We live in a “There’s an app for that” world, where simple tech solutions for everything are within easy reach. You probably use one to track the number of steps you take every day, monitor how well you sleep at night, help you stick to a diet plan or any number of other things.
These platforms help to organize our work (and lives), save time, and make the most of the time we do spend on something. Even things we don’t normally think of as helpful organizational tools, like your favorite social media messenger, keep all your contacts in one place and make them easy to access. These days, it’s hard to think of anything we do that can’t be improved or supported in some way by software.
That includes the work of anyone working in PR looking to achieve new levels of convenience and efficiency. There is definitely an app for that.
Actually, it’s more than an app. PR software delivers full-service support that impacts every aspect of managing media relations, from streamlining the way you access & use information to the entire process of creating your messaging and more.
If you’re in PR but not using software tools to make your job easier, here’s a list of PR software benefits you’re missing out on.
- PR software benefits
PR software benefits
A more organized contact database
Raise your hand if your media contact database is part in your email inbox, part on an Excel sheet you started years ago, part in your phone, and part on a random collection of post-it notes and bits of paper on your desk.
One of the most basic and important functions of any PR software is making it easy to build and manage your media contact database, with everything you need in one place. Start by easily importing the contacts you already have and then add new ones as you grow.
When you’re looking for specific contacts, search filters make it easy to select them based on criteria like location, outlet, topic, specialization, or any other way you want to segment them. Add notes to document your history of interactions with particular contacts, and use flexible custom tags to help quickly identify a contact based on anything you want.
In addition to organizing your media contact database, PR software can help you build it — fast. A common option is an access to ready-made, curated media lists, typically consisting of over a million media contacts. Search them using filters to find the most relevant contacts for a particular campaign, or add anyone who might be a good source of potential coverage.
Reaching out to the right audience
With all your contacts in one place, PR software makes it super simple to select the groups, segments, traits, tags, or anything else that match the audience for a particular media pitch.
With just a couple of clicks, you can search and sort through all of your contacts and construct the perfect audience for your press release, pitch, or other communication. Sort by media type, industry, your history with certain contacts, and more using custom tags. Never forget that matching your messaging to the right audience is crucial to PR success.
Or you can go line-by-line through your old Excel spreadsheet, trying to remember who these people are. The choice is yours.
There’s another handy feature in PR software that can turbocharge your contact database and increase your chances of connecting with the right journalists — contact recommendations. Better platforms can analyze the content of your pitch and suggest media contacts from their databases who are likely to be interested in your story, boosting your click rates, engagement and, best of all, chances of media coverage.
A fast track to creating, designing, and sending press releases
With your database in good order and growing and your audience selected and ready, it’s time to get down to the real work of crafting the message you want to share.
Without PR software, you’re essentially starting from scratch each time and limited to fairly simple, plain releases. If you happen to operate in an industry where making the same boring press releases over and over is the standard, then you’re in luck.
For everyone else, PR software offers major upgrades in terms of what you can create, how easy it is to make and how quickly you can do it. Just think of the advantage you start with when using an entire drag & drop editor dedicated to the specific purpose of creating press releases.
Take control of the look of every aspect of your work, from colors and fonts to headlines and graphics, and let your inner artist experiment until you come up with just the right look.
Make creating your press release a team effort! Good PR software lets you share access to the account, which means help and collaboration at every stage. For creating press releases, that means making it possible to let anyone on your team with a more creative eye contribute to the aesthetics while someone else who knows just the right word to use can take over the text part. Teamwork makes the dream work!
Easy personalization at scale
Wait, you’re not going to send out your campaign without personalized content everywhere possible, are you?
Of course not. And with good PR software, you barely need to lift a finger since personalization is basically built-in to the press release creator. All you have to do is compose your message and special fields in the text will automatically be personalized based on the information you have in your contact database.
Personalized messaging increases your chances of engagement and that’s what this whole exercise is about, so don’t even think about skipping this step. So the choice is between manually changing the details for each individual mail or letting your PR software do it for hundreds, if not thousands of contacts at once automatically. So what do you think?
