With all the PR software available in today’s market, choosing the best one for your needs is tough.
If you’re looking for some advice, here’s 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.
If pricing is the main factor affecting your decision, you might want to skip the comparison and give Prowly a try for free.
- Cision vs Meltwater vs Prowly: Overview
- 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 $293/mo|
|Contract Length||Annually||Annually||Monthly or annually|
|Media Database Size||1.4M+||380k+||1M+|
|Press Release Creator||✔||✖||✔|
|Press Release Distribution||✔||✔||✔|
|Ease of use||Hard||Medium||Easy|
|Free, dedicated training||✖||✖||✔|
|Free Trial||✖||✖||Try Prowly for free|
Read on for a more in-depth comparison of the 3 tools.
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.
|Pricing plans provided on website||✖||✖||✔|
|Pricing||From $7200/yr (est.)||From $4000/yr (est.)||From $293/mo|
|Contract Length||Annually||Annually||Monthly or annually|
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.
Because Cision and Meltwater do not display their pricing plans, the values above are estimates based on third-party data and reviews found online.
How much does Cision cost?
Based on research, Cision pricing starts at $7200 per year. The price depends on the package of services you need, the size of the organization, and the amount of accounts.
According to a 3rd-party site, the price in 2014 was $5700 for a single media database license, and additional users available at $1275 each. Some reviews cite that the price could surpass $10000/year with additional licenses and addons.
Ultimately, it’s hard to say how much Cision currently costs – to get the most accurate number it’s best to get in touch with a member of Cision’s sales team.
How much does Meltwater cost?
Based on research, Meltwater costs around $5000 per year, which comes out to be around $416 per month (although you are billed annually).
It’s hard to find any additional 3rd-party pricing info, although some sources cite that Meltwater plans start at $8000 per year.
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 $25000 annually. Unfortunately, the exact factors that go into the price are also not transparent and publically available.
How much does Prowly cost?
Prowly offers monthly and annual plans, with the latter having a -15% discount. There are 2 different plans available with a list of the features you’ll get—so you know exactly what you’re paying for.
To make an informed choice when buying PR software, you should first learn about all the features included in the price of each solution.
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.
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.
It’s worth to mention that 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 $293/mo—which is still considerably less than Cision’s $600+/mo.
Muck Rack, Cision, and Prowly all offer media monitoring tools that are critical for tracking news and online media mentions of your company, competitors, or partners. However, Prowly doesn’t offer social media monitoring yet.
All three platforms offer PR reporting tools, which makes PR report creation fast and easy. Even so, Prowly has slightly better results in terms of measurements, monitoring data and transforming it from Media Monitoring to visually compelling PR reports, according to user reviews in G2.
If you’re looking for a coverage report, read this guide to choose the best reporting tool for PR.
It is not known whether Meltwater or Cision provide a free trial, which makes it hard to analyze what functionality they provide for PR report creation, while in Prowly you can use the 7-days trial period and use it to create full PR reports.
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.
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.
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.
But that’s not everything. Cision, Meltwater, and Prowly offer other additional PR features that are not covered in this general comparison. Find out more in the detailed comparisons below:
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.
✅ 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 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.
➖ Meltwater allows us to set up our own customized reports that are emailed to us on a regular basis that we request.
❌ Disadvantages of Meltwater:
➖ Meltwater finds obscure placements, but it misses many on 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. 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.
✅ Advantages of Cision:
➖ Cision makes it easy to find relevant media to target for pitches and identify who 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 works much better than what we were previously using.
❌ Disadvantages of Cision:
➖ The information for journalists in Cision can be outdated at times and I’ve come across a number of journalists who are simply not listed. I wish this database was more accurate and up to date.
➖ 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.
➖ I like just how simple it’s to add contacts into a customized media list. The user interface is really user-friendly and also the number of automation capabilities look after a few of the hard work associated with link building for you – individualizing as well as 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 in the most effective way.
❌ Disadvantages of Prowly:
➖ There is a bit of a learning curve, and support is on European time.
➖ I only wish there we more categories in the journalist database!
➖ It is not easy to customize pitch emails when sending a pitch and press release to multiple people.
Other Cision Alternatives
You’ve already seen how Cision compares to its 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
- 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 the 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 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, you can test Prowly completely free of charge for 7 days, no CC required, no strings attached.
Cover photo by Jason Briscoe