8 minute read

The best free and paid media monitoring tools for PR coverage

CoverageBook does not discover mentions for you. That’s not the job we do. You collect and handpick the URLs of your mentions you want to showcase. Paste these URLs into CoverageBook and we’ll get busy collecting data + images. 

So if we don’t how do you collect the URLs in the first place?! The answer is it depends. It generally comes down to:

– How much coverage do you get?
i.e. few bits a month to loads!

– And how much money do you have to spend on tools?
i.e. nothing > I’m loaded.

Not much coverage + low budget

We have lots of customers that just don’t need fully-fledged media monitoring tools or expensive do it all platforms. Many bookmark the URLs of their mentions as they discover them via google news or from the person that wrote about them. Then they paste those links into CoverageBook. And are ready to measure & showcase their work back to clients. So for them we are kind of an alternative to a dedicated media monitoring tool.

Need dedicated monitoring solutions alongside CoverageBook…

On the other end of the scale, we have huge teams that need a solution to consolidate all the mentions they collect across multiple monitoring tools. They find consolidating a clean list of Coverage in our tool gives them the data consistency they crave! For them we work great alongside their existing PR tools.

We get asked a lot about tools to help with finding brand / product mentions. Here is a list of 20. We’ve listed them as free or paid. Combined with CoverageBook you’ll be all set.

If we’ve missed any please let us know!

5 Free Tools…


Mention covers news sites as well as social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and pride themselves on being a comprehensive media monitoring tool which covers 42 languages!

“From social media to PR mentions, user reviews to blog comments, Mention helps leading brands track the most important conversations about their brand, competitors, and industry online. If you need it, it also covers sources in 42 languages!”

Sandra Chung, Content marketing manager at Mention

There is a free trial and after that you are moved to a free plan which includes 1 alert and 250 monthly mentions. If you need more, prices start from only $29 a month.


  • Make sure you click ‘view all mentions’ to make sure you are getting everything each day — I know I have been guilty of missing some this way
  • If your team uses Slack you can integrate the mentions over to a Slack channel

Talkwalker Alerts

This is a stand alone tool from the guys that make Talkwalker Analytics which is a social listening and analytics tool (which also has brand image recognition capabilities, and a more in-depth alerts systems to alert users based on a range of criteria)They boast that they collect data from a wider range of sources than most tools but overall is a super simple free tool that is very similar to Google Alerts but appears to have greater coverage.

Google Alerts

When I first started in online PR this was one of the first tools I found to monitor for online coverage. This used to be my go to — but I have found lately that it just doesn’t find everything, the tool often goes down too. However, it is free and can be set up in 5 minutes. You only get an email when it finds something (and you can set it to once a day at a specified time) so there is no harm in having this set up alongside whatever monitoring tool you choose.

Google search

There may be lots of fancy pants monitoring out there but it’s always worth checking back to good old Google — word on the streets is it’s pretty powerful! However with so many results it can seem impossible to find your coverage. So it’s useful to swat up on Boolean Search to find some tricks on using Google to find coverage. Here’s a really handy infographic to print out until you are really familiar with the rules.

Here’s using these rules in practice:

In this example it was filtering for only exact mentions of “North St. Bags” but then I also excluded content on the actual website northstbags.com to avoid google showing new/fresh content updates in this site. You can see the results here

News Meter

With NewsMeter you are allowed a single user and single keyword before having to jump to a paid package. You can set yourself up in only a few minutes, search past data and have a dashboard similar to that of a paid tool. If you register you can also set yourself up notifications. The downside though is the site can be a bit glitchy.

15 Paid Tools

***Our picks***

Great value — Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo was built to look at how engaging your content is but I use my Buzzsumo account for monitoring coverage. You can track your own mentions by setting up an alert for your brand(s) and you’ll be emailed when the term is mentioned. It’s easy to share and amplify coverage from within the app. I also really like how in addition to being alerted to coverage, you can see which piece of coverage is shared/engaged with the most too.

“BuzzSumo is specifically focused on identifying and tracking engaging content. Thus we track social interactions, links and who is sharing content. We also track the most engaging Facebook posts and the questions people are asking. For questions we crawl the whole of Reddit, Quora, Amazon and 200,000 other forums. We crawl and index billions of content items each year and have a database going back 5 years”

Steve Rayson, director Buzzsumo

Cost — There is a feemium version of the app where you can have a fully featured free trial then paid plans start from $99 a month


-Use the in app share buttons to share the coverage as it comes in, amplifying the piece further

-Put in your competitor domains to see their top content and who is sharing it to find influencers

Great US and Broadcast coverage — Critical Mention

Critical Mention are renowned for their broadcast and video coverage and boast themselves on finding coverage 8x faster than the industry standard, so if you need to be alerted to coverage fast it is worth checking them out.

