The Internet offers countless tools claiming to help public relations pros connect with consumers, decision makers, press, and wire services. But which options are the best, how can you know which services won’t waste your time?
We’ve taken the liberty to review some of the best, so you can find the online PR tools and media tracking services that will work best for you.
Before we look at some of the more advanced pay services, let’s work through some of the best free services available online. You may find these work perfectly well for what your online PR programs.
- Google Alerts and Talkwalker alerts allow users to monitor the web for interesting new content. Well-constructed content will find its way to users who want it most.
- Google Analytics help you understand what your target market is looking for. Refine your content for better results.
- Hootsuite allows users to manage social networks, schedule posts and engage audiences. Best of all, you can measure your ROI right from the dashboard.
Of course, if you are a public relations professional, sooner or later the freebies won’t get the job done. Check out these pay services to find the one that will work best for you.
- Cision – comprehensive PR tools that facilitate outstanding data-driven decision-making.
- Meltwater – a suite of products designed for modern PR tracking as well as online and print monitoring, truly a “get the best of both” in a box, monitor countless conversations and mine them for immediate insights.
- IQ Media – real-time insights to drive and understand audience engagement. As a bonus, track your competitors in all forms of media – paid, earned, shared and owned.
- TV Eyes – outstanding broadcast monitor service keeps customers connected with “every U.S., DMA, national cable, and the most international stations.
Here are some questions to answer before you pay for anything.
- What do I want? Work backward from your needs to the features of the various services rather than choosing a service based on features and trying to match it to your needs.
- What are you trying to do? Are you trying to monitor, to engage, to create or to influence?
What is your priority? Understanding this helps you make the best choice of pay services.
- What’s my budget? Don’t price the services before you decide how much you can afford to pay. You’ll end up spending too much. You don’t need the best system. You need the best one you can afford.
HOT TIP: Once you have narrowed down a few different services, dig deeper by reading through case studies and product reviews. Cross-reference multiple studies and reviews. Look for specific commentary that matches your goals and priorities. Once you have narrowed your choices down to two or three, try each of them out. Conduct free demos if you can, and, if they offer it, contact a service rep to fully explain how to operate and implement all the features of the program or service. Don’t pick the wrong product because you missed key features.