I’m away this week, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to repost some of my favourite entries from the Archives of this blog. This post originally ran on February 9, 2010.
There are as many ways to use FPinfomart.ca as we have customers, but there’s no escaping the fact that Personal Profiles are a fundamental tool in Media Monitoring. For many of us, one of the issues we face is navigating that very fine line between ensuring we are aware of all relevant coverage, and getting so many hits that we are overwhelmed by sheer volume of information.
When it comes to Personal Profiles, there are two key strategies in fine-tuning your results to include as much relevant content as possible, while excluding less-relevant items. We’ll address each of these in a two-part series. Today, we’ll look at using keywords to get relevant hits. Tomorrow’s post will focus on source selection strategies.
Profile Title vs. Keywords
One of the most common “rookie mistakes” we see customers make is entering keywords in the Profile Name box, and leaving the keywords box blank. The Profile Title is simply a name you give each Profile to be able to distinguish one Profile from another (don’t forget, you can have up to 100 separate Profiles in your account!)
Make sure you use the Profile Name box to give your Profile a title. The title you place in this box is NOT searched. Keywords or phrases you wish to search belong in the next 3 boxes, but at least ONE keyword must be entered in the "Match Stories..." box.
Synonyms, concepts, and alternate spellings
As mentioned in the previous section, after the title, the only other mandatory box on the Profile form is the one labeled “Match stories that mention ANY of these phrases…” Use this box to enter the words or phrases you wish to search for, with one per line (hit enter after each word or phrase). Do not use any quotes, Boolean operators (such as or, and, or not), or any other search syntax here. I like to call this a “what you type is what you get” box.
Once you’ve selected the focus of your Profile, do a little brainstorming. What words or phrases would you expect to appear in news articles (or TV broadcasts – more about that later) about this topic? What are some of the synonyms for those words? Are there other ways of referring to an individual? Who are all the players in the industry? Are acronyms or nicknames ever used? Some examples to consider are shown in the following screen shots.
List all members of a list separately.
Make sure to include nicknames and variations of acronyms.
When your keyword is a name, consider variant spellings, titles, and middle names.
When creating a Profile that will include Television content, make sure to consider common mis-spellings of your keywords. Since TV monitoring relies on the closed-captioning of programs, it is wise to take into account potential phonetic spellings of less common words, names, and other ways keywords may be transcribed by a captioner who is in a hurry or unfamiliar with the topic of discussion.
A Series of Sieves
I like to think of the three keyword boxes on the Profiles form as a series of sieves, each with a finer mesh than the one above. The articles in our database represent the material to be sorted, and your keywords make up the sieves. The first (“Match Stories…”) keyword box is the sieve with the largest holes. Any stories that make it through to the second sieve can then be filtered again by the second keyword box, the one labeled “And Require…” Any material left after this second filtering can then be passed through the third sieve with the smallest holes, the “But Exclude…” keyword box.
There are times when using only that first sieve is appropriate. When you want to retrieve every single article that mentions your company name, you’ll use only the first “Match Stories” box, and leave the others blank. But perhaps you wish to subdivide your topic, or only retrieve articles that not only mention an organization, but also mention keywords describing a particular aspect of that organization. If that’s the case, you’ll want to employ at least one of your finer-meshed sieves as well.
Choosing a Narrow Topic
It is best to search the narrowest possible topic with each Profile. That doesn’t mean you should use only one keyword. There may be multiple keywords required to describe your topic (see the section on synonyms, above), however the narrower your aim, the more precise your results may be. For example, create one Profile for your company name and/or its spokespeople; one for your competitors; and a third for your products, and another for regulatory bodies related to your industry. You may end up with two or more similar Profiles – for example, one for Mergers & Acquisitions in your industry, and a second for new hires in your industry.
Following are three examples of similar but separate Profiles. It would be overwhelming to create a GENERAL Profile that retrieved every article that mentioned any of Canada’s major banks. But perhaps there are specific aspects of the banking industry we’re interested in tracking. We would create a separate Profile for each “sub-topic.” The keywords in the “Match Stories…” box might be the same (or very similar), while the keywords we use to create the second and third sieves (the “And Require” and “But Exclude” boxes) will vary.
Where are you looking?
||There is a drop-down menu to the right of each keyword which will help you specify exactly where in an article we should look for your keywords or phrases.
Search “Anywhere in Story” for the broadest possible search. Restrict your search to “Headline or Lead” to narrow your results to only articles focused on your particular keywords. Select “Byline” with a keyword of a journalist’s name to find articles written only by a certain individual. The narrowest possible search is to restrict your search to “Headline” only, which would retrieve an article only if your keyword(s) appeared in the title.
We offer several checkboxes on the right of the Profiles form that allow you to narrow your results by eliminating certain content types.
- The Editorials filter excludes any article whose story type is classified as an Editorial.
- The Letters to the Editor filter excludes any article whose story type is classified as a Letter to the Editor.
- The Sports filter excludes any article which originated in the Sports section of the newspaper.
- The Arts, Life, Homes, Food filter excludes any article which originated in the Arts, Life, Homes and Food sections of the newspaper.
- The News Briefs filter eliminates columns of short news summaries, where the title or headline of the column is ‘News Briefs.’
- The Stock Market Summaries filter eliminates lists of stock market results.
- The Caption Only filter excludes any item which has no story text. For example, the caption of photos or other images that ran without an accompanying article.
- The CP Wire in papers filter excludes articles whose source is CP Wire (Canadian Press). This allows you to cut down on duplicate results. This Filter will NOT exclude the original CP Wire articles. It only eliminates those versions printed in newspapers.
- The Obituaries filter excludes Obituaries and death notices.
A moving target
What’s important today may be yesterday’s news tomorrow. New spokespeople are hired; new products are introduced, and others fall by the wayside. Competitors come and go, and campaigns have discrete start and end points. You can always delete obscure Profiles, and edit existing ones to tailor your keywords to match what’s relevant now.
Keep up with changing priorities - Edit or Delete Profiles as needed.
Coming tomorrow – Part 2 – Source Selection Strategies
I hope you’ve stuck with me through this lengthy tour of the many strategies you can use to optimize your Profile results with your keywords. Come back tomorrow for part 2 of this series – using source selection to narrow your results to those relevant to you.