feed, for instance:

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Bringing small-scale personal blogs into the same newsfeed as vital sources like The Bookseller is where publishers will truly find value. Keeping up-to-date with crucial sector-wide developments at the same time as having access to the individual writers that communicate so much enthusiasm and passion: surely that’s the best of both worlds?

For many years now, media monitoring has seemed like an expensive, unwieldy version of what people can just as easily get from a free RSS tool like Google Alerts. But new competitors are shaking up the space, giving customers more choice than ever before.

Competition is a fundamentally good thing: the innovation and experimentation that comes from rapid change invariably results in a better experience for the average customer. And publishing is no different. My own work history speaks to this: a few years ago now, I rejected the chance of an internship with a multinational publisher, predominantly because a nagging thought in the back of my mind told me that, well, it just wouldn’t be that exciting. Clearly, looking at the industry’s changes since then, I was wrong!

Having arrived at Signal after a peripatetic detour around a couple of different sectors, I can identify with the thrill that comes with working in a space undergoing substantial change. Other industries serving businesses are also seeing seismic shifts. For instance, just look at what Slack has done for internal messaging. Publishing is in a period of similar upheaval, but with the right tools, it’s becoming easier than ever to transform the way you work and reach new heights of success.

How do you manage the massive amounts of information out there? Do you think new tools for media monitoring are the answer? Get in touch with Joe at

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  1. Actually there is a traditional media monitoring sector that’s existed for years (in some cases since the dawn of printed news. Using a combination of manual techniques and technology (in some cases due to licensing issues they will employ people simply to read the papers!) they tell their clients when their areas of interest are mentioned in newspapers and magazines. Google Alerts really only covers Internet news: it’s important to realise that there is a huge amount of content out there that *isn’t* available on the internet, or at least not until an embargo period has passed.

  2. Hi @charliehull:disqus, thanks for your message! Yes, Signal was founded to take on the established players in the media monitoring space, who largely provide customers with manual solutions to problems that could easily be solved through technology. As well as online news, Signal offers lots of print content too – we’re aware that this remains vitally important for some of our customers. Where we draw the line is employing people to physically clip articles – we’re trying to use machine learning and NLP to give people important media info in real-time, as opposed to being in hock to an antiquated news cycle.
    The article’s word limit meant that I had to refine my post somewhat, so I thought it would be easier to discuss Signal’s viability when it comes to the free options out there. I hope you enjoyed the read anyway!

    1. I think you’re stretching it a bit saying that they ‘largely provide customers with manual solutions to problems that could easily be solved through technology’. Their processes are complex, yes, and often include manual steps where licensing demands, but they’re also huge users of technology where appropriate, and the problems are never easy! is one of the talks we’ve given on the subject if you’re interested.

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