Top PR Software in 2022
It wasn’t so many years ago that businesses operated in very compartmentalized departments, each responsible for a separate function. As businesses have streamlined and become more agile to compete in an increasingly crowded economy, these various silos have collapsed into more efficient business units with employees capable of fulfilling multiple roles. Public relations is an example of this streamlining in action, with many of the traditional public relations responsibilities and activities folded into the marketing department’s overall purview.
And like many of the business activities performed by the modern workforce, many public relations endeavors are tackled with the assistance of software solutions. In this article, we will go over why PR software solutions are vital to modern operations and how your marketing team should identify the type of software and what to look for in a solution. We’ll then provide an overview of 10 of the leading solutions in use by marketers today and wrap up with where you can find more support for your own marketing and PR needs.
Why Do You Need PR Software
Public relations strategies play a significant role in modern marketing campaigns, as client interactions and customer service have taken a leading role in establishing a competitive advantage in highly competitive markets. Public relations activities also play into other actions by the marketing department, such as effectively communicating with existing and potential customers new product launches, distributing branding or rebranding materials, targeting specific influencers and client persona, and controlling overall brand perception across digital channels. And as with many marketing activities, much of the public relations role in a firm can be tackled by the right software solution.
Follow along as we address:
- What Are the Different Types of PR Software?
- When Should You Purchase PR Software?
- Tips for Choosing the Best PR Software
- 10 Recommended PR Software Providers
Why Are the Different Types of PR Software?
Public relations touches on many elements throughout a marketing campaign, and therefore the software used by marketing specializing in public relations management must be just as diverse. While there are software solutions that are extremely specialized and fulfill very limited PR functions or support PR marketing specialists in very particular ways, you can find a fairly distinct pattern of functions in perusing the solutions on the market that allow us to categorize solutions in the following ways:
Media Monitoring solutions are focused on tracking and managing responses to mentions of a brand across social media, online review sites, and media outlets. This allows your marketing team to always keep on top of positive or negative impressions, as well as the same for competitors and other organizations relevant to your industry.
Public Relations Analytics Tracking
Public Relations Analytics help provide insight into the impact and effectiveness of your business’s marketing and public relations efforts by tracking site traffic data, engagement statistics, and other data points.
Public Relations Relationship Management Tools
PR-focused Customer Relationship Management tools act similarly for your PR staff as sales-focused systems do for your sales team. These software platforms help to establish, track, and maintain relationships with stakeholders, media figures, writers, and others with platforms that could be useful for helping to communicate brand messaging and engage with media campaigns beneficial to your organization.
Media and Influencer Targeting Solutions
The social media landscape on the Internet is wide and diverse, and it can be hard to navigate in order to network with just the right influencers or make connections with the perfect media outlets for your current marketing campaigns. Tools designed to scan the web and identify and connect with media journalists, influencers, targeted audiences, and informed leading industry voices are invaluable for expanding and maximizing the impact of your marketing campaign.
Press Release Distribution Software
You can accomplish similar results to a press release distribution tool with your own list of media contacts and a mass-mailing tool. However, press release distribution platforms are designed to maximize your reach and the impact of your messaging by ensuring your press releases are distributed to the right contacts and industry experts who can assure media coverage.
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When Should You Purchase PR Software?
From a marketing perspective, public relations are vital for the success of product rollouts and building new business. While your marketing campaigns might be doing everything they should be in terms of advertising and social media content management to support new initiatives, this isn’t necessarily enough for all brands. There are a number of scenarios that you might find your firm in that would indicate your need to enhance your marketing and outreach efforts with the infusion of new PR-focused software solutions.
- No media or press coverage of your product or brand beyond occasional mentions in discussions of your industry
- You don’t have a compelling story or engaging content to share with your audience or potential customers, or you’ve been telling the same stories and using the same content to engage with audiences
- The only messaging and engagement with media representatives from your brand originates from your leadership rather than in the form of structured and professional pitches from your well-trained marketing staff focused on PR efforts
- You’re struggling to expand into new markets or you find that your public reputation is poor and in need of improvement, or you’re in the process of building brand recognition and trust
Tips for Choosing the Best PR Software Solution
Like with other software platforms, you need to ensure that the PR software solutions you choose to implement are right for your brand. A number of considerations must be taken into account in narrowing down the scope of what you actually need in terms of a solution.
Budgetary considerations should be a primary consideration when choosing any software solution to integrate into your current technology stack.
- Do the perceived value and potential impact on your bottom line justify the investment?
- Are there more affordable tools with less functionality that provide the best solution to your needs?
- Or are you investing with future needs in mind in a solution that provides solutions you’ll definitely utilize in the future?
Compatibility with your existing technology stack should play a role in your choice.
- Does the platform allow you to integrate with the rest of your technology stack or will you need a customized solution for tying platform data together?
- Will the software integrate with the social media channels that are important to your marketing strategies?
Does the software provide a useful experience for your staff and for stakeholders?
