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The Strategy Room

The Strategy of PR Monitoring: Boolean, Keywords & Real Time Alerts

By: Mary Cobb

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We’ve asked ourselves the question: Why monitor? (In case you missed it – catch up here.) Now, let’s address how to monitor.

The most successful monitoring strategies take full advantage of the search for mentions. We’ve found the following components best maximize your efforts: Keywords, Boolean and real-time alerts.


 The most important aspect of monitoring is having words to monitor. When choosing these keywords, you want to be sure you are finding the word that is “just right.” Keywords that are too broad pull too large of a stack of coverage to comb through, and keywords that are too narrow don’t pull all the coverage you’re looking for. When you choose keywords that are too broad, a Boolean component is necessary.

Boolean Search

A Boolean search allows you to manipulate what mentions are returned to you through your searches. A powerful Boolean allows you to limit, widen, or refine your search. The search does this through the use of AND, OR and NOT.

AND: This search capability couples together content that you may be looking for through two terms. If you channel 3rd grade math ­– we can use Venn diagrams. Here we’ve identified two terms that we’d like to monitor for but the AND capability will make sure ONLY content that contains both topics will be returned to you.



OR: The capability helps widen your search by using variations of words. You can include any and all variations of the one word you are looking for with this capability.


NOT: The not capability allows you to filter your search and remove irrelevant mentions. You’ll see above if we included “NOT social media” (Dark Blue and Light Blue) we would only get mentions that contain “monitoring” (Bright Green). This would also factor out those discussing monitoring AND social media.


There is a never-ending amount of content on the intent and your search can return millions of mentions if not set up appropriately. This is why a Boolean search is essential to maximize your efforts and for your mentions to be relevant and precise.

Don’t spend time shifting through endless mentions, set yourself up for success from the start!

Real-Time Alerts

Be sure to have a system set up that includes real-time alerts. We’ve said it before and we will say it again when dealing with a crisis every second count. Real-time alerts are a critical component that set you up for success from the beginning. Addressing an online mention in real-time allows for a response before they impact you or your client. Having real-time alerts gives you as much time as possible to address to any mentions and formulate a plan of action.

Each of these components provides a stronger monitoring strategy. At Stanton, we find them to be essential when choosing a monitoring service to assist in your efforts. Next week we will cover what services we’ve analyzed and met these general standards.

Read the full PR Monitoring series:

The Strategy of PR Monitoring

Why Monitor?

Take Your Pick of Tools

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