4 GDPR Challenges Facing PR Firms

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As a PR professional, you have likely heard of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is the EU’s regulation for protection of personal data of EU residents. GDPR is a comprehensive set of laws passed in May, 2018 that affect EU businesses but also businesses outside of the EU that “control” or “process” EU residents’ data.  

If you are a PR firm based in the US that pitches reporters or influencers in the UK, France, Germany or anywhere else in the EU –  GDPR applies to you. This is because pitching a reporter, and even possessing her personal data (such as email, phone, etc.), fall under the categories of “control and processing.”

Even if your pitches to EU-based reporters are infrequent, you avoid “spray and pray,” and you target reporters smartly, GDPR compliance is required.

Since the GDPR text is 261 pages long – with 11 chapters, 99 articles and 173 recitals – we have decided to break down for you some of the essential requirements and challenges affecting PR agencies. Let’s assume that John is a reporter at Travel Today Magazine.

Tracking why you have the right to pitch each journalist

According to GDPR, you need to have a legal reason to pitch each reporter, and you need to keep track of what the reason is for each reporter. Some of these include “consent,” which means John opted in (he has told you before that he would like to receive pitches from you), or “legitimate interests” (e.g. John writes about travel and/or Travel Today Magazine focuses on travel, and you are pitching him a travel-related story).

How Propel addresses it: whenever you upload a media list or enter a contact manually into Propel, you are asked what legal basis you have to pitch this/these reporter(s). There is also a multi-select drop-down on each reporter’s profile page in Propel, so that you can keep track, and if needed modify, in one central location.

Giving reporters the ability to “opt out” of receiving pitches

You are required to give journalists the ability to opt out of receiving pitches in the future. As it says in Article 7, “the data subject shall have the right to withdraw his or her consent at any time.” This can be tricky for PR agencies, which may have dozens or even hundreds of media lists where John and his contact info exists. If John is on all of these different lists across teams and offices, how can you be sure that everyone will know not to pitch him? Having a centralized PR CRM, where all of your contacts live in a single database, is critical to being able to track and control opt-outs.

How Propel addresses it: using Propel, you have the option to provide reporters with a link at the bottom of each pitch that says “I don’t want to receive pitches.” If the reporter clicks on it, he can decide to opt out of all pitches related to that client, all pitches related to that topic/beat, or all pitches from the agency overall.  Once a reporter opts out, it will freeze them out of the appropriate media list(s) in Propel so your team members won’t accidentally pitch them. Also, if reporter John opts out of all firm pitches, and your team member Sarah does a one off pitch to John using Gmail or Outlook, Sarah will receive a pop up warning her that John has opted out of all firm pitches and she should not continue.

Providing a reporter with an export of his personal data that you have

If John asks to see what personal data you have about him, you must provide him with a copy. If contact info or other personal data about John is inconsistent between media lists across your firm, because you have a new travel media list that is accurate and an old travel media list that isn’t, you would have to mine through all of these media lists to make sure you share with John all of the personal data you have on him.

How Propel addresses it: in Propel, you have a central profile page for each reporter, which means data for him is uniform across all media lists. If you receive a new email address or phone number, it is updated in the reporter’s central profile  – and from there gets updated automatically in every media list. As such, you have one consistent copy of personal data for each reporter and are able to easily access and share it in a machine-readable format, through export or screen capture.

Modifying or deleting a journalist’s personal data across all media lists

If John requests that you modify his phone number, email or any other piece of personal data, you must modify it across your whole firm. Similarly, if he requests that you delete his data, you must do a GDPR-compliant permanent delete of all of his personal data.

How Propel addresses it: since each reporter’s data is centralized within their profile page in Propel, you can easily modify any information on him, which will automatically be updated in all media lists. You can also do a GDPR-compliant permanent delete of his data across your entire firm.

New Propel Research Shows the Best Days and Times to Pitch Reporters

PRESS RELEASE

Journalists Half As Likely to Respond to PR Pitches Sent Thursday or Friday

Research from Propel reveals 12-1 PM is best time to pitch reporters

Tel Aviv, Israel – Propel, the PR productivity platform, has released research that shows reporters are 90 percent more likely to open a PR pitch sent between 12-1 PM rather than 9-10 AM. The second most effective hour to pitch is 6-7 PM, when pitches are 40 percent more likely to be opened than those sent between 9-10 AM. The findings shatter a common misconception that pitching reporters first thing in the morning is a best practice.