Automated help with personalization can go beyond the content of your pitch to the small details you might overlook. Some PR software platforms make smart suggestions about changes to make in the content of your message and even the subject line of your email. These suggestions are typically based on the need to avoid spam filters and the words and formatting choices that trigger them.
An online newsroom and a bigger online presence
One of the more interesting and useful recent innovations in PR software is the introduction of online newsrooms. These are branded online spaces where you can post information about your company or client, along with all the information any journalist could possibly want to know about you, including archived press releases if you choose.
The software lets you customize the online newsroom to make it visually consistent with your existing site or brand identity. The really great thing about online newsrooms, however, is the ability to simply link journalists to it instead of sending PDFs or some other format as an attachment to an email. No more “download this” — instead it’s just simply “click here”, which is perceived as much safer by anyone anxious about what they’re downloading to their computer.
In addition to being super-convenient and making you look like a progressive, forward-looking brand, online newsrooms are also useful in expanding your online footprint. All the content you upload to it boosts your visibility and position in search engine results as well.
Typos happen, but they’re always worse when they happen to you. Also, when events move quickly, information in your press release can become outdated within hours. With an online newsroom made possible by PR software, you can simply go back and edit or correct anything that needs editing or correcting. Try that with a PDF you sent as an attachment to a hundred people who will now question your spelling skills or wonder why you sent an update right after your original press release.
Keeping your team informed and engaged
Returning to the subject of teamwork, with PR software you can do a lot more than just take advantage of your staff’s creative skills when designing a newsletter.
PR software lets multiple team members access the account, making it possible to share information and let everyone add, update, manage, and otherwise contribute to your contact database and more.
Apart from sharing your media lists with the whole team, everyone can also add notes about your contacts, create phone call and contact histories, list emails or meetings, and generally keep track of your interactions while tagging different team members and exchanging insights in discussion threads with them.
Using a project management tool with your team to track when work is done is not the same as sharing the tool that does the work. Sharing PR software with multiple team members gives them access to what they need to get the work done, making it possible to assign different tasks to different people.
Track responses to media pitches
You’ve sent out your media pitch, and you’re waiting…and waiting. When should you follow up? And how do you know what to follow up with, since silence on the other end can mean several things? Did they open your mail at all? Did they open it but not respond? And if they opened it, was it a week ago or this morning?
So many questions. PR software gives you the answers you need to follow up with the right message at the right time.
This includes preparing different follow-ups that can be sent to different contacts based on their response (or lack of response) to your initial contact. Not only is this the smart thing to do, boosting your chances of getting a positive response, but automating everything saves time that you can use on more productive things.
And by the way, of course, you can use email tools and other platforms to track recipient responses to your emails, but why would you? PR software integrates the same functionality with the software you use to build and manage your media lists, online newsroom, and email pitches. Why use separate tools and platforms for every part of your PR when one tool can handle them all?
There’s another key benefit to being able to easily track responses to your media pitches thanks to PR software. Sometimes a lack of a response is a sign that perhaps it’s time to remove that particular contact from your database, or at least look into whether it needs to be updated. Journalists move around to new outlets and on to different fields, and no address is valid forever. Removing inactive or unresponsive addresses is as important as adding new ones since it keeps your delivery rates high and avoids sending the wrong signals to sensitive spam filters.
The bottom line on PR software
You might be reading this because you have discovered on your own that there are limits to what you can do without the help of digital tools. For PR pros, the benefits are clear:
- Automation takes care of the simple but time-consuming tasks
- Your contact database — your PR gold mine — is well organized and easily shareable
- You get access to huge numbers of media contacts you almost certainly would never otherwise connect with
- Your press releases look better and generally more professional while being easier to create
- Online newsrooms give you credibility while making it much easier for journalists to learn about you
- You can introduce a higher degree of collaboration with your team
- You get analytical insights into how your pitches are received by your audience
But perhaps most importantly of all, PR software gives you the space you need to focus on the big-picture aspects of what you do by taking the details off your plate. Strategizing for your clients, blue-sky idea sessions, the creative work that attracts clients and customers in the first place — all that and more is easier when you use PR software to streamline the way you work.
And the best part? PR tools like Prowly are affordable and easy to set up, yet, they can make an immediate difference to your business.
Cover image by Christina @ wocintechchat.com