We’re back with more insights revealed by our “The State of PR Technology 2022” report, which gathered the responses of two hundred PR professionals to various questions about the role of technology in their work. We wanted to get a better idea of what kinds of technology, if any, they were using to make their jobs easier and which aspects of their work benefited most from using digital tools.
About the report
The project was a unique undertaking that provided rare insights into how those involved in every aspect of PR make (or sometimes don’t make) various kinds of technology an integral part of their jobs. After collecting responses and compiling stats using Semrush, we reached out to various influencers and important voices throughout our industry for their feedback on what we found.
The report is a fascinating snapshot of where PR is today as it gradually adapts and embraces digital capabilities that streamline processes and integrate resources into comprehensive tools. The overall trend is towards greater adoption of these tools but, as we found out, the use of technology in PR is uneven and focused on some tasks more than others.
In the first part of our summary, we touched on how Google searches reveal
a growing interest in PR tools (even though that interest doesn’t always result in action), what kinds of tools were rated by PR pros as being the most valuable and the primary reasons for dissatisfaction when they weren’t happy with the choices they made.
This time, we’re turning to other topics covered in the report for more details on the tech tools that PR professionals use to get their jobs done, some common habits they share, some surprising results from our own analytical research and more.
Here’s Part Two of our summary of “The State of PR Technology 2022”. Remember that you can download the full version of the report here for a deep dive into
the topics we’re covering, complete with graphs, charts and more.
Tech saves time
Our feedback from PR professionals makes it clear — the automation made possible by digital tools saves a lot of time. They report spending 90% less time on creating media lists, two hours instead of two days to build an online newsroom and just need an one hour instead of five to complete their media monitoring, among other things.
This accelerated pace not only makes you more productive in terms of how much time you need to get things done, but makes you doubly productive by giving you more time for things that can lead to real breakthroughs.
Cultivating existing contacts and making new ones, just touching base with a client or stakeholder to let them know you’re working on something for them, the creative work that comes from just having a bit of peace and quiet — all this and more can fit in your schedule when automation tools help you focus your time where it matters most and not on repetitive tasks!
Prowly’s #1 most-used tool is…
You can do a lot with Prowly but the numbers say that, more than anything else, our customers use
our Press Release Creator to draft, design and send this basic component of PR outreach.
This should come as no surprise since press releases are the medium that gets your message out to media contacts. Another reason that this is no shocker is that common word processing programs like Word or Google Docs aren’t optimized for press releases and doing everything in Prowly is simply much easier. When formatting options, integration with contact lists and other shortcuts are ready and waiting, it’s no surprise that our press release creator is the default choice for so many PR pros.
Staying on the topic of creating press releases, when we asked what tools people used to do this job, the top two answers we got were…Word and Google Docs. As we just mentioned, neither of these was designed with press releases or anything related to the needs of PR in mind so why do they come in first and second place? Because they’re simply so familiar to everyone and they seem like the natural place to start writing anything.
This is one of those situations where you don’t know what you’re missing until you try it. Using Word or Google Docs seems like a good idea until you use a dedicated tool that not only helps your press release look great but makes it easy to send out to tailored audiences selected from a massive media database and track the results afterwards, all from the same interface. There’s an “aha” moment you won’t forget!
Using a media database for new contacts — hot or not?
Here’s a very surprising takeaway from our report. When asked if they were using
a media database to search for new contacts, just over 30% responded that they were not. This begs the question of what those respondents are using to expand their contact lists.
Sure, there are plenty of old-school ways to find and connect with journalists who might be interested in what you have to share, but why wouldn’t you take advantage of the power of media databases? Even this short list should be enough to convince anyone:
- Fast access to contact information for more than a million journalists
- Journalists can be segmented according to
the type of publication they’re with, the focus of their work, geographical region if applicable and much more
- Curated databases ensure that information is up to date and reliable
- Expand your contact list with journalists who likely to be receptive to your message in a fraction of the time required by any other method
What’s not to like?
Where do you keep your contacts?
Media contacts were the subject of the next questions we asked. We wanted to know where PR practitioners kept their media lists and the top answer was spreadsheets, like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. This matches our earlier findings about how Word and Google Docs were most-used tools for press release creation. After all,
if you’re already using one of those to write your press releases, doesn’t it make sense to use them to store your contacts as well?
Well, yes and no. Again, it’s a question of using what’s familiar and not necessarily what was designed for the job.
When you store your media contacts in your PR software, it’s easier to keep everything updated, organized and ready to grow. It just streamlines everything to have your contacts integrated in the same tool as everything else. Just as with the press release creator, you don’t realize how much easier the entire process can be until you start storing your media contacts in your PR software.