Pitches sent Monday through Wednesday are almost double as likely to get a response than those sent on Thursday or Friday. Interestingly, Thursday is the second most active pitching day of the week (25 percent of the week’s pitches), despite reporters’ low engagement with Thursday pitches.

 
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The Propel study additionally reveals that 54 percent of email pitches are not opened at all. For pitches that are opened by journalists, more than half are opened within the first hour of receipt, and 80 percent are opened at some point the same day. After the first day, without following-up, the odds of a pitch being opened plummet to less than one in 10.

“The data is clear. PR professionals should adjust their pitching habits and send more pitches on Tuesday and Wednesday, and less on Thursday and Friday. Pitches are 50 percent more likely to get opened, and 100 percent more likely to be responded to, if sent Tuesday or Wednesday!” said Propel co-founder and CEO Zach Cutler. “Following the data and pitching during the most engaged days and times can significantly increase effectiveness of media relations efforts.”

Below is a breakdown of the daily open rate of pitches sent:

  • Monday: 43 percent of pitches sent are opened

  • Tuesday: 62 percent of pitches sent are opened

  • Wednesday: 59 percent of pitches sent are opened

  • Thursday: 39 percent of pitches sent are opened

  • Friday: 35 percent of pitches sent are opened

 
This graph shows how long it takes reporters to open pitches.

This graph shows how long it takes reporters to open pitches.

 

The Propel pitching effectiveness study is based on 2,150 unique PR pitches emailed to reporters in 2019 across dozens of users from a variety of PR agencies.



Why PR Productivity Tools are the New Must-Have for PR Agencies

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PR agencies have a very bright future to look forward to. The sector is growing at breakneck speed, and will be worth $20 billion by 2020. The importance of communications and media is growing continuously. In terms of public relations - the mediums, methods, and opportunities are at a level we’ve never seen before.

And yet with all these changes, the earned media sector, which usually comprises at least 50% of a PR agency‘s efforts, hasn’t innovated at nearly the rate of owned media and paid media.

A Historical Look at Innovation

Thousands of platforms, from giants like Google to an abundance of startups, comprehensively address the needs of the paid and owned media industries. Marketing and advertising have become such data-driven and technology optimized disciplines that they are hardly recognizable from what they were a decade ago.

The earned media sector, on the other hand, has largely not changed in the last five decades. The legacy database offerings serving PR agencies haven’t undergone the same sea-change of innovation that their brethren in the paid and owned media sectors have--though that is starting to change.

More surprisingly, nine out of 10 agencies I speak to don’t use a CRM to manage their thousands upon thousands of reporter contacts and hundreds of media lists. Rather, all of this lives within Excel or Google Sheets for the vast majority of agencies today.

A Tremendous Opportunity For the Future

Strikingly, though, most agencies do use a CRM to manage their business development efforts - even though the volume of new business leads can’t compare to the number of influencers being handled.

Imagine a digital ad firm not using analytics to understand which ads are performing best. Or imagine a content studio lacking tools such as Hootsuite or Contently - which significantly streamline their workflow and help them accomplish more and understand what’s resonating.

The good news for PR agencies is that a new product category that can materially improve their workflow and results has emerged: PR productivity technology.

PR productivity technology is set to transform the industry, much like the effect Salesforce, Marketo and Hubspot had on the marketing and sales industries a decade ago.

The Benefits of PR Productivity Tools

PR productivity tools enable agencies to manage all of their contacts and workflows smartly, under one roof, while giving invaluable insights and data points into what’s working and where to hone in efforts.

Imagine having the ability to see the firm-wide correspondence with a single reporter or outlet.  Having that knowledge is priceless in helping firms manage each reporter relationship in a more strategic way.

