How to choose the best PR tool? Read our simple guide below on how to choose the best PR tool for your communications strategy.
What is a PR tool?
A PR tool is one of the most important tools for media relations, used by communications professionals. It contains contact information for journalists and other media contacts, organisations, columns, supplements and programmes. As well as this, PR tools allow the user to send large amounts of press releases at one time, removing the limitations of other emailing software. It also allows users to create media lists, upload their own contacts and add images and attachments to press releases.
A PR tool can be a time saving and cost-effective way to improve your PR game and get better results. It is important, however, to lay the groundwork before investing in a media contacts database. It will not act as a miracle cure to a bad PR strategy, but rather work to complement an already good communications team. Having access to tens of thousands of media contacts will not instantly equate to good results and heavy media coverage. It can act as an aide to improve media coverage, but only when the rest of your PR strategy is in working order.
Read our definitive guide on how to write a press release for some tips.
Why do you need a PR tool?
As previously outlined, good copy and content are integral elements when it comes to the success of your PR. However, your copy could be extremely interesting and newsworthy, but if it doesn’t reach the right audience, that doesn’t matter. Using a PR tool can be the missing part of an otherwise great PR strategy. With a PR tool, you can search for journalists by topic, location, job title and many other factors, which allows you to distil your target audience into one list. You can create lists for campaigns or individual stories or use lists that have been created by the team behind the PR tool to target specific journalists each time.
A PR tool can help in building relationships with journalists, which in turn can play a vital role in whether or not your future stories make the news. Building strong media relations can contribute to strong branding, trust and an increase in brand awareness without the high cost of advertising.
With a PR tool, it is easy to find journalists who might have an interest in your story, rather than having to search the internet for names and email addresses. It is important when sending press releases to only target journalists who may have an interest in your story. Otherwise, you may end up on an opt-out or block list for flooding the inbox of a journalist who does not have the right audience for your piece. Knowing this, it is essential to research the journalists and organisations that you want to send your press release to before sending. A PR database can be useful in this process, as organisations are easily searchable and generally have profiles with some information on what they cover, when to pitch to them and the time and day of supplements and programmes.
What should you look for in a PR tool?
There are a few key elements that a PR tool should have. Here are some things to consider before investing in PR software:
Regularly updated with media movements
It is essential that a PR tool has the latest updates of movements within the industry. The PR tool that you choose should give regular updates on journalists who change or leave jobs. This makes it easier to update lists and ensure your deliverability stays high.
High deliverability rate
A high deliverability rate is a must when investing in a PR tool. Bouncing emails can severely hinder the PR process so it’s important when using a PR tool that you can trust it to deliver to as many contacts as possible. At MediaHQ, we guarantee a 97% deliverability rate for all of your press releases.
Easy to filter and search for journalists
Easily searchable contacts are an integral part of a PR database. The database that you invest in should have an easy way to search for contacts, like a search bar or a suggested topics search which makes it easy to filter through thousands of contacts and find viable journalists for your story.
Can you get a demo of the product first?
Make sure that you have seen the product and have a chance to test it out before investing. A PR tool can save you money in the long run but it is essential that you can use the system and have an idea of how it works before you invest. Ensure that you contact any potential databases for a demo before buying to make sure you are happy with the service.
Support and training
When investing in a PR tool, it is important to know that you will have support along the way with any queries or questions that you might have. It is also important to get training on the product before you start using it. Before buying a piece of software, ensure that there is a close working relationship between the company and their customers.
Benefits of using a PR tool
Here are some of the benefits of using a PR tool:
Using PR tool can be an excellent way of curating media lists as it gives you access to journalists’ contact information and allows you to filter them by topic. This cuts out the time that would otherwise be spent searching google for appropriate contacts and their email addresses. An effective press release should not need to be distributed to hundreds of journalists to get a good response. Doing careful research into your target audience is essential and narrowing down journalists by topic using a PR tool is a great way to do this. When you have a list of journalists in front of you who cover the topic of your story, you can check their profiles, see information about stories they have written before and verify if they are a viable contact to add to your list.
Up to date data
Instead of having to manually update your contact lists while trying to keep up to date with the constantly changing media landscape, a PR tool will have all of the latest media movements in one place. This will make it easier to keep lists updated and keep bounce levels as low as possible.
Analytics provide the key to measuring the effectiveness of your public relations campaigns by giving you insight into key figures that can help you to send out releases with intention. A PR tool can track the number of times a journalist has opened your release, click through rates for links included and the industry average in comparison to your release. This information can be useful in informing future campaigns and press releases.
Everything under the one roof
A PR tool combines the ability to search for and create lists of journalists’ contacts with the facility to upload and send press releases as well as track analytics, keep up with media movements and check a news diary for upcoming national days. Having all of these tools under one roof is a major benefit of using a PR tool as it saves time and money on using separate software for these functions individually.
How to choose a PR tool
Choosing a PR tool is a big ask as there are many high-quality databases available currently.
Shop around – When looking for the best PR tool, it is important to get demonstrations of a few different companies, which allows you to compare usability, size and customer engagement from the company.
Check the price – Pricing is an important factor to consider when looking into buying a PR tool Does it fit your budget and what package can you get for your budget? Ensure that you check different PR tools for their pricing before committing to one.
Get a demo – It is highly advisable to get a demonstration of a PR tool before investing in a month or year-long subscription. It is important to be taken through how the software works by a customer representative so that you know how it works and what exactly you will get when you invest.
See how MediaHQ Works below:
PR tool checklist
Here is a checklist of all of the things you need to consider before buying a PR tool:
Do you know the size of the PR tool you are looking for?
Do you know your budget?
Have you done a demo with different PR database companies?
Are you happy with the functionality and features of your chosen PR tool?
If you answered yes to these questions, you should be ready to choose the best PR database for your company.
Looking to send your own Press Releases? More than just a Press Release Distribution tool. MediaHQ helps you find journalists, build media lists, distribute press releases and analyse results. The Ultimate PR Tool for Press Teams. Book a Demo below.
More about Ciara Byrne
Ciara is a Research Executive at MediaHQ. Ciara has a degree in Media and English from DCU and has been working with MediaHQ since graduating in 2019.