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Published April 7th 2015

Monitoring: Public Relations Just Got a Whole Lot More Intelligent

Social media revolutionized the field of public relations in every industry.

News breaks first and most powerfully on Twitter, public figures announce major updates on their pages, and the sheer quantity of social posts are a never-ending universe of information.

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The Brandwatch Alerts feature is a daily notification source for our PR team that streamlines the process of monitoring and recording news coverage and mentions of our brand. It’s a huge time-saver.

And now Alerts have been taken to a whole new level with the launch of a new automated intelligence alerting feature – Signals.

The best part of Signals – it tells us what we need to know, even if we don’t know what we need to know. Confused? Don’t be.


The power of Signals technology is in its near-predictive capability to anticipate relevant trends on social based on fluctuations in data.

If a topic, brand, person, or hashtag (or any other type of content) is gaining momentum, Brandwatch Signals knows it’s time to keep the PR team in the know.

This way, we can be aware of trends or breaking news before they mainstream and “break the internet” as it were.

How we use Signals in the PR team

Signals constantly analyzes social data and when it detects significant or unexpected changes, alerts us to it in real-time – for example, when there’s an emerging new hashtag, a story being shared or a sudden increase in chat from a specific location.

News coverage monitoring and keeping up-to-the-minute with global events and breaking news are just the beginning of the benefits PR professionals can see from using the feature. Here’s what it can be used for:

Crisis Management and reputation management

  • Discover and act on customer service issues and security threats before they escalate into crises
  • Get early warnings on potentially harmful or positive stories before they gain momentum
  • Be aware and take action on events and stories in new or unexpected locations or from influential authors

Breaking news updates in related industries

  • Creating a Signal for general breaking news queries in specific industries is an ideal way to stay on top of major news moments in your field, or your client’s industries
  • Stay one step ahead with alerts for competitor or industry stories, the moment they break

PR and community management

  • Discover new trends, stories and hashtags that present opportunities to broaden reach
  • Be the first to know if your campaign is about to go viral, or getting attention from influencers and media

Competitive depositioning

  • A Signal based on a competitor’s Query, or even general industry Query, lets you be one of the first to know when a competitive brand has raised a new round of funding, launched a new product, or commandeered the news cycle for the day
  • Be in a position to respond to potential media inquiries and strategically prepare messaging.

Uncovering breaking news, first

In our general ‘Breaking News’ Query set up to monitor breaking news stories from a handful of key national and international news outlets, we stay up to date on the news cycle to be better prepared to handle data requests from journalists seeking social data for a news story.

The Signals Alert email below is a real example that we received on March 12 when the #ferguson hashtag started being mentioned by influential news outlets following a St. Louis police shooting.



Signals uncovered that this was a potentially major trending breaking news story, and alerted us via email as soon as it happened.

The email alert displayed the social data in visualizations that were easy to digest, showcasing the volume of mentions in a recent time period that contributed to Signals picking up on it, as well as related topics and the influential mentions on Twitter in this specific case.

As a result, we were able to jump on the story right away and provide news outlets with timely, useful social data on the shootings and resulting action.


Signals is a PR manager’s best friend. If you’re a Brandwatch user with PR responsibilities try it out today by creating relevant Signals Alerts. Don’t get caught out. Stay in the know.

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