What if PR teams could have the open, response and publishing rate - at the individual level, the firm aggregate, and the global average - for every journalist? PR productivity technology puts this powerful benchmark in the hands of PR firms to understand how their pitching scores up against the wider averages, and whether a strategy shift or tweaking is necessary.

Think about the benefits of having practical pitching tools like mail merge, templates, and scheduled follow-ups right within Gmail and Outlook that enable you to email reporters in less time, while still personalizing and customizing each message to the same degree.

Visualize a kanban board where you can see the real-time status of every media opportunity in your pipeline, and the ability to know who opened your email and when.

How nice would it be to create an activity report 10X faster? Or have real-time reports that show you pitching volume and effectiveness across every campaign, account and team member?

All of these benefits are available to PR agencies today through PR productivity tools. The best part is that all of these small efficiency improvements together can lead to significant uptick in earned media results, client satisfaction/retention, and profitability of PR agencies.

To learn more about Propel, the leading PR productivity platform, click here to schedule a demo.

Here’s How Your PR Agency Can Increase Its Profitability

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Great PR firms set themselves aside from mediocre ones through one key financial metric: profitability. High profitability means things are running well - clients are happy, employees are performing, retention is strong and the ratio of staff expenses to fee income is healthy.

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PR firms with 10-15% profitability are doing okay. Those with 20% profitability are very healthy. And the fortunate few who make it to 25% or higher profitability are killing it. For such firms, each dollar the firm collects in fees can be broken down by 50 cents going towards labor, 25 cents going towards overhead, and the remaining 25 cents being profit.

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Firms with this level of profitability do so well because they can invest significant money back in the business to grow, improve technology, roll out new services, expand geographies, and hire the best talent. This investment reinforces their advantage and the cycle continues, allowing the firm to further set itself apart from competition and strengthen its core.

I sold my firm, Cutler PR, one year ago and so I am quite familiar with the immense importance of profitability in PR agency M&A discussions.

Firms with 25% or higher profitability are much more likely to get acquired for healthy sums of money. For example, if an agency has 25% profit margin, their value to acquirers will likely be 1.25X annual revenue or 5X EBITDA.

So, for all of these reasons, and more, increasing profitability of your PR agency is probably the most important thing you can do as a senior executive or owner of the firm. There are few things, though, that agencies can actually do to increase their profitability. One important measure that can be taken is investing in tools and technology that improve productivity.

Earned Media Productivity Tools Are a New Must-Have

A majority of PR firms find that the most unpredictable and challenging service they offer is media relations. It is therefore particularly in this area -  earned media - that new and innovative technologies can help firms make a significant difference in their profitability.

Earned media productivity technologies allow firms to increase their client load by 10-15% without hiring additional resources. And that doesn’t mean burning out your existing team members! Because we all know that is not worth it. Rather, the increase in client load without hiring more people is possible due to the automation, workflow management and efficiency that these technologies bring to teams and individuals. You can simply accomplish more in less time and with less hands on board.

Because 50 cents of every revenue dollar goes towards labor costs for most firms, being able to increase client load by 10-15% means increasing annual profit margin of your media relations revenue center by 5-7.5%. If your media relations revenue center is currently generating 10 cents per dollar, this means an earned media productivity platform can help you half again or nearly double your profit margin to 15-17.5 cents per dollar.

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If your media relations revenue center is generating 20 cents profit per dollar, you can increase that by 5-7.5 cents per dollar, thereby reaching 25-27.5 cents per dollar. That means an increase of a quarter to over a third in your profit margin, simply by adopting earned media productivity technology.

This means that if your firm has a 20% profit margin and $5 million in annual fee income for media relations services, earned media productivity technology can help you generate anywhere from $250,000-375,000 in additional profit per year due to increasing account load by 10-15% without having to hire additional staff.

Earned media productivity tools additionally help firms increase client retention by 2-4% annually, which boosts profitability further. If your firm has 50 clients, a 2% increase in client retention means holding onto an additional client per year that would have otherwise been lost to attrition. Likewise, a 4% increase in client retention means holding onto an additional two clients per year. If your average monthly retainer is $15,000, this means $180,000-360,000 in additional revenue per year due to increased retention.

