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.