In today’s fast-paced and digitally driven world, it’s difficult to effectively track and measure PR campaigns and strategies to prove your value. Pairing your PR workflow with the right PR tech stack can help here and significantly enhance the efficiency, productivity, and overall effectiveness of your PR campaigns. But it’s an extra challenge to find the best PR software to suit your needs. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the importance of a robust PR workflow and how you can best capitalise on it with 11 top PR tools that will boost your activities, drive tangible results, and provide proof of value.
Understanding the PR Workflow
A strong PR workflow serves as the backbone of successful PR campaigns. It encompasses various stages, from planning and research to execution, measurement, and analysis. Here’s a breakdown of each stage and its significance:
Planning and Strategy
Effective PR campaigns start with a well-defined strategy aligned with organisational goals and target audiences. This stage involves setting objectives, identifying key messages, defining target media outlets, establishing a timeline for implementation, and much, much more.
Through in-depth and strategic planning, you can run your most successful PR campaigns. For this reason, it’s important that you make strategic planning a priority and leverage the right tools in your tech stack to help organise and simplify processes.
Research and Targeting
Thorough research will help you identify media outlets, journalists, influencers, and stakeholders relevant to campaigns. Understanding their interests, preferences, and communication styles facilitates targeted outreach, increases the chances of media coverage, and helps create beneficial connections.
Content Creation and Distribution
Compelling content is the core of successful PR campaigns. You should create engaging press releases, articles, blog posts, and social media content aligned with your target audiences. The content should be distributed through relevant channels, including media pitching, social media platforms, and email newsletters. There are numerous opportunities to streamline this stage with automated PR tools that we’ll discuss below.
Media Relations and Outreach
Building strong and lasting relationships with journalists, influencers, and media outlets is vital for successful PR. This stage involves personalised outreach, media pitching, press release distribution, and collaboration to secure media coverage and amplify the brand’s message. Similar to distribution, we’ll share all the opportunities you can leverage with a PR tool to streamline this stage.
Monitoring and Measurement
To ensure success with your comms and PR campaigns, you need to track earned media coverage, social media engagement, and sentiment to gauge campaign performance. Monitoring tools enable you to collect data, measure key performance indicators (KPIs), and analyse the impact of your PR activities.
Without being able to effectively measure and track the success of these activities, you can’t demonstrate the value you’re bringing to an organisation and may face the risk of being undervalued. You can overcome the challenges of measurement by leveraging the appropriate PR tools described below to capture meaningful insights that showcase the impact on brand reputation, stakeholder engagement, and overall organisational success.
11 necessary PR tools to boost your activity
To support a strong PR workflow you need to leverage technology effectively. Here’s a list of the 11 most important tools you need in your PR tech stack and the ways they can boost your PR activity and provide the info you need for proof of value.
1.Media Database and Contact Management:
Media databases are valuable resources that provide access to comprehensive databases of journalists, influencers, and media outlets. These databases serve as effective tools for contact management, interaction tracking, and streamlined outreach efforts.
The most ideal media contacts database that you can leverage is one that is regularly updated and equipped with user-friendly search and filter features. This helps you engage with the journalists and media contacts that are most relevant to you. With engagement efforts that are targeted and focused, you increase the likelihood of successful interactions and collaborations within the media industry. So you can be confident your efforts are worthwhile.
To gain better opportunities for building strong relationships with journalists, influencers, and media contacts who are relevant to your goals, it is crucial to adopt a strategised approach to relationship management.
To start, you need centralised contact information. On top of that, a system that enables you to track interactions and monitor real-time metrics on engagement activity. With this info, you gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your outreach efforts, so you can easily tell what’s working and what isn’t.
A PR and comms tool can provide you with a 360-degree view of your media relationships and a deeper understanding of comms that allows for better analysis.
This strategic and informed approach to relationship management will ultimately optimise your engagement strategies and foster mutually beneficial collaborations with your media contacts. By building and maintaining strong comms, you benefit your future self as well, with increased chances of more collaborations.
Efficient campaign planning allows for better coordination and improved communication for increased productivity, better outcomes, and more impactful PR activity overall. With the right tools in place, you can optimise your campaign management with foresight into the media that will shape tomorrow’s news. You can strategically plan campaigns, align messaging with upcoming events, and secure media coverage in advance to stay ahead of industry trends.
By leveraging a PR and comms tool you’ll land campaigns with maximum impact while avoiding risks such as upcoming engagements possibly aligning with events that will distract from your comms activity.
4.Content and Distribution Management
Effective PR relies on consistent messaging and outreach across different channels and platforms. An efficient CRM enables you to easily manage your content workflow across various channels, from one single platform. Saving you time and effort.
You can save additional time with the ability to store responses and interactions with the media. Enabling you to respond quickly and consistently.
