Is PR Behind the Technology Curve?

TOOLS

Innovations in technology continue to push industries forward, making what was impossible yesterday a commonplace activity today. Has technology done the same for PR? Answer me this: Do you send faxes? Clip out newspaper articles? Pick up the phone?  While these are extreme examples of how our industry has evolved through the use of technology – we’re faster, more transparent, communicating via myriad channels – there are others that you may not be taking advantage of. Here’s a snapshot of new tools that are evolving our industry, and upping our performance.

Starr Million Baker
Starr Million Baker

Media

We use a lot of media research tools. Cision is still part of our toolbox, of course, and if you are in tech PR, IT Database should be an essential part of your arsenal. A new tool that is changing the way we not only work with media, but, perhaps even more importantly work across our teams is Bullhorn. This media platform’s take is that while it’d be great for everyone to update every press list on a regular basis, that’s probably not going to happen. So how about we just mine our email instead? Integrating with Outlook, which we’re in virtually 24/7, means our media database is always up-to-date with the latest communication anyone on our team has had with the media. It’s changing our knowledge base, for the better.

Social

Of course you know about the many social media management platforms, like Radian6, Spredfast, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Infegy – but have you heard of Socialbakers? If you want to benchmark where you stand in the social media landscape against competitors and peer brands, this one’s for you.

Topsy is a helpful keyword search tool in the social media sphere. And don’t forget Hashtagify which will not only search and aggregate hashtags, but will analyze how users interact with them so you can optimize tweets for visibility.

Performance

PR is ripping a page out of marketing’s book and using tools like Google Analytics, Alexa, QuantCast and Compete to measure the impact of campaigns on clients’ web traffic (and ostensibly, their business).

Google Analytics is free, but to get the most out of its use you should check out Analytics Academy, a free online learning platform that offers comprehensive training in Google Analytics and data analysis. There are also videos here: Intro (101)Intermediate (201), and Advanced (301) courses or on the Official Google Analytics YouTube Channel which cover beginner to advanced topics.

Compete, QuantCast and Alexa all have free and paid versions that let you check out how your client is stacking up against the competition. And if you look at the tools just right, you can also glean what the competitors are doing that’s working for them.

So is there anything that can’t be automated with a piece of software? Yes. True media relations where you build relationships with reporters over time and not just for the sake of your current client takes a personal touch. While technology can help us move ahead quicker and easier, there is still no replacement for the human element in our industry. Cheers to that!

Want to check out even more tools? This comprehensive list from Kiip is truly impressive: http://blog.kiip.me/marketing/marketing-public-relations-pr-tools/

Starr Million Baker is CEO and co-founder of INK Public Relations. Follow INK: @INK_PR