“PR professionals at organizations both large and small rely on Critical Mention’s lightning fast platform year after year to quickly and easily alert them to coverage in real-time from 2,200 global TV and radio signals, millions of online news sources from 270 countries in 91 languages as well as social media. Reporting and sharing is done in minutes, and dedicated 24/7/365 account support is ready should you need help. We’re on it so you’re on it.”

Steve Shannon, SVP Sales and Marketing

Agility PR Solutions

Agility PR solutions offer two packages. For those who are money rich and time poor, they can manage your monitoring for you and cut through the noise, making sure you are only sent clean data, or you can choose the cheaper package and do it yourself. Whichever package you choose it covers varying degrees of social media, print and broadcast coverage so it could be your one stop shop for all your monitoring.

Brand 24

Brand24 is really easy to use and pretty thorough. They have a free 14 day trial so you can easily try before you buy. They have great customer services reps who get in touch and suggest amendments to your search terms and are efficient and speedy with any questions you may have. You can view the results in a variety of dashboards, or export to an excel to build up a clean coverage tracker. Prices start from $49.

Burrells Luce

They describe themselves as hands down the most comprehensive US media monitoring service and cover local and national print, online, broadcast, and social media sources so if the most of your coverage is from US titles this is worth looking into.

CARMA (Custom Scoop)

One of the few services that provide print, television and radio monitoring, they also convert speech to text across 40 countries so you’ll only need to have the one monitoring service. If you have heard of Custom scoop — they joined the CARMA family a few years ago.

Gorkana (Cision)

One of the biggest media monitoring companies, with global ambitions — they can source all of your media coverage, from print to online to broadcast. Results can be viewed on their coverage portals, and then analytics can be layered on top of this. Our experience finds that many people only use a fraction of the functionality available to them by these companies. For example, have you noticed the export to Excel button on the media coverage portal? It’s a great way to save time when putting coverage trackers together.

Kantar Media (Precise)

In 2016 Precise media rebranded as Kantar Media. They offer a comprehensive monitoring service covering everything from traditional media, to online, forums, social and broadcast. Kantar look to help you determine what is driving the coverage and allows you to access your portal on any device.


A leading social media intelligence out of France and making waves in other markets too, it uses a combination of really smart tech called Radarly, beautifully delivered, with a layer of human consultancy on the top. It has great image and logo recognition capabilities so great for visual brand tracking as well as having strong data from global social channels too such as Sina Weibo. Some of the smartest minds have moved on from leading monitoring agencies to Linkfluence, adding knowledge and experience to their human consultancy offering.


Mediatoolkit also have a free 14 day trial so you can see what you will be getting. They have a very simple set up process and you’ll be up and running in a matter of minutes. You can set up an email to be sent at a certain time so you can plan for your latest coverage to be at the top of your inbox when you arrive to compile your coverage emails. After the free trial, prices start from €49.


Meltwater is one of the biggest global names and with over 9 years worth of historical data, they claim to be the only ‘all-in-one’ provider with global access to online, print broadcast and social. There’s no free trial and their services is ‘modular’ so the pricing and packages are bespoke to each client — but it is one of the biggest players so if you were looking for global reporting it would be worth setting up a call to see if they are right for you.

Signal Media

Signal media boast using AI technology to power their media monitoring so that you only get the most relevant coverage and news in your results. All pricing is bespoke to each customer so you’ll need to get in touch for your individualised quote.


Trackur is a social media monitoring tool — but it does cover some news blogs. The tool is definitely more geared for social media so you may want to supplement it for your online coverage. While its interface is a bit bland, I really like how it lists the results and you can see a snippet and drop down for more information, bookmark, email or share each one. There’s a free 10 day trial and then prices start from $97 a month for 50 saved searches.


One of the bigger players in media monitoring, Trendkite monitors online, print, radio and broadcast (but you’ll have go supplement your social coverage) originally based in Austin, they have recently opened an EMEA office in London. One of their most interesting features is their spike alert where you can be notified if there is a spike in coverage for you or a competitor.

Universal Information Services

Although they can cover global campaigns, their specialities lie in US coverage. If you are looking for US focused coverage, they monitor everything from press, TV, radio, web, and social media and you can download the Radio and TV clips in high res formats. As well as AI, Universal Informations use trained editors, broadcasters, and analysts to ensure accuracy. They can set up a free trial where you can check how well they capture your brand (but you’ll only have access to a daily emailed coverage summary rather than the full dashboard). Monitoring starts at $125/month with unlimited keywords, unlimited searches, unlimited results, and access to the SmartView portal.

If there is a tool you think should be on this list but isn’t do let us know.

Next you have to pick a provider and begin monitoring for coverage. If you are unsure of where to go from here — the next post in the series, Managing media monitoring will help you choose a monitoring tool and start gathering your hard earned coverage.

(This is an update of our very popular 2016 post which reviewed 6 monitoring solutions)

Written by —
Laura Joint

Laura Joint

Laura is a Director at CoverageBook. She writes and helps PR teams succeed in the reporting of their hard work.