Technology: PR Agency Life Made Easier

PR agency owners and managers face a dizzying array of online tools to help boost their business and keep clients satisfied. But there is such a voluminous amount of software programs available—targeting every aspect of running a PR firm—that managers must be very selective when it comes to where to invest their precious dollars.

“The space is changing on a daily basis,” said Jeffrey Ory, president of il Stratega, referring to the marketplace for online tools catering to the PR field. “You have to ask yourself: What do you need the tools to do? What will this product do for the [firm]?”

Speaking at the recent Counselors Academy spring conference in Puerto Rico, Ory discussed some of the most effective online tools for PR shops.

The data stems from a recent survey of 36 agency owners and senior public relations executives throughout the U.S., with nearly half of the respondents working for firms with $5 million-plus in annual revenue.

Don't reinvent the wheel.
Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Respondents selected the top three software tools for several PR disciplines, such as project management, media monitoring and social media analysis, per the survey.

Here’s a sample of what bubbled to the surface among PR agency owners, along with some of the software programs’ major benefits.

Project Management: Three to Know

> Basecamp: Manage multiple projects, varying permissions, to-do lists, real-time progression

> FunctionFox: Easy set-up, customizable per project/client, export data, Web-based

> Workamajig: Free, live Web-based support, good report, streamlined calendars

What’s missing: Software tools need to be more user-friendly.

Media Database: Three to Know

> Anewstip: Search and alert feature powered by tweets, search by journalists have tweeted

> Cision: Identify the right media, bulk emailing, find editorial opportunities

> Muck Rack: Twitter-based, weeds out bloggers, private notes

What’s missing: Software tools need to be more user-friendly.

Nearly two-thirds of the executives surveyed said they have the (online) tools to be successful, and their teams are adequately trained.

However, about half of the executives said maximizing such software tools for their agencies continues to be a challenge, in terms of managing expectations, motivating the team to use the tools, and, surprise, too many “solutions.”

Whether it’s time tracking or social media analytics, Ory said the three guiding principles for adopting software tools to better manage your business are: time, money and simplicity. If XYZ tool is too taxing on any of those departments, swipe right.