Cision vs Meltwater vs Prowly – 2024 Pricing & Feature Comparison

Table of contents

With all the PR software available in today’s market, choosing the best tool for your needs can be challenging. This post compares 3 leading PR software platforms to help you choose the right tool. We’ve included Cision and Meltwater, two long-standing PR tools, and Prowly, a modern & budget-friendly alternative. If pricing is the main factor affecting your decision, you might want to skip the comparison and try Prowly for free.

Table of contents

Comparison Overview

At a glance, here’s how Cision compares to Meltwater and Prowly. The main differences lie in the pricing, media database size, and available features.

 CisionMeltwaterProwly
PricingFrom $7,200/yr*From $8,000/yr*From $258/mo
Contract LengthAnnuallyAnnuallyMonthly or annually
Media Database Size1.4M+380k+1M+
AI Press Release Creator
AI Email Pitching Assistant
Email AnalyticsStandardStandardAdvanced
Online Newsroom
Media Monitoring and Reporting
Ease of useHardMediumEasy
Free, dedicated training
Free TrialFree 7-day trial
*Estimated pricing based on third-party-data and publically available reviews


Pricing comparison

Price is one of the main factors in choosing a PR software provider. And with some platforms costing well over $10,000 per year, it’s not surprising.

 CisionMeltwaterProwly
Pricing plans provided on website
PricingFrom $7,200/yr*From $8,000/yr*From $258/mo
Setup feeUnknownUnknownFree
Contract LengthAnnuallyAnnuallyMonthly or annually
*Estimated pricing based on third-party-data and publically available reviews

Cision and Meltwater offer only annual plans, which can be expensive for smaller teams or PR agencies.

Unfortunately, neither tool displays pricing plans, leaving you wondering how much a Cision or Meltwater subscription will cost.

Because Cision and Meltwater do not display their pricing plans, the above values are estimates based on third-party data and online reviews.


Cision pricing

Based on our research, Cision pricing starts at $7,200 per year. The price depends on the package of services you need, the size of the organization, and the number of accounts.

ProviderPricingContract length
CisionFrom $7,200/yr
(estimate)
Yearly only
cision pricing screenshot from reddit
Source: Reddit
cision pricing screenshot from facebook
Source: Profitable PR Pros

Ultimately, it’s hard to say how much Cision currently costs—to get the most accurate number, contact a member of Cision’s sales team.


Meltwater pricing

Based on our data and third-party sources, we estimate Meltwater to cost around $8,000 annually. The actual price will depend on the number of features and users and can be as high as $25,000 per year—or more.

Meltwater doesn’t display its pricing plans on its website. To get a quote, you must fill out a contact form and contact a sales representative.

ProviderPricingContract length
MeltwaterFrom $8,000/yr
(estimate)
Yearly only
meltwater pricing screenshot from reddit
Source: Reddit
meltwater pricing screenshot from a facebook group
Source: Profitable PR Pros

Depending on the chosen features, media database regions, the size of your team, and other factors, the price can go up dramatically, for example for 5 users and additional searches you can be charged up to $25,000 annually. Unfortunately, the exact factors that go into Meltwater’s pricing are also not transparent and publicly available.

→ Here you can learn more about:


Prowly pricing

Prowly has three subscriptions available with all features and costs listed on its pricing page. Users can choose to stay flexible with monthly plans or pay yearly and save up to 30%.

Prowly starts at $258 per month with the Essential Bundle when billed yearly.

ProviderPricingContract length
ProwlyFrom $258/moYearly and monthly
Prowly Pricing


Feature comparison

To make an informed choice when buying PR software, you should first learn about all the features included in the price of each solution.

Media database

If you’re solely looking for a media database, read the guide to choosing the best media database for PR.

All three providers offer a high-quality media database containing local and international media contacts.

Cision vs Meltwater vs Prowly – Database G2 Comparison
Source: G2

The main differences between each media database lie in the number of contacts, update frequency, and pricing.

Cision has the most media contacts available—over 1.4 million. Prowly has around 1 million, and Meltwater has over 400 thousand.

Keep in mind that for media databases “more is not always better” because the quantity and quality of contacts may vary depending on the location and beat you’re looking for—especially outside of the US.

In this case, the best solution is to ask for a sample or get a free trial, so you can see what’s available and have a look by yourself.

Prowly offers a free 7-day trial with full search access. It’s uncertain if Meltwater or Cision offers a free trial or sample; their product pages suggest that it’s possible to find out more during a demo call, but it’s not explicitly stated that they actually offer a better glimpse of their contacts.

Prowly’s Media Database


Media monitoring

Meltwater, Cision, and Prowly all offer media monitoring tools that are critical for tracking news and online media mentions of your company, competitors, or partners. Also – all tools offer social media monitoring and listening.

