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How to build a list using a Keyword Search
How to build a list using a Keyword Search
Andrew Woodall avatar
Written by Andrew Woodall
Updated over a week ago

As well as allowing you to target journalists writing about the 1800+ subjects available in Agility, the platform also gives you the ability to target by any keyword. 


Agility’s keyword search enables you to search published content for journalists covering the topics important to you, by matching your search terms to their exact content. This means that you can identify who is writing about new or niche topics, specific industries or competitors, and also non-traditional journalists in our media list – like bloggers or influencers – who may not cover a traditional beat or subject.

Important Note: When using the keyword search, search results will be capped at just under 10,000. So, you will get almost 10,000 contacts that you can review and filter to further refine your targeting. To ensure you see every contact that has used your keyword, we suggest you use keywords that are targeted and specific enough to generate fewer than 10,000 mentions.

* More on this at the end of the article.

Using the keyword search

I want to identify journalists covering stories about Recycled Plastic. I choose the Mentioned Keyword box and type in my keyword phrase. 

At this point, Agility is searching all of our monitored coverage and matching 1472 of our media contacts with published content containing the phrase ‘Recycled Plastic’ over the last 90 days.

I can use search logic (OR, AND, NOT) to add multiple phrases or keywords.

Using the OR field broadens your search to look for content mentioning any of your terms. Be careful not to use too many as the results are limited to just under 10,000 contacts.

Using multiple terms in the AND field specifies that contacts must have used both terms in recent coverage, although not necessarily in the same article.

NOT excludes a word or phrase.

At this point, I can click search to review those 1510 results, but I can also try to narrow down the results by specifying that I only want journalists that are assigned to a specific beat or subject. I move to the Covering Subjects field and select Recycling. 

Now I am going to see journalists whose job it is to cover Recycling stories and have recently published content about Recycled Plastic. I can add multiple subjects here to cater for whichever journalist beats I am interested in. 

I can then apply any other filters or refinements if I want to target a specific job role, title, outlet media type etc, or I can hit Search, take a look at my results and filter them further later.

Within the results screen I can see the list of my results in the middle panel, with the available filters above and the media information of the contact highlighted in the right-hand panel.

If I switch to see recent coverage on the right-hand panel, I can see the actual content written by this journalist and even use the filter to identify the content containing my keywords.

If you are an Agility Monitoring user, you can save and work with mentions and create monitoring topics as if you were in the monitoring module. I can also use the media type filter to target articles rather than social media posts, if that is my preference.

If you want to check whether the contacts are already on any of your lists click the dropdown menu above the contact profiles which says 'Select List(s) to add contacts to' when you hover over it. Then select the list you wish to check the contacts against. In the screenshot below, three contacts have blue ticks against them to show me that they are on my chosen list, 'Environmental - Global'. Dana Nuccitelli is not on that list.

If I wish to add any new contacts, I simply check their boxes and hit the button ADD TO LIST(S) to add them to the specified list.

If I save the search, then the next time I review the results I will be using the same search criteria and will be able to filter for new and updated contacts, and again compare my results to those contacts already saved to my targeted lists.

* An explanation of what happens when keyword searches return close to 10,000 results

Any targeting search in Agility is limited to 10,000 results, whatever criteria you use. This is to help users work with a manageable set of results, and to maintain platform performance. If your search criteria are too broad, you will be advised to update them to produce a more manageable set of results.

When using a keyword search, Agility works consistently with the above and retrieves 10,000 articles meeting your search term(s). It then matches the articles to the contacts on our database. There are often some contacts returned ( < 5% ) who are under review or inactive on the media database and so we cannot show them in your results. Hence the number of results is not exactly 10,000, but slightly less.

When you add filters to a keyword search, the filters are only applied to the c. 9,500 results. So you may actually see your results filtered to far less than 10,

It is important to remember that in this case you are supplied with approximately 9,500 contacts who have used your search terms in recently published content - hopefully plenty to use as leads to find the right people to target with your media outreach.

The above also explains why adding multiple terms to the OR field of a keyword search does not always increase the number of results. Each time you add a term, you create a new search, always working to keep your results to a manageable number, and subject to the status of the contacts attached to the monitored content.

To put it another way, if you begin by searching "apples" and get 5,000 results, adding the word "oranges" does not simply add a new batch of matches to your 5,000 apples matches. Adding terms runs the search from scratch again, this time "apples" or "oranges", with an entirely new set of matches, all subject to the above rules.

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