There are many different types of PR Software tools available to help Public Relations professionals solve the challenges of a 24-hour news cycle and the rapid shift from traditional media to the digital world full of bloggers, micro sites, social media, search engine optimization and ROI focused PR metrics. The type of software and tools that is right for your team varies greatly depending on:
Your Budget for PR Efforts: There are a wide variety of free tools available for PR professionals including tools that can alert you to media mentions (Google Alerts), web analytics tools (Google Analytics) that track website traffic referred from other sites and social media listening (Hootsuite) to find influencers and trending topics. The challenge with free tools is their limited functionality makes it extremely time consuming for PR professionals to sift through the noise, combine data sets and do in-depth analysis just to find a nugget of useful information. Free tools are a great way to start but PR professionals need to invest in more advanced PR software quickly monitor quality mentions, track key messages, identify influencers and prove the ROI of PR in a way executives will understand.
Goals for Your PR Campaigns: Not all PR efforts will require cutting edge PR software to track success, optimize efforts and prove the impact of media mentions on the brand. If your goal is to send an occasional press release about an executive or new offering, then using some of the free tools could work for you. If your goal is to have PR make a significant impact on the brand then you will need more advance PR software solution that can provide you the information you need to optimize your PR campaigns and prove the value of your efforts.
Reporting Required and Success Metrics Needed: PR reporting has changed in the digital world. Traditional PR metrics like Ad Value Equivalency (AVE), total mentions and mentions in top publications do not provide the insight to prove the true value PR is driving for a brand. Executives now demand ROI focused metrics to justify investment. Advanced PR analytics software platforms are often the only way to discover and report on metrics like website visitors from media mentions, leads created, or even sales generated or deals influenced.
Here are 6 types of PR Software that Public Relations professionals use the most:
- Advanced PR Analytics Software
- Traditional Media Monitoring Software
- Press Release Distribution Services
- Media Contact Database
- Crisis Communications Software
- Social Listening Software
PR Analytics Software
TrendKite is an example of an advanced PR analytics software platform. Solutions in this category of PR software have the most robust functionality and include or integrate with other PR tools to provide an all inclusive platform. PR analytics software goes beyond traditional media monitoring tools to provide PR metrics that prove the value of your media mentions in a way that both Public Relations pros and Executives will understand. It also provides rich data to deliver insights into quality mentions, key influencers, sentiment of articles and more that allow you to optimize and target your PR campaigns to make them as impactful as possible.
Media Monitoring Software
There are lots of options for PR professionals looking to get alerts when their brand, industry, competitors or other key subjects get mentioned online. Google news alerts is one example of a free solution that can help with this. The biggest problem with many media monitoring tools is they cannot filter out irrelevant or low quality coverage making it impossible for you to hone in on quality coverage.
Press Release Distribution Services
These are services that help public relations get their press releases in front of journalists to get them published. There are both paid and free press release distribution services available; the paid services usually get press releases published to Google News and Yahoo! News. Each service has its own distribution networks so many PR professionals chose a multi-pronged approach and use several different services to ensure that they get their releases in front of as many journalists. The value of issuing press releases through these services is under great debate and the tactic of issuing a press release and praying you get coverage is all but dead. Leading Public Relations teams use PR software to identify key journalists, publications and influencers to develop relationships with and then send them highly targeted pitches.
Media Contact Database
These can be highly effective when paired with a quality media monitoring software or PR analytics software that can help to identify high value publications and journalists. Using advanced PR analytics you can hone in on important conversations to identify key journalists and publications. You can then cross-reference the media contact database to get contact information for highly targeted PR pitches.
Crisis Communication Software
Advanced PR tools like TrendKite can be very valuable during a PR crisis. They offer sentiment analysis of media mentions, share of voice and data to benchmark your performance, social amplification of articles and more. This allows you to identify key influencers to target with pitches, show how your PR efforts are changing the conversation over time and clearly report your progress to the executive team in ways they will understand. There are dedicated Crisis Communication software to help with organization of the crisis response team and response prioritization. These are more project management based solutions to ensure that your team stays aligned, sensitive documents are secure and knowledge of rapidly changing events is quickly shared with everyone who needs to be informed. In addition to paid tools, Google docs or Microsoft online have document sharing, storage and communication tools to help bring your PR team together in a crisis.
Social Listening Software
These tools are tailored more for Social Media Marketers but they can be very valuable for PR professionals as well. The challenge PR faces when they use social listening tools is there is so much noise, it becomes almost impossible to identify which conversations are driven by media mentions and which are not. Best in class PR software should offer social amplification metrics PR pros can use to identify which articles are getting shared the most on social sites (high value media mentions) and how is sharing your articles the most (top influencers).