A review of the latest and greatest coverage tracking services
At Voxus, we use a number of tools to track all of the amazing coverage we earn for our clients. There are lots of tools out there to do the job, but which ones are the best? Today, we review the top coverage tools in our book, recap the pros and cons and share tips on ways to get the most out of them.
Meltwater is not just a coverage tracking tool but an all-in-one PR dashboard. You can find and email influencers, track industry keywords — all while monitoring coverage for your brand.
For coverage tracking purposes, Meltwater does a pretty good job. It offers comprehensive coverage and catches some of the more obscure links that don’t register on other tools. Meltwater also features a tool I have not seen on any other platform – aggregating duplicates. When you’re working with a popular phrase or brand, it’s not unusual to get named in other brand’s press releases. This ends up exponentially increasing mentions but not increasing the quality, since many of those mentions are duplicate repostings of the same content. Or perhaps your brand gets mentioned in a major publication that is often syndicated — Meltwater aggregates it all. Any article with the same headline is combined into one clip with multiple duplicates. What this means for you is a significantly simplified coverage tracking process and relief from checking through hundreds of links, only to find out they’re all identical in content.
Overall Meltwater is a solid tool, but like every tool on this list, there are still clips it does not catch. Another drawback is its lack of print and broadcast/non-digital media coverage (coverage with no online footprint). This is not something it advertises at being good at but if your PR focus is on print or broadcast coverage, this platform may not be of help to you. On the other hand it makes it very easy to self-service; Meltwater is very intuitive to use and customize based on your needs. It also provides customizable reports you can automate – for example, you can set it up so you receive an email every morning on the latest coverage, or an important keyword you are tracking.
Cision – the heavy hitter of the group – is one of the most comprehensive tools available. You’ve heard of Cision because it is the mega-brand behind several PR tools you know and love. It has slowly grabbed real estate in every corner of the PR landscape, from Help a Reporter Out to PR Newswire. If it’s related to PR there is a chance Cision owns it (or is about to). This legacy in the market means Cision has a very good tool for coverage tracking, in fact one of the best. That doesn’t mean it comes without a price tag or a few drawbacks.
Cision is probably the most expensive tool on this list but the quality of its coverage tracking is quite good. It catches more coverage than Meltwater does and offers very comprehensive print and broadcast coverage. While it shines in comprehensiveness, though, it lacks in an intuitive interface. It does catch a lot ,but there is the occasional link that passes under its radar.
If you have the budget for Cision, it’s definitely worth having in your back pocket, especially for the other tools it offers aside from coverage tracking. its media database and other PR offerings are some of the best in the market.
One of the newest players in the market, Mention is one of the rising stars. It offers the comprehensiveness you can get from Cision but without the price tag. It has spent time improving its UI and comes with the added bonus of social media monitoring. It doesn’t do print or broadcast coverage and it offers little to no ability to do media outreach from its tool…but that’s not its purpose. Its laser-like focus on digital mention tracking makes it a very strong contender. It doesn’t discriminate based on region and its coverage tracking is comprehensive – it uncovers some of the most obscure links that fly under the radar of other tools, especially Google.
If you need a simple, no frills tool that delivers good results at a cheaper cost – Mention is definitely a great tool for you. Also. its youth in the market and digital-first focus means it has added additional convenience features, like integration with Slack that allows you to get notified of coverage without ever having to log in.
You can’t review coverage tracking without talking about Google Alerts. If you’ve spent any time in marketing or PR there is a good chance you have a Google Alert or two set up. This is a handy tool that can act as a catch-all for coverage the other tools missed. But there is a reason it’s free. Over time, Google Alerts has decreased in quality and the speed in which it delivers coverage. It can be handy for tracking industry keywords or the bare minimum in coverage, but it misses a lot. If you’re in a pinch, this tool will work, but we wouldn’t recommend relying on it for the long term.
Need an analysis of your coverage? Like to know how your coverage fares against your competitors? Our coverage tracking pros can quickly give you a coverage analysis. Reach out to us today!