- Is the user experience in line with your workflow and business needs?
- Does the platform allow your clients and readers to provide feedback via numerous channels?
- Is data gathering and analytics a primary focus of the tool to improve and enhance your PR efforts?
- Is there a robust user support system in place for the tool to help troubleshoot issues?
- Is security a focus of the software’s development team and are basic security measures at the user level in order to protect the data and experience of users?
Ten Recommended PR Software Providers
In this section, we’ll review ten of the leading PR software solutions on the marketplace in 2022. We’ve split solutions by those that require a demonstration and quote request for pricing and those that list pricing plans.
End to End PR Solutions That Require a Quote
The solutions listed below are grouped here because many are highly customizable and therefore, the service providers would rather build out a pricing plan of services that meet your specific needs, rather than have payment tiers that might include services you don’t use or need.
Founded via merger in 2014 between Cision AB, a Swedish media entity dating back to 1892, and a U.S.-based social engagement company named Vocus. Each company had previously worked aggressively via acquisition to expand its digital media management capabilities. Cision, now the core company, has become a full end-to-end media management solution, while subsidiaries—one of which appears in this list—continue to operate under their existing branding and expand the scope of the company’s influence in media marketing.
We included this software because it is often a top-ranking entry in online PR software listings, The Cision platform provides solutions for all categories we’ve listed as relevant for PR software to encompass in a single interface. The database of journalist and media contacts numbers over a million influencers, writers, editors, and other vital contacts.
Pricing: Because of the scope of applications and services on offer from Cision, the company provides pricing through an information request form and demo. This allows them to tailor your package to your needs.
Trial: No trial period is listed under the pricing model.
Meltwater was originally founded in 2001 by two men in a shipyard in Norway as an online media monitoring company. By 2008, the small operation had grown to have a physical presence on every populated continent around the world. Today, the Meltwater services platform ranges across the full spectrum of PR software functionality but is primarily known for media monitoring, content curation, and brand management through data-driven analytics.
This tool appears in the list because Meltwater is consistently ranked on search engine results as one of the highest-rated PR media management solutions for its flexibility and scope of services available. Meltwater has also received high ratings based on the quality of the services provided, the platform’s efficiency, and the responsiveness of the customer service team.
Pricing: The flexibility and scope of product options mean that Meltwater’s sales team prefers to provide demos and pricing quotes based on your individual needs. Requesting a demo and assessment is as easy as chatting with their chatbot interface that pops up moments after you arrive on the site.
Trial: No trial period is listed on the site.
Critical Mention was founded in 2002 in New York and is a media management services provider allowing corporate, government entities, and nonprofits to track earned media mentions across online channels.
Primarily a media tracking tool, the Critical Mention platform is on this list because it allows its clients to share footage and coverage of their brand and access the impact of media mentions. While no pricing is listed publicly without a request for a quote, ranked listings praise the platform’s account management and around-the-clock customer support access.
Pricing: The platform’s website mentions variable pricing tiers and scalable plans based on the scope of your business, but requires a request for a quote to establish a properly structured pricing plan.
Trial: No trial period is mentioned in the quote request landing pages.
The company began operating under the Innodata Inc. brand as far back as 1988, and through several acquisitions and mergers, but primarily with their merger with PR media intelligence firm MediaMiser in 2014, the firm became Agility PR Solutions. The firm provides a monitoring and analytics solution paired with an easy-to-navigate database of influencers, journalists, and online content creators. Combined, these tools track the impact of client media marketing efforts.
Agility was a great candidate for this list because the multifunctional platform gives clients an extremely broad reach through its global database, and the extremely detailed journalist listings allow users to create very targeted lists for distribution based on their needs.
Pricing: No pricing is listed without first requesting a quote, but the site does break down the various annual plans.
- Media Database & Outreach
- Media Monitoring
- Monitoring & Measuring Services
The company also offers one-time services that can enhance and extend your current media management strategy.
- Newswire Distribution
- One-time Media Outreach
- Ad-hoc Media Reports
Trial: Discuss any available trial options or free options, in addition to the amount of time they can be accessed.
Gregory Galant started Muck Rack in 2009 after a series of other attempts to find his place in the digital marketplace. The platform connects PR professionals to the appropriate press contacts for their clients, helps to customize pitches and messaging, and forms a collaborative platform for teams to work together in order to qualify the impact of their media management efforts.
Amongst the many features that helped put this platform on the list, Muck Rack offers great value and tools not only for PR managers but also for journalists, who can build a personalized portfolio of their work that updates automatically based on their published work found online.
Pricing: The platform invites visitors to request a pricing quote based on the scope of the business needs.
Trial: No trial is listed on the website.
Specialized Solutions With Pricing Plans
These solutions are more honed in on one of the primary roles of PR software plays in your business technology stack, and as they are more specialized, they come with well-defined pricing plans.