When combining impact from account load increase and client retention increase, a $5 million revenue firm can collectively generate an additional $430,000-735,000 in profit annually.

To sum up, adopting and earned media productivity tool can help your agency increase profitability by 25-75% per year. These increases in profit can be a total game changer and take a firm from mediocrity to excellence.

Investing in any technology has some upfront education and learning curve. The payoff, though is remarkable.

To learn more about Propel, the earned media productivity platform, and how it can transform your firm’s profitability, please schedule a demo by clicking here..


It’s Time for PR to Join the Data Revolution

The public relations industry has come a long way toward being more accountable, efficient, and productive. As someone who has worked in the PR industry for over a decade, I’m very proud of the progress that has been made so far. In the past years, various tools, methodologies, and best practices have been developed by people who were passionately dedicated to the craft. And yet, it is my belief that we could be doing more.

I believe that all industries, PR included, must innovate. Today, we must utilize big data and the technology at our disposal to deliver maximum value to our clients if we wish to remain relevant over the next hundred years.

Unlike advertising which has been disrupted by digital technology with the advent of Google AdWords, Facebook advertisements, martech platforms, and more, PR has always been relatively soft when it comes to technology adoption and the ability to gain insights and optimize efforts based on data.

The power of data has transformed nearly every industry on earth, making businesses more efficient, productive, and better able to serve their customers.

The PR Process

The outcomes of PR campaigns may be hard to track (although not totally impossible), but the processes of PR are not. As PR pros, I believe we have a responsibility to ourselves and to our clients to know if our workflow, methods, resources, and employees are operating at peak efficiency.

PR teams that are serious about becoming more data-driven should be measuring the following:

  • Agency Performance

  • Account Performance

  • Pitch Performance

  • Employee Performance

If the above seems frustratingly vague I understand. Rest assured, comprehensive data analytics and management tools like Propel, a CRM designed specifically for PR firms, turn that vagueness into measurable goals, metrics and KPIs. More importantly, these platforms can give you the data and insights you need to make better decisions and ultimately become a more capable and responsible PR professional.

Steps toward becoming data-driven:

There are many areas of PR where it would help to know the data, but the first place where you’d probably want to apply data-driven tactics is your pitch process.

The work of generating positive media coverage is fundamental to PR. A tremendous amount of effort goes into outreach and cultivating relationships with reporters. But, if you don’t have accurate ways of measuring the returns of your efforts, much of that time will be spent unproductively. Furthermore, you’ll have no way of knowing what actions are a good use of your time and what tactics amount to nothing.  

A product like Propel can help you understand what’s going on under the surface by measuring data points such as:

  • Open Rate: How many email pitches are opened by targeted reporters?

  • Response Rate: How often do reporters respond to your emails?

  • Secure Rate: How often does actual coverage result from these interactions?

  • Allocation of resources: How many employee-hours is it taking to achieve these results?

Numerous data-measurement opportunities exist in PR. The above mentioned ones are only the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more that’s possible once the industry takes advantage of the transformative power of big data, AI, and machine learning.

How to Get Insights Using the Dashboard

One of the central missions of Propel is giving you a deep understanding of what's working and what can be improved. On the dashboard, you can find a wide array of analytics that can give you insights about the success of campaigns, employees and accounts overall. Our graphs include:

  • Pitching Volume & Effectiveness
  • Batting Averages
  • Number of Articles Published
  • Propel Factor/Article Score
  • Leading Contacts
  • SEO Value

To change the date range, click on the time period drop-down and select the range you are interested to analyze.

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To filter by account, pitching initiative or employee, click on the "View" drop-down.

If you want to get additional training on how to use the dashboard, please reach out to me at idan@propelmypr.com

How to Secure More Opportunities with the Propel Story Funnel

Click on the "Story Funnel" tab to see your entire pipeline of opportunities, broken down by pitches "sent," "opened," "responded," "materials/interview," "article secured," "article published," and "not interested." Click on the reporter's name to see their profile page – which includes your entire history of communication with them, their contact info, and any notes you may have.

Click on the "Story Funnel" tab to see your entire pipeline of opportunities, broken down by pitches "sent," "opened," "responded," "materials/interview," "article secured," "article published," and "not interested." Click on the reporter's name to see their profile page – which includes your entire history of communication with them, their contact info, and any notes you may have.

