The Nuances of Media Monitoring in China

John Chalmers
Photo by faungg’s photos via Flickr.

No matter where your business is located, media monitoring is an important aspect of your marketing strategy. However, the landscape and requirements for media monitoring are quite different depending on where your business is focused. The types of media used and cultural differences make a big difference on what media should be monitored, and how the monitoring campaign should be structured. For media monitoring for businesses in China, set up your campaign around the types of media that are popular, and be sure to include monitoring for offline media sources, since there is a heavy emphasis in print, television, and news coverage.

Offline Media Outlets to Monitor in China

Print news outlets in China are still read by enough of the population to make a significant difference when grasping a handle on the sentiment and spreading PR. Popular Chinese print newspapers to add to your monitoring list include:

— People’s Daily
— China Daily
— Reference News
— Guangming Daily
— Global Times
— China Youth Daily
— Wen Wei Po
— China Military Online

China’s Unique Online Culture

The amount of unique media platforms in China definitely plays a role in how people connect with business. If your business is in China, then you already know about the different platforms that operate in China and which ones do not. China’s unique situation has created a very specific and distinct internet culture. Since China has the world’s largest internet user base, the unique channels and portals have close to, if not the same, amount of the other major networks throughout the world. Therefore, it is important to add the Chinese social networks to your monitoring list. These channels include: Wechat, Tencent Weibo, Sina Weibo, Renren, Kaixin, QZone, and Momo.

Benefits of Media Monitoring in China

Media monitoring for China and other companies in the Asia-Pacific region should encompass both online and offline media sources. Monitoring media can help analyse all aspects of your company’s media image, and can help you obtain headlines and stay on top of the news in your industry. This not only ensures a positive public reputation for your company, but also keeps your company on the top of the minds of consumers.Monitoring the media and also what people are saying about your company helps you understand what the impact of your company has on your customers and the public,too. Media intelligence becomes insight into how to better angle your business strategies. You can discover what works, what isn’t working, and exactly what your customers are saying. In addition to monitoring online and social channels, it is important to monitor offline media like news clippings from the close to 1,000 print outlets in China. The total amount of media intelligence that you have access to through media monitoring tools and companies can create reports and analysis that allow you to keep your finger on top of, and even predict, trends that will affect your company. Media intelligence and media monitoring are definitely an important key to business success in China.

Proactive vs. Reactive Reputation Management

A large part of media monitoring has to do with managing the reputation of your business. Of course,in Asian cultures, reputation and honor are quite important goals when it comes to a business’ reputation. Many companies ignore media monitoring until something negative occurs or the reputation starts to get out of control in a negative way. Of course, monitoring consumer sentiment can help identify problems; but the best strategy to have is to use media monitoring in a proactive fashion rather than reacting to a problem. This way you can use media intelligence to stay on top of sentiment and know when there is a problem before it gets out of control. You can also use media monitoring tools to stay on top of what consumers are saying about your brand. This gives you the time and knowledge to preemptively change policies and listen to the voice of your customers to adapt your strategies to what they like or want.

Media Monitoring Strategy and Planning

Media monitoring tools are available to help guide you and show you what you can monitor. As with any type of data sourcing, the amount of data can get overwhelming. That is why you should develop a strategy around your company’s specific goals. Select the channels to monitor based on those that are most used by your customers and run some of your initial intelligence data to learn more about your specific customers’ demographics, likes, dislikes, and other metrics that your marketing team determines is vital to your type of business. You might want to investigate different metrics like frequency of use, income levels, or spending habits, for example. Another use for all this data is to identify segments to better target and customize the messaging for your customers. Finally, media monitoring can help to identify new potential customers based on the demographics and information you discover about your current customers. You can then extrapolate that information to identify, find and target new consumers to grow your customer base.

Conclusion and Takeaways for Your Company

Once you try out different media monitoring tools, you can see what specifically is available and better see how different metrics relate to your company. As a general rule, you should put an emphasis on media monitoring to prevent PR problems rather than have to react to them. However, media monitoring can also be used to keep on top of the pulse of your consumers by compiling data on what they are saying about you,what they like and what they don’t like. You can also use the media intelligence you collect to identify new target customers based on the metrics,data, and demographics of your current customers. As you can see, there are multiple uses for media monitoring that can help your marketing efforts in many different ways.

About the Author:  John Chalmers is Executive Director of Marketing and Communications at Isentia. Isentia monitors Asia-Pacific’s most comprehensive list of media across all channels: press, online, broadcast and social. We offer a robust platform of media monitoring and analyzation services and tools, as well as Press Release distribution modules. is Executive Director of Marketing and Communications at Isentia. Isentia monitors Asia-Pacific’s most comprehensive list of media across all channels: press, online, broadcast and social. We offer a robust platform of media monitoring and analyzation services and tools, as well as Press Release distribution modules.

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Posted by John Chalmers