How do you choose the right PR tools to get more media coverage? Read our simple guide below on how to choose the best PR tools to make the news.
So you have invested time writing a really strong press release with a great headline, or you might want to pitch a story to a select group of journalists. Your job now is to get your story out into the world and to do that you need to figure out what are the best PR tools to get the job done.
I’ve worked in PR for over 20 years and ever since I can remember I’ve been obsessed with PR tools to get the job done more efficiently. I can vividly remember my excitement when I installed fax software (ask your mom or dad!) on my PC that connected Microsoft Word directly to the fax.
I started MediaHQ when I bought a business that published a physical Media Directory as a spiral-bound book. I know – how quaint it seems now that a book was a PR tool was once fit for purpose. I quickly realised that in order for PR people to get their stories out to the media I needed to create PR Tools in online software and I created MediaHQ.
At MediaHQ we build PR Tools to help PR people get their press releases and pitch emails to the right journalists. We are the only complete PR software solution available. That means we’re the only solution that allows you to:
- Search for journalists.
- Build Media Lists
- Send through the software
- And analyse your results.
Other PR Tools do some of this, but none of them does all of it as an integrated system. Here are some pointers for how to choose the best PR Tool for you or your PR Team.
What is the size of the database and how up to date is it?
When you are picking a PR Tool the quality of the Media Contacts Databases is everything. The first question you need to ask is:
How many contacts are in the database?
The more contacts available the more opportunities you have to get your story out into the world. At MediaHQ we have the contacts details of over 55,000 journalists and media organisations listed. In my mind’s eye, I see it as a stadium full of people. The next question you need to ask is:
What is the accuracy rate is guaranteed on the Media Contacts database you choose?
This is a crucial question there is no point in having access to media contacts if the information is inaccurate or wrong. At MediaHQ we guarantee 96% accuracy in our contacts. Getting this correct is essential the more accurate the contacts the better results our users get. Be careful with this as some PR Tools in the market barely break 70% when it comes to contact accuracy.
How is the Media Contacts Database structured?
There are thousands and thousands of journalists and media outlets. When you are choosing PR Tools it’s important to know how the Media Contacts Database you are going to be working with is built. Here are some basic questions you should ask?
How is the information in the database structured?
Some databases are very poorly structured and trying to find what you want can be very difficult. At MediaHQ we organise the search results with the following structure:
- Individual journalist or media desk number.
- Programme – Radio/TV/Podcast.
- Newspaper Column
- Newspaper supplement.
- Special media lists on your search topic in our library.
The MediaHQ Search Tab
This structure allows you to search through the database and make sense of your results. Remember the Goldilocks Rule when building a Media List. You don’t want too many, or too few contacts. You want it just right.
Check out our video below on how to use the MediaHQ search below
What search filters does your PR Tool have?
Keyword search is great but you need to be able to filter through the results to make real sense of them. It can be like panning for gold, and you need the right tools. Some search results could bring back 2,000 results and you need to be able to share that into a workable media list. At MediaHQ we offer the following search filters:
- Audience Location
- Job Type
- Media Type
- Contact Type
- Search By – A special filter that allows you to isolate and search through just the :
- Job title
Check out our video below on how to use the MediaHQ search below:
Like what you see? Book a demo of MediaHQ below.
How easy and quickly can you build a media list?
A good PR tool will allow you to build a media list in seconds. Be careful because some software is simply horrible to use. At MediaHQ we believe that software should be intuitive and easy to use. The PR tool you pick should take the grunt work out of the job – not add to it. We have a design team whose job is to make sure that our PR Tools are a joy to use. Make sure before purchasing a solution that you are happy that it’s easy to use.
Watch our video on how to build a media list with MediaHQ below:
Does it have any additional search PR Tools to make your life easier?
When you choose a PR Tool make sure that you are happy with the search. It is a collection of thousands of pieces of information and you will spend your life looking through it. Google has conditioned us all to an easy search experience but be careful because there are some terrible tools with very clunky search interfaces. At MediaHQ we’ve built an enhanced search feature that comes at standard called Topic Search. It allows our team of expert researchers to put topic tags on journalists and you can just click on one of over 300 topics and find the journalist associated with them. It is a very easy way to identify and quantify the audience for a particular topic.
Does the PR Tool allow you to send the Press Release or Pitch?
Does the PR Tool you are considering allow you to send the release or does it expect you to find your own way to do this? At MediaHQ we offer an integrated Press Release distribution tool alongside our Media Contacts Database. I believe strongly that any PR Tool worth a fist full of salt needs this as standard. Be careful how you choose because downloading contacts from a database and uploading them to your own system is a very grey area when it comes to compliance with the GDPR regulations.
One of the reasons that we can offer 96% accuracy on our Media Contacts is that we offer this integrated press release distribution service. When an email isn’t working we see it through your live sends and we fix it. Make sure you are getting this service when you choose a PR Tool.
To make sure that your press release gets to the inbox of the journalists we authenticate your DNS settings. This means you can issue press releases through the MediaHQ platform from your own email address. Our IP addresses are trusted by media organisations all over the world and make it easier for you to distribute your releases safely and speedily.
Does your PR tool report results about how your press release send performed?
If the PR tool you choose doesn’t offer Press Release Distribution then it won’t offer this service. I think not offering Press Release Distribution on a PR Tool is like buying a BMW and getting it delivered in boxes to your front door. Sounds like madness, because it is. Great PR Tools have a reporting feature that gives you the result you need to judge success.
The MediaHQ Analytics Dashboard
The MediaHQ reporting tool has the following features:
- Which journalists opened your story.
- The number sent, the open rate, the click rate and the number bounced.
- How your story performed over one hour, three hours, and the total. If the first hour is poor then it seldom recovers.
- How your story performed hour by hour over the day.
- Compare your story with another sent to the same journalists.
See how MediaHQ does in-depth analytics in our video below:
What additional features does the PR tool have?
You should be always looking for additional features that make the job of getting your story to journalists easier. I lie awake at night trying to think of new features for MediaHQ users. Here are some that we offer:
It allows you to search through the last two weeks on Twitter for just the journalist’s tweets. You can pitch them directly, add them to a list, or tweet them. It’s a great way to give context to what you’re doing.
It’s a live LinkedIn style news feed that keeps you updated on all the journalist’s moves and the changes to your media lists. Now that’s service!
The MediaHQ Newsfeed
This is a list of all the days of note in a calendar format. It is full of hooks for pitching stories.
Is the PR Tool value for money?
For me when assessing value for money you need to do the following:
- Do a demo to fully assess the PR Tool. It’s only then that you can make a value judgement.
- Assess if it will make you faster at your work?
- Will it get you better results?
- Is the price a fair fee for better results and a faster way to operate? Then it’s worth it.
More than just a Press Release Distribution tool. MediaHQ helps you find journalists, build media lists, distribute press releases and analyse results.
Jack is a media innovator with over 20 years of experience at the most senior level in the Irish communications industry. He has worked in marketing, journalism, and media relations. He is a former political spokesperson and government advisor, as well as an award-winning corporate PR practitioner.