The HARO tool started in a very unique way through social media. It was started as a Facebook group in 2008 by Peter Shankman and later evolved into a media figure-focused mailing list that reporters can access to quickly gather input on topics they pose to targeted segments of the HARO community. The platform was recently folded into Cision’s suite of subsidiaries.
HARO is an important tool on this list because few media marketing software tools provide such a direct connection between informed sources and influencers and the content creators that need their input. For an extremely affordable rate, content creators can access a near limitless resource of informed input on any number of topics.
Pricing: In addition to a free tier, there are three paid levels of service available through HARO.
- Standard – $19/mo for a single profile and single-keyword searches through available opportunities.
- Advanced – $49/mo for multiple profiles and more complex searches.
- Premium – $149/mo for unlimited profiles and keywords used to search for opportunities to contribute expertise towards journalists seeking sources.
Trial: No trial periods are offered.
Prezly is a European-based media relations platform founded in 2010. The platform combines a solid CRM database with an email campaign management tool to ensure messaging is targeted and distributed properly.
While the platform has the standard messaging and distribution tools as well as analytics for the PR management software category, Prezly made this list and helps it stand out from the competition because its versatile content management system allows users to create branded customized content which can then be shared through the distribution platform and tracked for impact.
Pricing: There are four pricing tiers for users to choose from listed at a 20% discount for annual plans.
- Starter – $50 per user/mo basic access for a single user.
- Core – $90 per user/mo for a powerful workflow solution.
- Premium – $140 per user/mo for large scale corporate entities and PR agencies
- Enterprise – Tailored and customized pricing by quote only.
Trial: A generous 14-day trial with all Premium features including the Newsrooms, CRM, and campaigns.
CoverageBook was founded by Gary Preston in the United Kingdom in 2014. This platform is primarily a tool for collecting and tracking analytics on earned media mentions. Users have a centralized dashboard that tracks total views and shares. According to Julie Wright, President and Founder of (W)right On Communications, Inc., CoverageBook’s social engagement metric serves as an excellent proxy for measuring an audience’s interest in media coverage.
Aside from the amazing trial period, CoverageBook is a leading tool that deserves to be on this list because it allows users to aggregate links and then automatically collects the necessary and relevant metrics to determine the effectiveness of the articles.
Pricing: There are four pricing tiers for CoverageBook; we’re providing the monthly rates, but annual plans provide a rate equivalent to one free month included.
- Bronze – $99/mo allows 5 users and a limited number of clips a month.
- Bronze Plus – $149/mo increases the number of clips per month but maintains the user count at 5.
- Silver – $199/mo is an unlimited user option for larger agencies and organizations but still limits clips to 300 per month.
- Gold – $499/mo increases the number of clips across the board and maintains an unlimited number of users.
Trial: An extremely generous 30-day trial is available to test out the platform, after which you can still access your old data, but not create any new reports.
Covered Press is a new player in the PR software landscape, having been founded in 2020 by Cole McKeon in Orange County, California. The platform provides a single interface for tracking, reporting, and analytics.
We’ve included Covered Press because the company has a very clear business model and a solid white-label CMS and reporting system that allows PR specialists to brand analytics for clients.
Pricing: We’re listing the four tiers available to clients at their undiscounted monthly rates; annual rates provide a discount equivalent to the cost of one free month.
- Boutique Agency Starter – $99/mo for small teams of 2 and limited clients.
- Boutique Agency – $199/mo for a team of 3 and up to 15 clients with additional perks.
- Agency – $349/mo boosts the team to 5 and clients to 25.
- Agency Plus – $699/mo scales the team to 10 and a total of 50 clients
Trial: No trial is offered, but the company offers up that their plans are month-to-month as a trade-off.
Originally co-founded by Joanna Drabent and Sebastian Przyborowski in Poland in 2013, Prowly is now part of the SEMrush Inc. collection of software solutions. Prowly combines a contact management interface with the ability to distribute content directly to the right contacts for your campaign.
Unlike other listings on this list, multiple rankings that include Prowly call the software platform out for the ability to test it out for a trial run and the flexible, no-commitment month-to-month plans versus the discounts of an annual account.
Pricing: Prowly offers three service tiers.
- Essential – Annual billing rate at $189/mo or $269 month-to-month. Targeted at small businesses and freelancers.
- Professional – Annual billing rate at $259/mo or $369 month-to-month. Targeted at agencies and teams.
- Enterprise – Custom pricing for large firms and complex brand needs.
Trial: 7-day trial for the plan that fits your needs best.
Get the Right PR Management Software To Get the Word Out
Public relations management is a crucial component of an effective marketing strategy. It’s important that you not only have the tools to distribute content on the right channels to the right audience but that you can track the analytics showing the impact of that content relative to your overall goals. Our list has provided a starting point, but there are many other solutions, broad and specialized, on the market that can help you address any public relations gap in your marketing technology stack and at a cost that will fit your budget. To learn more about the role of public relations in marketing, or to discover new B2B service providers ready to partner with clients in need, check out the UpCity marketplace and improve your communications game.