Here’s a list of the best social media listening tools to choose from.

You can also learn all about using social monitoring for PR from The Complete Social Media Listening Guide for Public Relations.


PR reports

All three platforms offer PR reporting tools, which make creating PR reports fast and easy. Even so, according to user reviews in G2, Prowly has slightly better results in measuring and monitoring data and transforming it from Media Monitoring to visually compelling PR reports.

If you’re looking for a PR report, read this guide to choose the best reporting tool for PR.

Source: G2

It is unknown whether Meltwater or Cision provides a free trial, making it hard to analyze what functionality they provide for PR report creation. In Prowly, you can use the 7-day trial period to create your own PR report.


Other features

It’s worth considering additional features that may not be the primary reason for getting PR software but can help with your PR efforts.

For example, Prowly offers a press release creator that lets you create visual press releases that are useful for standing out and getting the attention of journalists. You can keep all your press releases in a journalist-friendly newsroom that is easy to read and share.

Examples of online newsrooms created with Prowly

Other important PR software features include distribution (pitching journalists) and the ability to create and manage your media lists. All 3 platforms let you send personalized pitches with analytics and other bells and whistles.

But that’s not everything. Cision, Meltwater, and Prowly offer other PR features that are not covered in this general comparison. Find out more in the detailed comparisons below:

If you’re seeking a comparison of UK media databases, we recommend reading these articles: “UK Media Database Comparison – Pricing & Features” and “Roxhill 2023 Pricing — How Much Does it Cost?”.


Reviews

Without the ability to try Cision or Meltwater for free, you might want to see what users are saying about all 3 PR tools on review platforms like G2.

Cision vs Meltwater vs Prowly – General G2 Comparison
Source: G2


Meltwater

Advantages of Meltwater:

➖ We take advantage of several saved searches that track media mentions. This uses boolean logic to get us the exact results we seek. The search function is also great for searching for mentions of our competitors, narrowing our search to a specific product we may have done a campaign on or a more broad topic outside of our company alone.

➖ Meltwater allows us to set up our own customized reports that are emailed to us regularly that we request.

Disadvantages of Meltwater:

➖ Meltwater finds obscure placements, but it misses many prominent websites. In the last month, it’s missed stories on Forbes, New York Times, Huffington Post, and Bloomberg.

➖ Meltwater can improve its updating of media contacts. They do this annually, but I average six or seven dead email addresses for every 25 reporters whenever I build a distribution list.


Cision

Advantages of Cision:

➖ Cision makes it easy to find relevant media to target for pitches, identify their target demographic, and efficiently build lists.

 I most like their media monitoring capabilities, as we have over 1,500 individuals whose media hits we monitor, and Cision helped us set up this system. It’s by no means perfect, but it works much better than what we were previously using.

Disadvantages of Cision:

➖ The information for journalists in Cision can sometimes be outdated, and I’ve come across several journalists who are simply not listed. I wish this database were more accurate and up to date.

➖ Building reports to look how you would like graphically
is not easy to do as a user without requesting customer assistance help.

➖ Customer service/account reps are not always attentive to your needs. Sometimes, it could take days or weeks to get a response.

➖ Expensive!


Prowly

Advantages of Prowly:

I like just how simple it is to add contacts to a customized media list. The user interface is user-friendly, and the number of automation capabilities looks after a few of the hard work associated with link building. Individualizing and increasing your outreach could not be easier.

➖ Ease of use and that the team is very helpful. There is no upcharge to get help to set up the press release most effectively.

Disadvantages of Prowly:

➖ There is a bit of a learning curve, and support is on European time.

➖ I only wish there were
more categories in the journalist database!


Other alternatives

You’ve already seen how Cision compares to Prowly and Meltwater. If you’re looking to keep your options open, here are other possible alternatives to Cision for PR software:

  • Critical Mention for media monitoring
  • Agility PR for an all-in-one solution
  • Mention for media monitoring
  • Newswire for press release distribution
  • TVEyes for media monitoring
  • Muck Rack for an all-in-one solution

Cision offers many different features across its platform, such as monitoring, finding contacts, or distributing press releases. When comparing alternatives, it’s important to decide which features you actually need to choose the best tool(s) to get the job done.

Summary

Platforms like Cision and Meltwater cater to large PR teams in corporate comms or marketing and large PR agency teams, offering comprehensive media intelligence solutions. Meltwater primarily targets larger companies and agencies, though they are considered expensive for SMBs.

Prowly, on the other hand, is suited for small and medium teams, accommodating challenges such as unpredictability, time pressure, and the need for easy-to-learn tools.

If you’re ready to start testing PR platforms, you can test Prowly completely free of charge for 7 days. No CC required, no strings attached. ⤵️

We hope this comparison helped you answer some of your questions and make choosing the right PR software easier.

Cover photo by Jason Briscoe