Click on the  "Add new card" button on the top-right to create an opportunity that was initiated off-line.

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You can filter the funnel by user, account, or pitching initiative.

You can filter the funnel by user, account, or pitching initiative.

To update a status of an opportunity, simply drag and drop from one column to another. You can also click on the arrow in the top right corner of the card and select which column you want to move that card into.

To update a status of an opportunity, simply drag and drop from one column to another. You can also click on the arrow in the top right corner of the card and select which column you want to move that card into.

After an article publishes, update the card status to "Article Published"  – at which point a pop-up box will appear. Fill in the URL and publishing date so that the article will be added to the dashboard and reports.

After an article publishes, update the card status to "Article Published"  – at which point a pop-up box will appear. Fill in the URL and publishing date so that the article will be added to the dashboard and reports.

Phew, that's it! You are ready to start pitching and managing your team's PR efforts with Propel. If you have any question or would like to schedule a training session to learn more advanced tricks, please reach out to me at idan@propelmypr.com.

How to Navigate Your Media Lists

Click on "Media Lists" in the navigation bar on the left

Find the media list you want to start pitching by either filtering by account or searching by media list name.

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Click on the numbers to open the media list and on the pencil to add contacts from the database.

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NOTE: numbers represent the total contacts that were already pitched out of the total contacts on the list.

Find the contact you want to pitch using the sort and/or search bar. Filter contacts to see just the ones that are assigned to you, not already pitched, etc.

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Remove contacts from the list or assign users to pitch them.

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Pitch by clicking on an envelope - your email client will be opened.

* If you are using Gmail and it doesn't automatically open, we recommend reading the following tutorial: Mac users, Windows users.

Phew, that's it! You are ready to start pitching and managing your team's PR efforts with Propel. If you have any question or would like to schedule a training session to learn more advanced tricks, please reach out to me at idan@propelmypr.com.

How to Create a New Account

 First, go to the Accounts section and click on "Add New Account".

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NOTE: Accounts are clients.

Enter basic information about the account. If you are in a hurry, you can click  "Finish" after completing only the few required fields. If you have a few minutes, it is recommended to complete the next steps in order to get the most out of Propel.

Enter basic information about the account. If you are in a hurry, you can click  "Finish" after completing only the few required fields. If you have a few minutes, it is recommended to complete the next steps in order to get the most out of Propel.

Enter website and social media links for the account.

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NOTE: Although these fields are not mandatory, Propel uses them in order to identify backlinks in articles published when calculating the Propel Factor and SEO Value. Therefore, in order to get the most out of Propel, it is recommended to at least enter the account's website address when setting up the account.

 

Assign existing users (i.e. team members) or add new users to the account. By adding users to an account you give them access to see data and activity related to that account.

Assign existing users (i.e. team members) or add new users to the account. By adding users to an account you give them access to see data and activity related to that account.

Complete the  "Audience" screen by entering the business type, relevant industries, and media outlets of interest. If you don't know which media outlets are most relevant, or you prefer to not complete this field, Propel will still work fine. However, the more information you enter here, the more LORA – Propel AI Engine will be able to help you by making intelligent recommendations for which reporters to pitch.

Complete the  "Audience" screen by entering the business type, relevant industries, and media outlets of interest. If you don't know which media outlets are most relevant, or you prefer to not complete this field, Propel will still work fine. However, the more information you enter here, the more LORA – Propel AI Engine will be able to help you by making intelligent recommendations for which reporters to pitch.

Enter any key messages related to that account. Messages should be a few words. For example, if you are representing a ridesharing app, a sample message may be "sharing economy transportation is more affordable."  Then, add any one-two word tags related to that account. In the ridesharing example, sample tags may be  "urban transportation," "sharing economy,"  "smart city,"  "on-demand transportation," etc.

Propel will use this data to help you build media lists more efficiently and to evaluate the quality of your coverage.

