Published on Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 in Inbound Marketing, Startup

There are countless programs (okay, maybe like 23) out there that promise to monitor your brand and help you engage with your audience, all for the low low price of £1200 a month. Yeah, no thanks. I think I’ll be fine with my budget of about £40 a month and these two great services that make companies like Salesforce redundant (I’m not going to be talking about sales funnels in this post – if you want me to write one about that leave a comment).

3… 2… 1… blastoff

I juggle a lot of work all at once and I couldn’t do it unless I was super organised. Case in point, two weeks ago BioBeats got featured in TechCrunch, GigaOm, CNN Money, Dow Jones news, CNETQuartz,  Mobile Health News, PSFK, and several others with over 700 mentions on Twitter and blog posts and this and that. All this activity, and I was working from a farm house in Northern France with only a 3G connection for a few days (until I finally got my frustrating little mobile hotspot working that is).

Half the battle

The first job of bigging up your company is getting the press in the first place. The second is keeping track of each and every mention and making them work for you, which would have been impossible thanks to the death of Google Alerts (have you seen all the products Google kills? Check out the Google Graveyard).

Now I knew this onslaught of press was coming a few days before and would have been nervous travelling if not for my shiny new subscription to my new software crush Mention.

Mention allows you to create alerts on your name, your brand, your industry and your competitors and be informed of any mention on the web and social networks. Simple.

If you’ve never set up an alert before, Mention makes it super easy, you don’t even have to know any Boolean syntax (but you should be familiar with them for Twitter advanced search – see below).

Twitter-search-Operators

Mention strips all of this out and just asks you simple questions. Just make sure to enter in all variations of your company’s name (your branded keyword) including product names.

TIP: If you have a product name that is something very commonly searched for, do a few searches for that keyword and see what other terms are usually associated with it and exclude them in your alert (or else you’re going to get a lot of garbage).
 

Speaking of excluding things, make sure to enter in your website and all social media channels or else you’ll get a mention every time you post something out there.

I was having a lunch meeting with an associate and he was flabbergasted that he couldn’t get notifications of brand mentions from Facebook – but Mention does that too (assuming of course that the post about your company is made public… luckily you’ll find most people are oblivious to the differing post publication settings).

Its alive!

sourcesOnce setup, you’ll begin to see alerts roll in immediately (if you don’t its time to start getting some press eh?). One of the best features of this app is the way it categorizes all the press into sources so if you’re focusing on blog post engagement, you have a nice little category that pulls up only blog posts (same for forums, video, images, etc.). Oh, and make sure not to delete the mention once you’ve read them – just keep them and mark them as ‘read’.

You also get a nice statistics tab in the paid for versions which shows your growth over time – investors always love seeing that huge spike in traffic (the hockey puck is a beautiful thing).

On the go

Mention has a killer iPhone app as well which notifies me of any incoming press (a life saver). I still use Hootsuite for Twitter mentions and discovering content though search  of course but I’ve deleted their iPhone app because its design isn’t as intuitive as Mention’s.

Work together

The free version of this product is great but have more than 2 companies you’re monitoring? Yea, you need to upgrade. Upgrading also comes with some additional perks – like a larger monthly quota of mentions, and if you’re working in a biggish team you’ll want to cover all your bases – for this there’s the ‘task’ feature. Simply invite your team in and assign them a task based on an article like “follow up with the author and tell them how much we loved their description of our product.” But I don’t use this feature anymore because of the next product which represents the next stage of our process.

Press isn’t just for Christmas

So you’ve got your mentions all hooked up and there’s a steady daily stream of press coming in. Awesome. You’ve favourited and replied to all the incoming Tweets from people and you have a tab full of all the articles that mention your brand. Super. … now what?

You wait. Articles take time to ferment and gain views and comments. Up until now you’d have to check back on each and every article to see if anyone new commented showing sentiment and thoughts on what they think about your company (Mention doesn’t alert you of new comments). But these are the people you need to inform about any updates and new features to your company and products ultimately converting them into email subscribers and paid subscribers. So what now?

ClippPR is what we’ve been waiting for

Las Vegas based startup ClippPR is like a stock-ticker for watching press prices appreciate. Their strapline says it all;

Getting press is hard enough.Tracking it shouldn’t be.

And I couldn’t agree more. Watch the video below and see why Thomas Knoll had to build this tool.

Clip. Track. Notify. Follow up.

Its pretty simple. Add press to your notebook and ClippPr generate the amount of social shares and comments. You can then drill down into the shares and (most importantly right now) comments, in effect marking them ‘read’. As more comments come in, you get notified.

clipp pr

Also, there’s a cool feature mention doesn’t have for social shares. Clicking on the Twitter icon for a particular article results in a Topsy page opening up with all mentions and very helpful tag for ‘influential’ users (make sure your company is following them and have interacted with them in some manner. They also do the same for public g+ posts. Awesome.

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To top it all off you can invite your entire team to comment on individual articles and save the best quotes from the articles (for easy access later) and you don’t have to pay anymore for that. I’d love to see this product expand a bit more and focus on the actual journalist that wrote the article, delineating more information about them, kind of like what Rapportive does for Gmail. Then PR firms would start sweating as the power to followup, create relationships and potentially get more press slips between their fingers.

What online PR tools do you use? Let me know in the comments.
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The right way to monitor your brand and engage

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