Looking to improve audience engagement in your comms? An effective PR and comms tool, such as our Media Response Desk, will give you access to real-time metrics on media relations activity which will help craft high-impact and audience-specific communications for targeted messaging.
Crisis management capabilities are critical to have in a PR tech stack so you can effectively navigate and mitigate reputational crises. Having tools for efficient crisis management enables you to monitor and track online conversations, sentiment, and news coverage in real-time so you can swiftly detect and assess a potential crisis.
Especially when swift reaction time is vital, you need the ability to develop proactive communication strategies and respond promptly to address concerns.
Our insights and consultancy services work to help organisations analyse their media environment to identify potential reputational risks and competitor activity.
On top of that, a PR and comms tool like the one we share under ‘Content and Distribution Management’ will let you store statements so you can easily respond to the media quickly and consistently. This way you can promptly address a negative situation and prevent it from escalating further to help safeguard your reputation, maintain stakeholder trust, and mitigate potential brand damage.
Media monitoring and analytics tools enable PR professionals to track media coverage, measure the impact of PR campaigns, and analyse the sentiment surrounding their brand. These insights help assess strategies’ effectiveness, identify improvement areas, and showcase the value of PR efforts to stakeholders.
With a media monitoring tool that recognises the news that’s most important and relevant to you as it lands, you can be confident you’re always informed.
7.Social Media Listening
Similar to media monitoring, social media listening is crucial to monitor your brand across socials. It provides you with a complete view of all social media platforms, from LinkedIn to TikTok, so you can monitor social media conversations, mentions, and engagements. This helps you in a multitude of ways including to:
- gain a comprehensive understanding of public sentiment
- stay informed and on top of any potential reputation risks
- make more informed decisions for impactful communications
- and swiftly address customer concerns
A powerful social listening tool will leverage advanced AI technology to collect real-time insights based on your criteria through smart tagging, sentiment analysis, and visual listening. Tools with these capabilities will keep you agile and proactive in the PR and comms space with an ability to analyse sentiment, detect trends, and discover opportunities and risks that are beginning to bubble up before they gain a large amount of attention.
Our recently published case study shares how Hart Inc’s Communications teams leveraged our social listening tool to monitor brand reputation, consumer sentiments, and key inﬂuencers while identifying challenges, potential crisis risks, and opportunities. Download the case study here.
8.Collaboration and Workflow Management
Optimised collaboration in a project management tool is essential for PR activities as they streamline workflow processes, facilitate efficient task management, and enhance team collaboration. These tools provide a centralised platform for you and your team to track project timelines, allocate resources effectively, and ensure smooth coordination among all team members.
For this reason, you’ll want to use PR and comms tools that are built with team collaboration in mind for enhanced productivity. With seamless collaboration, you and your team can improve your project management and the overall performance of your PR workflow so you can:
- Confidently set and meet deadlines
- Avoid potential clashes of resources and activities
- Identify cross-team collaboration opportunities
- Share calendar activities including comms, events, and campaigns across teams
To run effective campaigns, make strategic decisions, and craft external comms that hit the mark and produce results, you need data-driven insights. For this, rely on analytics and monitoring capabilities.
As explored above, a PR and comms tool will provide real-time, valuable data and insights into important factors such as media coverage and activity performance. On top of this, PR analytics tools can help make predictions and identify emerging trends by extracting and filtering through data to uncover themes and concepts such as public sentiment.
This gives you the info you need to make fully informed decisions, refine strategies to perfection, and plan impactful comms and campaigns to help you reach your goals. And you’ll have the data to prove it.
10.Measuring KPIs and ROI
This then takes us into measuring KPIs and ROI; the final and crucial stage in your PR workflow. By tracking KPIs and ROI, you can ensure your activities are producing valuable results that align with your organisation’s goals. In addition to that, you can measure the effectiveness and value of your tech stack itself. Effective PR measurement should provide you with info that demonstrates a clear proof of value.
Media measurement tools equip professionals with the ability to track KPIs to measure the impact of PR activities. With this info, you can refine your strategies and share proof of value with your team and any stakeholders. These insights ultimately give you the ability to track what works best for your organisation so you can fine-tune activities and drive the most successful PR campaigns possible.
11.Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity
From finding the right journalists for your press releases to writing external comms, you can save an incredible amount of time and effort with all the functionalities and tools listed above. When selecting tools to improve your PR workflow, it’s important to leverage ones that are built with optimised efficiency in mind. They should ultimately be working to make your life easier.
The tools and functionalities mentioned above all work to streamline workflows, automate entire processes, and eliminate manual repetitive tasks. Leveraging them is a huge opportunity to improve the productivity of your team from planning and strategising, all the way through to monitoring and measurement.
You’ll be able to focus on strategic planning and relationship building, resulting in higher productivity and more memorable, impactful campaigns.