Enter any key messages related to that account. Messages should be a few words. For example, if you are representing a ridesharing app, a sample message may be "sharing economy transportation is more affordable."  Then, add any one-two word tags related to that account. In the ridesharing example, sample tags may be  "urban transportation," "sharing economy,"  "smart city,"  "on-demand transportation," etc.  Propel will use this data to help you build media lists more efficiently and to evaluate the quality of your coverage.  Finally, you can add a logo for the account.  Click finish when you are done. Congrats – you have created an account! You can edit any of this information at any time, by clicking on the account name and editing any of the steps.

Finally, you can add a logo for the account.

Click finish when you are done. Congrats – you have created an account! You can edit any of this information at any time, by clicking on the account name and editing any of the steps.

If you have any question or would like to schedule a training session to learn more advanced tricks, please reach out to me at idan@propelmypr.com.

How to Create a Pitching Initiative

Click on the "Pitch" button on the top right corner of your screen. This will prompt you to create a  "Pitching Initiative", which is a specific campaign/pitching effort within an account. For example, this may be a news announcement for a specific account, or a bylined article. It could also be a specific newsjacking effort, a trend story pitch, or a variety of other activities.

Click on the "Pitch" button on the top right corner of your screen. This will prompt you to create a  "Pitching Initiative", which is a specific campaign/pitching effort within an account. For example, this may be a news announcement for a specific account, or a bylined article. It could also be a specific newsjacking effort, a trend story pitch, or a variety of other activities.

Give the pitching initiative a name, enter which account it is for, and choose the type. In addition, you can pick a publishing deadline for time sensitive announcements or you can select "No Deadline Required" for ongoing/evergreen initiatives.

Give the pitching initiative a name, enter which account it is for, and choose the type. In addition, you can pick a publishing deadline for time sensitive announcements or you can select "No Deadline Required" for ongoing/evergreen initiatives.

Select any key messages that are relevant for this pitching initiative, or add new ones. This is optional. It enables Propel to help you evaluate pitching initiative effectiveness later.

Select any key messages that are relevant for this pitching initiative, or add new ones. This is optional. It enables Propel to help you evaluate pitching initiative effectiveness later.

Set milestones/tasks for the pitching initiative. This list is automatically generated based on the pitching initiative type you selected and you can add/remove stages based on your preference.

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NOTE: This is an optional task management feature that allows managers and team leaders to set deadlines and assign responsibility for the various stages within a pitching initiative.

 

Enter any specific search phrases relevant to the pitching initiative, which will allow Propel to help you discover relevant reporters for this pitching initiative. You can also enter which tier levels you are interested in getting coverage in for this pitching initiative. Both of these are optional. Lastly, choose whether you'd like to copy an existing media list or create a new one. If you're just getting started with Propel, you will want to create a new one.

Enter any specific search phrases relevant to the pitching initiative, which will allow Propel to help you discover relevant reporters for this pitching initiative. You can also enter which tier levels you are interested in getting coverage in for this pitching initiative. Both of these are optional. Lastly, choose whether you'd like to copy an existing media list or create a new one. If you're just getting started with Propel, you will want to create a new one.  You are ready to go - click "Finish & Go to media list".

You are ready to go - click "Finish & Go to media list".

If you have any question or would like to schedule a training session to learn more advanced tricks, please reach out to me at idan@propelmypr.com.

Getting Started with Propel

Welcome to Propel!

We are really excited to introduce you to Propel! We built Propel to improve the lives of media relations pros. We are media relations experts that have worked in PR for years and chat with hundreds of PR firms to learn the problems they are facing and help them improve their agencies with technology.

First, you'll want to download our Gmail Chrome Extension. If you don't use Gmail, don't worry! You can still use Propel – you'll just need to set up DNS records.

Then, you'll want to learn the basics on all of the features we provide: 

How to Pitch with the Propel Gmail Plug-In

How to Secure More Opportunities with Story Funnel

How to Get Insights Using the Dashboard

How to Create a New Account

How to Create a Pitching Initiative

How to Navigate Your Media Lists

 

Pitching With the Propel Gmail Plug-In

The Propel Gmail Plug-In* allows you to pitch reporters and influencers directly from your Gmail inbox. All you need to do is download our Chrome extension.

