Back to the Basics: Helpful Tools for Scanning and Research

By Matter

As an account coordinator, you are responsible for keeping up with everything going on in your clients’ respective industries as well doing research on bloggers and reporters. Instead of just Googling everything, there are a few tools of the trade that make scanning easier.


Google Alerts:
You can set up the alerts by location, which helps target your results.
Make sure to search for the names of the competitors’ spokespersons.
Trial and error – if your results aren’t exactly what you are looking for, adjust your search terms to find what works.

Critical Mention (or another broadcast monitoring service):
This is great for keeping track of your client and their competitors broadcast coverage.
You can set up email alerts, if you don’t want to continuously check the website.
You can build clip reports to share with the team or your clients.

ProfNets and HAROs:
These are reporter and blogger queries that give you information about stories the reporter is currently working on. This is a great way to get your client into a blog post or article, if they fit into the query. However, many times the query isn’t a great fit, but your client would be perfect for a similar story. In this case, you can add the reporter to your media list for future pitching. This is a great way to research bloggers because most of the time they will give you background information about their blog.

Morning News:
Listen to the radio on your way to work or watch the morning news. This sounds pretty simple, but it really helps. By listening to NPR or a local news station, you might hear about something that directly affects one of your clients.

Check the newswires for press releases in the morning to find out if any of your client’s competitors have made any announcements. Most of the time press releases cross the wire around 9am, but sometimes they are released early in the morning and you can easily miss them.

I recently learned about this method of researching bloggers. When you are looking for a specific type of blogger (ex. tech bloggers), you often can find similar bloggers by checking the lists the blogger is in and who they follow on twitter.  There are several websites such as WeFollow, which can help twitter research as well.
As many already know, you can also use twitter to stay up-to-date on trends and breaking news. Tweet Deck or Hootsuite can be helpful with this.


There are many other tools for research and scanning, these are just a few that I use the most.