If you could snap your fingers and improve one thing…
Here’s a question that took us straight to the major pain points experienced in PR offices everywhere — “If you could instantly improve one aspect of your current PR performance, what would it be?”
Three responses stood out from all the rest. The top response, given by nearly 30% of respondents, was “Having a better understanding of media contacts and their beat”. This makes sense given the crucial importance of reaching out to and connecting with the right journalists for your message. The value of being able to refine searches and focus on high-potential media contacts is clear to PR pros.
In second place, the answer was “Managing my daily PR activities more efficiently.” Although it may seem like a broad, general answer, it suggests a common frustration with not being able to better organize and perhaps automate repetitive daily tasks — something that PR tech tools were literally made for. We expect this answer to be
a less common sentiment in the future as adoption of time-saving, efficiency-boosting tools become standard.
And in third place, “Tracking and measuring PR efforts” was another area where improvement was needed. Again, PR tech tools have a role to play here but this answer ranking as highly as it did is another sign that full adoption across
the industry is a process that takes time.
Media Monitoring is taking over, and for good reason
Just under 30% of respondents to our survey reported that they currently don’t use any media monitoring tool at all. We expect this number to fall significantly in
the coming months for a couple of reasons:
- Media monitoring is a fairly new addition to the PR toolbox and, like anything else, it takes time for word of the benefits to spread.
- The benefits of media monitoring are game-changing for PR teams and not using it will soon be seen as a major handicap. How can you not use such useful tools when you know the competition has them?
Some of the biggest benefits of media monitoring tools include:
- Controlling the narrative and reputation of your brand
- Getting complete coverage of the media 24/7
- Uncovering mentions in commonly overlooked channels
- Getting alerts for relevant mentions
- Monitoring competitors and their strategies
- Collecting data to spot trends or outliers
- Measuring PR efforts with industry metrics
The struggle is real (but there’s an easy solution!)
Let’s talk about problems. We asked which challenges our respondents struggled with in the previous twelve months, followed by a long list of options. The top two answers came as no surprise:
- Engaging without journalists (getting them to respond)
- Getting top-tier coverage
These are the two seemingly permanent challenges in our world and most of what we do is focused around achieving one or the other or both. Other answers like finding the right media contacts, working on a tight budget, meeting client expectations and keeping media lists organized, among many others, filled out the rest of the list.
The takeaway here? Everything on this list is easier with PR software. This is particularly true for those top two answers — working at starting conversations with journalists and getting the coverage that comes from that is much more effective when you have the right tools for the job.
If you’d like to learn more details about how Prowly can make your PR work more effective, contact our Sales Team today. Don’t forget to download the full version or our “The State of PR Technology 2022” to read the full version along with all the details!
Meet some of the PR professionals who helped us create our report
Building a picture of the state of tech in PR today meant more than putting together
a questionnaire, gathering answers and using data to make charts and graphs.
We wanted to get feedback from industry experts to add some context and their own take on the issues that we examined.
Here’s a small sample of the thought leaders, opinion shapers and trend setters that made our report even better with their contributions and comments.
- Jordania Schulze, Communications Manager at Diving Point. With a proven track record as a Digital Marketing Specialist, Jordania knows all about what it takes to break through the noise with a data-based approach to effective media outreach. Her knowledge of the capabilities of tech tools has been part of the driving force behind Diving Point’s success.
- Tamara Sykes, PR Manager at Postali. Using digital tools is at the center of Tamara’s approach to the content strategy she builds for her clients at Postali.
Her perspective comes from someone who lives for the challenge of building brand awareness through a multichannel approach.
- George Driscoll, Digital PR Consultant at Root Digital. Starting his career as an SEO specialist, George is now an experienced Digital PR who manages campaigns across a range of sectors and markets. He has a particular love for campaigns with real-world social-good impacts and pulling stories out of big-bad data.
- Barnaby Patchett, Managing Director at One Nine Nine. With deep knowledge gained from a very diverse list of clients, Barnaby has a sharp eye for the content angle of PR across industries and an impressive history of delivering creative projects that lead broader marketing campaigns.
- Gini Dietrich, CEO and founder at Spin Sucks, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger at the PR and marketing blog, Spin Sucks, is co-author of Marketing In the Round, and is co-host of Inside PR, a weekly podcast about communications and social media.
- Vince Galloro, Principal at Sunrise Health Communications. Vince brings a unique perspective to PR, having developed his expertise in the Healthcare industry as both a journalist and senior advisor at a communications firm with clients from that field. At Sunrise, Vince creates communications strategies for various healthcare-related institutions.
- Scott Baradell, Founder and CEO at Idea Grove. Scott is an evangelist of the idea of his “TRUST” approach to various aspects of business, including PR. He’s extremely active as a presenter, speaker and go-to source for commentary on all aspects of public relations.