* Propel Gmail Plug-In works best using the new Gmail User Interface.

Log-in

1) Click on the Propel logo on the top-right cornet, enter your user credentials and click login.

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2) If the login was successful the Propel icon will change it’s color and your name and notifications will appear.

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Pitch

1) After installing the plug-in, you can start pitching by simply clicking on the Propel logo (next to the send button) in a compose new message window.

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2) Then you will be asked to select a pitching initiative. You can either pick from the most frequently used or search for a pitching initiative by entering the pitching initiative or account name. If the pitching initiative doesn't exist in Propel yet - click "Create new" to add it.

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3) To add recipients, you can either enter their contact details manually in the “To” field or click on access your Propel Media List directly from Gmail by clicking on the “Media "List” button.

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4) Using the media list you can select which contacts you'd like to pitch now by clicking the checkbox next to their name. You can search reporters by media outlet and filter by their status in the specific media list.

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5) If you select more than one recipient, each of the recipients will receive a separate email, which you can personalize by using Propel's mail merge feature. Do this by clicking on "Mail Merge" and selecting the variable field you desire – options include first name, last name and publication name, etc.

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*NOTE: Mail merge does have two limitations - First, you must send the first email using the Propel extension and not from your mobile device or a different browser. Second, no attachments are allowed in the first email when pitching multiple contacts at the same time. If you want to attach a press release or media kit we recommend including a google drive or dropbox link instead.

6) Propel also allows you to save and share templates for later use to save time and improve the quality of your pitches and follow-ups. To save a template, write a personalized message using the mail merge function, implement inline images and click “Templates\Save Template” when you are done. To load a template, click “Templates” and select the one you want to use.

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7) You can set a reminder to follow-up with the contact(s) you are pitching to if you don't hear back from them in a specific time period or by a specific date.  

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8) The last step of pitching will be sending the email. You have two options: click “Send” in order to send the email(s) now or “Send Later” in order to schedule the email to be sent at a later time. Selecting one of the morning options will send the email between 9 to 10 am on local sender timezone. After clicking on the “Send Later” button the email will automatically saved as draft and will be sent at the selected time. To cancel or change timing go to the draft folder and open the relevant thread.

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Step 2 - Track

Now that you have pitched, the plug-in helps you track responses and organize all of your reporter interest in a clear way that helps you prevent opportunities falling through the cracks. 

1) Click on the Propel logo to check if you have follow-up reminders due, which are represented by the number in the red circle. Then, click on the notification to go directly to your Propel's follow-up folder.

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2) Click on the Propel folder in your Gmail inbox to see all of your ongoing communications with reporters. Here, you can filter by account, pitching initiative or status (sent, opened, responded, etc.). For example, you can easily see all of your pitches that were opened and not yet responded, in order to follow-up, or the ones that are awaiting materials or an interview in order to remind you to touch base. 

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3) Finally, every time you hear back from a reporter, you can update the story funnel status or set yourself a new follow-up reminder from the open mail thread itself.

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You can also track and organize all of your reporter opportunities through the Propel Story Funnel in the web app.

I hope this tutorial helps! If you have any additional questions or want to schedule a 15 minute 1-on-1 training session, please reach out to me at idan@propelmypr.com

Forbes Magazine names Propel one of the "15 Technology Companies to Watch in 2018"

We are humbled to be named by Forbes as one of "15 Technology Companies to Watch in 2018".

The PR industry has adopted technology at a snail’s pace compared to the rest of the marketing ecosystem. Propel, a recently launched AI-driven CRM for PR, is on a mission to help the PR industry innovate. The platform increases efficiency of public relations workers. By collecting loads of data and leveraging wisdom of the crowd, Propel enables PR teams – either agency or in-house – to understand which journalists are relevant, which pitches are resonating, and which campaigns are working. Propel offers actionable insights to help users hone in on the right messages and reporters, and improve quality and quantity of coverage. The CRM also offers powerful streamlining and organizational tools that help users more easily manage their workload, as well as a dashboard for managers that makes clear which employees and campaigns are most effective. The Tel Aviv-based company launched this year and is in the midst of a funding round.