Work smarter with PR software technology

Confession: after 15 years in PR I’m a master of the workaround. From building media lists to reporting results I have found ways to deliver regardless of limitations. I’d guess many of you have a similar story. Over the years there have been numerous advancements to PR software technology; improvements that improve results, save time and eliminate workarounds.

Keep Up With PR Software Advancements

Everyone I know takes the occasional step back from their career and day-to-day work to evaluate how well things are going; it’s an important exercise that keeps productivity up and helps you recognize where adjustments can be made.  I did this recently when I started a new job with Meltwater and learned a few things that made me adjust my own habits.

Over the years I have led strategic PR campaigns and corporate communications efforts for leading brands (if you’re interested in the details, have a look at my LinkedIn profile) with teams of people ranging from one (me) to ten, both with agencies in the mix and without. These teams included some of the best and brightest in the business, all with one thing in common: they moved so fast they often forgot to look up from their day-to-day work to learn new approaches, most of which have been enabled by technology able to improve their effectiveness and efficiency.

With that, I offer four tips for improved results and efficiency through PR software.

PR Software Tip #1 – Set Up Powerful Automated Online Media Monitoring  

When was the last time you used an Internet news search engine to find recent coverage of your brand rather than checking your PR software’s monitoring tool first? Using a search engine rather than trusting the PR software you’ve invested in to do the job doesn’t make sense and is a clear illustration of a workaround.  A good monitoring service will track your brand in real time and deliver the results you need to stay on top of recent news and industry trends. The best ones are as powerful as the search engines many use, and if used properly, they’re smarter – they can be set to deliver exactly the results you want, nearly instantly, and reliably, saving you time, informing your PR campaign strategy and eliminating a workaround.

PR Software Tip #2 – Keep Industry Analysis Stats in Your Back Pocket 

How many times has your boss asked you what the competition is doing? Did you have a go-to process to deliver industry analysis nearly instantly? If not, you probably spent the next hour searching online for information about your competitor’s recent activities. This is an unnecessary workaround easily fixed with PR software.  News media and social media monitoring tools offer the fastest and most foolproof ways to learn what the competition is talking about, how they’re being perceived and how much traction they’re receiving compared to your own brand. Having this information in your back pocket not only saves time, it puts you in command of valuable information – bosses love that! Good PR software allows you to monitor key competitors and industry trends at all times, enabling you to access information on the fly.

PR Software Tip #3 – Pinpoint the Right Journalists and Encourage Conversation

Let’s face it; the media landscape has changed. Editorial staff size is shrinking and the days of a reporter covering only one beat are long gone. We all have our own version of a Rolodex and we likely have a media database to use, but is it leading us to the right contacts? When we search online to learn about journalists and bypass our contact database we are using a workaround to get the job done. Generally what we’re doing is looking for a journalist who is actively interested in what our PR campaign is pitching; after all, the best indication of future interest is past interest. The best media contact databases should do this for you – identify journalists based on what they’ve written rather than their topline category or beat. Pinpointing the right journalists will shorten your list to those who are most relevant and save you from useless outreach to those who aren’t interested. Best of all, by finding the perfect journalist you can personalize your pitches and encourage a conversation, leading to better relationships and better press hits.

PR Software Tip #4 – Set Up Your Campaign to Measure Results Efficiently

If you’re like me, the last thing you want to do is spend all of your time preparing ROI reports. Time and time again, I’ve seen teams ignore measurement until the end of a PR campaign and then scramble to search monitoring reports manually to measure coverage and metrics, resulting in mediocre media analysis. Reporting should not be an afterthought; this is a workaround resulting from poor planning. If you go into your PR campaign with clear goals you should be able to configure your PR software to search and deliver results for the specific campaign. Once the campaign is complete you’ll be able to run media analysis that you’ve already set up and distribute reports as needed. The more you allow your PR software to do the heavy lifting for you, the less you’ll need to do manually.

All of these tips have a common theme: technology. Technology can be your friend and work for you; the trick is to make sure you’re using the right PR software technology to deliver the results you need.

PR Software Deep Dive

During the coming weeks I’ll be writing a four-part blog series exploring how PR software technology has the ability to improve media monitoring, PR campaign strategy, media relations and PR campaign measurement. If you’re interested in participating, have thoughts on what you’ve read, want to tell me that this is a pointless exercise and your team is operating perfectly and you’re already using the best PR technology, drop me a line at marc.cowlin@www.meltwater.com. Regardless, I hope you’ll stay with me, submit questions, and challenge me and our whole community of PR professionals to find the best approaches to the smartest PR we can deliver – be part of the conversation!