Every Friday since the pandemic shut things down in March (here in the U.S.), we’ve highlighted communicators and marketers who at first were trying to figure out which part of the sky just fell on them in My Hot Mess. Then we shifted to those who are crushing the pandemic with Survive & Thrive. Now it’s time to get back to business, even if it’s not totally normal. We’re going to do that with an Ask Me Anything series—an elevation of our previous Spin Sucks Question series.

To kick us off, we talk to Christopher S. Penn about how he has built his own free, straightforward brand monitoring and media mentions system.

Let’s jump right in!

The question is: “What Is the Best Brand Monitoring and Media Mentions System?”

Chris being Chris has built his own system using a combination of Talkwalker Alerts and Feedly.

There are, of course, plenty of tools you can use for brand monitoring and media mentions—from free to extraordinarily expensive.

But what Chris has built (and shows you how to do in this video) is how to put the free options on steroids so you don’t receive five gazillion emails AND it’s of the stuff you actually want.

He starts off by saying he’s not a fan of Google Alerts because they send an email (no one needs more emails) when there is a new mention—and oftentimes it’s full of junk.

His preference, instead (and mine, too), is Talkwalker Alerts because it allows you to get alerts by RSS feed.

In the video, he shows you how to set up three different types of alerts–and how to turn off the email option and turn on the RSS feed.

An RSS feed, if you’re not familiar, is a way to subscribe to blogs and have everything appear in one platform, such as Feedly (I use Pocket; same thing).

It’s important to set up folders in Feedly (or Pocket) based on how you want to organize them—by product, service, executive, or client, for instance.

Now, instead of having to sift through piles and piles of email, which is no fun, you can go to one place, check it, see what’s happening, and get out.

It is a very powerful, simple, free solution basic brand monitoring and media mentions.

Brand Monitoring On Steroids

Of course, with all these services, you get what you pay for.

If you’re paying nothing for it, don’t be mad if you don’t get great results, but if you just don’t have the money, this is a simple system for brand monitoring.

If, however, you want better results, pull out the credit card and subscribe to the Talkwalker Pro for a heavier duty monitoring service.

The bigger challenge, though, is to create the system and the habit to check the alerts—and either do something with them or clear them out.

It’s not enough just to monitor; you have to do something with it, whether it’s providing reporting or taking action.

If you’d like to see how this works in action, Chris walks you through in the video, step-by-step, how to set up your own brand monitoring system. Check it out!

If you’d like to submit a question for this Ask Me Anything series, you can do it in the super cool, free Spin Sucks Community. If I can’t answer it, I’ll ask one of my super smart friends (like Chris) so see if you can stump me!

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich