As more and more PR professionals like you realize their need the turn to PR automation for their day-to-day PR tasks, several serious PR software contenders are on the scene for their consideration in 2021. If you’re on the lookout for PR software, you might have already heard about PR tools like:
Ready to get to know them a little better? Here are the best PR tools compared.
Today’s PR software landscape
PR software allows you and your team to streamline the recurring daily PR tasks that can eat of most of your time: creating media lists, building online newsrooms, pitching press contacts, and tracking their responses. Automating these tasks will free up time to focus on bigger priorities like developing news angles and client strategies.
To help you weigh the options and determine the best PR software for you, you should first do the heavy lifting: research what’s available on the market, keep a focus on the best online PR tools and read through PR software reviews to include feedback coming directly from PR professionals.
If you need some help once you’re at it, feel free to download the ultimate PR software cheatsheet below:
…Or, you could simply continue reading this article with a handy PR software price comparison, with the pros & cons of every tool.
When you’re ready, let’s dig into the major PR software options in 2021. It’s important to note that pricing is not easily accessible from some of these companies, so listed pricing is estimated from the best data available at the time of writing.
Best PR software compared
|Media Database Size||1M+||1.4M+||250k+||380k+||✗||1M+||✗||1M+|
|Press Release Creator||✓||✓||✗||✗||✓||✗||✓||✗|
|Press Release Distribution||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✗||✓|
|Free Trial||Free for 7 days||✗||✗||✗||✓||✗||✗||✗|
Pros of Prowly
While the largest PR software companies require an expensive annual commitment, Prowly offers a budget-friendly monthly plan (although you can get a discount if you opt for an annual plan).
However, this doesn’t mean you need to give up important benefits for the lower price; Prowly’s media database is highly competitive against Cison and Muck Rack with 1 million contacts. Plus, it offers the following same features as the more expensive Cision software: press release creator, press release distribution, and online newsroom hosting.
Easy to use and set up, Prowly offers a free 7-day trial with full search access and dedicated training. If you need a few more reasons, here’s why PR professionals choose Prowly.
Cons of Prowly
Prowly currently does not offer media monitoring services like some of the other software listed here. However, it can be supplemented with a media monitoring tool like CoverageBook (in fact, paired together, the monthly cost for both tools will come out to be less than getting everything through Muck Rack or Cision).
Prowly pricing: From $189 a month
Pros of Cision
Of all software in this comparison, Cision has the largest media database at 1.4 million contacts. It offers editorial calendars for sourcing opportunities and easy press release distribution with its PR Newswire integration that’s been trusted for over 65 years.
Multimedia tools allow you to organize your press content easily for journalist review and include useful integrations with creative tools like Shutterstock. You can also use its interactive dashboards for visibility into your campaign’s success via trends like press release reach, earned audience data, and share of voice.
Cision also offers media monitoring and media intelligence tools that allow you to track online, broadcast, print, social, and podcast news and mentions for your company and its competitors.
Cons of Cision
Of all the best PR software compared here, Cision has consistently been deemed the most difficult PR software to use. For example, while reporting options can be detailed, building them to your needs may require support assistance, which may not always be immediately available.
Pricing is the highest in this category too, with some agencies reporting over $10K a year to cover licensing needs. There’s no free trial, free dedicated training, or free set-up.
Cision pricing: From $7200 a year
Pros of Muck Rack
According to the reviews, many find Muck Rack considerably easier to use than Cision, with a user-friendly interface that offers the key PR task needs most professionals are looking for with automation: a current media database with filters for list creation, the ability to send personalized email pitches, media outreach analytics, and the ability to track team activity through their Public Relations Management (PRM).
Muck Rack also offers media monitoring for tracking client and competitor news across social, blogs, online news, radio, TV, and traditional media via automated alerts. You can create robust coverage reports about who’s shared your link, and even follow your favorite journalists and their social media activity.
Cons of Muck Rack
Compared to other popular PR software, Muck Rack’s media database is considerably smaller with 250K contacts. Small agencies and freelancers may find the pricing too high for their budget, and there appears to be no free trial offer or free dedicated training. There is also no press release creator like with other software, and keyword monitoring needs to be set up cautiously so you don’t get bombarded with emails and updates.
Muck Rack pricing: From $5000 a year
Pros of Meltwater
If you’re set on selecting one of the bigger PR software options, you’ll want to know that Meltwater is reportedly less difficult to use than Cision.
Their keyword search option allows users to use hyper-targeted search terms to find media contacts who’ve written specifically about client topics and competitors.
Social media integration is important to Meltwater. The software can fully integrate social management workflows and includes a social influencer marketing platform for discovery, influencer analytics, and ROI measurement. Social listening is included for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, Twitch, Pinterest, TikTok, blogs, discussion forums, podcasts, online news, and consumer reviews sites.
Cons of Meltwater
Meltwater comes in with a lower media database at 380K. Also, the need to make an annual commitment instead of a monthly one can be a big drawback to freelancers and smaller agencies. Some reviewers report inconsistent media mention reporting and commonly running into dead email contacts. The software does not include an online newsroom or press release creator, and there is no free trial or free training.
Meltwater pricing: From $4000 a year
Pros of Prezly
Prezly claims it’s the all-in-one tool for agencies and in-house PR teams focused on speeding up their daily workload. They offer the PR basics most pros are looking for: a newsroom, email outreach tools, and reporting coverage. You can view insights into audience engagements.
Unlike most PR tools, Prezly offers the ability to commit to a monthly payment plan versus an annual one, with pricing plans readily available on their website.
Cons of Prezly
The main drawback may be a big one for some agencies: Prezly does not come with a media database, so you need to create and upload your own media lists into the software. This is problematic for PR professionals looking to reduce the time involved in building email lists. Prezly’s software also does not include media monitoring, making this software mostly a CRM solution versus a full-service one.
Prezly pricing: From $50 a month
Agility PR Solutions
Pros of Agility PR Solutions
Agility PR comes in with an impressive media database of over 1 million global contacts, and it checks the boxes of some important PR needs with its ability to personalize emails to journalists, view email insights, and set up daily media brief emails based on topics you’re interested in.
The added plus is its flat-fee newswire service with no added costs for text length, images, or links. Distribution includes detailed monitoring on press release pick-up, and the newswire list includes over 860K media contacts for you to consider. Customized media monitoring and PR measurement services are also available through their team of media analysts.
Cons of Agility PR Solutions
Pricing is not available without speaking directly with a salesperson. Features mentioned above appear to be sold as individual features versus a one-stop solution. There is no free trial available to test the software, and several reviews report media contact data has gaps.
Agility PR pricing: From $1000 a year per feature
Pros of pr.co
The pr.co approach is different than other PR tools; it’s more of a build-your-own software solution based on the specific needs of your team.
Their plans start at a basic online newsroom level, with additional features added a la carte. These additional upgrades include a PR CRM, custom contact list creation by their team, additional newsrooms, and users.
As proof of their primary focus on online newsrooms, pr.co designed their newsroom along with journalists to give it the rich features the media prefers when hearing from PR pros.
Cons of pr.co
No media database available. Any need for media contacts will need to be met by purchasing custom media lists built by their team.
pr.co pricing: From $527 a month
Pros of Propel
Built by PR professionals, Propel is primarily focused on its PR CRM (PRM) capabilities, offering easy Gmail and Outlook integrations. Like with pr.co, you can build your own monthly plan to your specific needs. Their “menu” starts with their PR CRM and Gmail/Outlook plug-in for free, with increasing pricing levels adding in more features. For example, you can choose from a media database of 1 million contacts, online monitoring, or social listening.
Cons of Propel
While you can see open and click rates of journalists you’ve reached out to, there is currently no ability to easily follow up based on this information. It’s also reported that their Google Chrome extension is needed for full functionality, meaning you lose features on an iPad or mobile device.
Propel pricing: From $199 a month
Best PR software revealed
The best PR software is ultimately the one that meets your team’s specific needs. This PR software and price comparison hopefully serves as a handy overview and solid starting point for your search.
Use it to start a conversation with your team about what features and benefits will have the biggest impact on your day-to-day workload of PR tasks. Then, schedule a few demos to see the PR software in action.
Good luck in your search! If you still need a little more guidance, make sure to read Prowly’s guide to buying PR software.
Cover photo by Joshua Burdick