With all the PR software and media databases available in today’s market, choosing the best one for your needs is tough.
We’ve put together a side-by-side comparison of the top 3 PR software platforms on the market to help you choose the best tool for your needs.
We’ve included Cision and Meltwater which are the two most recognized brands on the market and Prowly which is a more modern & budget-friendly solution.
Feature and pricing comparison
- Pricing comparison
- Feature comparison
- Other Cision alternatives
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.
|Pricing||From $7200/yr||From $4000/yr||From $115/mo|
|Contract Length||Annually||Annually||Monthly or annually|
|Media Database Size||1.4M+||380k+||1M+|
|Press Release Creator||Yes||No||Yes|
|Press Release Distribution||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Ease of use||Hard||Medium||Easy|
|Free, dedicated training||No||No||Yes|
|Free Trial||No||No||Try Prowly for free|
Read on for a more in-depth comparison of the 3 tools.
G2 Quick Stats
G2 is the largest review platform for software, applications, and other tech solutions like PR software.
One of the main factors in choosing a PR software provider is the price. And with some companies charging over $10000 per year—it’s not surprising.
Cision and Meltwater both offer only annual plans and are quite pricey. Unfortunately, both companies do not publically list their pricing, leaving you wondering how much a Cision or Meltwater subscription will actually cost you.
How much does Cision cost?
Based on our internal research we estimate Cision pricing to begin at $7200 per year. According to a 3rd-party site, the price in 2014 was $5700.
How much does Meltwater cost?
Based on our internal research we estimate Meltwater to cost around $4000 per year, which comes out to be around $333 per month (although you are billed annually).
It’s hard to find any additional 3rd-party pricing info, although some sources cite that Meltwater may even start at $6000 per year.
Depending on the chosen features, media database regions, the size of your team and other factors, the price can go up dramatically. Unfortunately, the factors that go into the price are also not transparent and publically available.
Prowly offers monthly and annual plans. Yearly plans have a -15% discount, bringing down the starting price to a budget-friendly $98 per month. There are 3 different plans available with a list of the features you’ll get—so you know exactly what you’re paying for.
If you’re solely looking for a media database, we recommend reading our guide: How to choose the best media database for PR.
All three providers offer a high-quality media database containing local and international media contacts.
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 offer 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.
Meltwater, Cision or Prowly don’t offer their media database as a standalone feature.
Meltwater and Cision include it in their standard pricing, which we’ve listed above. Prowly offers its media database as an additionally priced add-on which gives a total price of $210/mo—which is still considerably less than Cision’s $500+/mo.
Meltwater and Cision offer media monitoring and media intelligence tools. Both are crucial tools for tracking news and mentions of your company, competitors or partners on social or traditional media.
Here’s what users are saying about each platform:
- “Keyword Search – We are able to find who has recently written about a topic. This allows us to target those who have been recently interested in what we are writing about in our release. It is also a way for us to expand our contact list to reach people who may be writing outside of their normal beat/genre.”
- “Search Function – We take advantage of several saved searches that track media mentions. This uses boolean logic to get us the exact results we are looking for. 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.”
- “Reporting – Meltwater allows us to set up our own customized reports that are emailed to us on a regular basis that we request.”
- “While the platform has seemingly unlimited options, it takes a while to learn. Our product support representative has been really helpful in web tutorials, and the Knowledge Base documents explain some things in detail, but it may be helpful for Meltwater to publish videos of them navigating the site.”
- “Meltwater finds obscure placements, but it misses many on prominent web sites. 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. I think they do this annually, but I average six or seven dead email addresses for every 25 reporters whenever I build a distribution list.”
- “[Cision] is very user-friendly. It’s easy to navigate and find what you need, plus [it] offers a lot of options for how to organize your contacts and media lists.”
- “The customer support team at [Cision] is always very helpful and gets back to you quickly when you need assistance. Vocus also offers online/teleconference training classes plus a great help section within the portal that contains articles and “how-to” videos.”
- “Not every article is automatically picked up. Some major papers get skipped some of the time, even when the proper keywords are present.”
- “Some articles/outlets are delayed in when the system retrieves them. Some articles come through from years ago, that do not match the date filter requirements.”
- “Building reports to graphically look how you would like is not easy to do as a user, without requesting customer assistance help.”
- “Customer service/account rep is not always the most attentive to your needs. It could take days or weeks to get a response sometimes.”
Prowly does not offer a media monitoring module. It can, however, be supplemented with a media monitoring tool like CoverageBook or Critical Mention to have the whole package. Paired together, the monthly cost for both tools will come out to be less than getting everything through Meltwater or Cision.
It’s worth taking a look at additional features that are not always the primary reason for getting PR software but help with your PR efforts.
Press release creation & newsroom
For example, Prowly offers an intuitive press release creator and which lets you create visual press releases which are useful for standing out and getting the attention of journalists. You can keep all of your press releases in a journalist-friendly newsroom which is easy to read and share.
Press Release Distribution
Other important PR software features include distribution (pitching journalists) or being able to create and manage your media lists. All 3 platforms let you send personalized pitches with analytics and other bells and whistles.
If this is a top priority for you, we simply recommend trying or seeing how it works in every platform to see which is most intuitive and simple for you and your team.
Other Cision Alternatives
We’ve already compared Cision to it’s main alternatives—Prowly & 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
- Buzzstream pitching media contacts
- Muck Rack for an all-in-one solution
Cision offers a lot of 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.
To sum up our Cision vs Meltwater comparison: Cision seems to be a slightly better overall solution with more features and a larger media database, but Meltwater leads with its media monitoring and more attractive price.
On the other hand, Prowly is a more modern and budget-friendly solution with similar features and transparent pricing plans.
We hope this Cision vs Meltwater vs Prowly comparison helped you answer some of your questions and make your process of choosing the right PR software a bit easier.
If you’re ready to start testing PR platforms, we let you test Prowly completely free of charge for 7 days, no CC required, no strings attached. You get unlimited search access to our media database and press release + newsroom creator so you can see if it’s a match for your business.