An effective public relations campaign has a lot of moving parts. Journalists need to be identified, evaluated, and selected. Pitches need to be sent and tracked. Once stories go live, their impact needs to be assessed. Sometimes it takes months of tracking to truly understand how effective a campaign has been.
Whenever possible, PR pros turn to digital tools to help them to manage campaigns. Cision vs Meltwater vs MuckRack are three of those tools. Each offer similar capabilities. The following guide will help you to determine which option is best for your situation.
Who has the best media database? Cision vs Meltwater vs Muckrack?
A media database is a critical PR tool. The better your media database, the more effective your pitching can be. Without effective pitching, a PR campaign will not get off the ground.
Cision, Meltwater, and Muck Rack all provide large databases of media contacts that can be used to pitch to large groups of potential outlets. Each provides tools that allow users to search the database and create focused lists. Each also allows users to distribute press releases to lists that are extracted from the database.
Cision stands apart when it comes to the size of the database. Cision’s media list totals more than 1 million contacts. Meltwater’s is slightly less than 400,000. Muck Ruck’s is approximately 250,000. Cision also reportedly updates their database more frequently.
With more than twice the media contacts of Meltwater and more than five times that of Muck Rack, Cision would seem like the obvious choice. Keep in mind, however, that your goal is effective pitching and not excessive pitching. PR campaigns can be effective with less than ten media contacts if they are the right contacts.
Muck Rack has built some fans by providing an interface that allows users to do less with more in the area of media contacts. Whereas Cision can be used (and abuses) to send press releases to huge distribution lists, Muck Ruck encourages users to conduct surgical strikes. If you prefer a more measured approach, Cision’s large database may not suit you.
The right size database will be the one that gets you the best results. Before locking into one based on the size of their media database, request a trial period. Use them both to send out press releases and track the results. If that is not possible, at least get a demo. You may find that a smaller database is big enough for your needs.
Who has the best price? Cision vs Meltwater?
Each option has a price tag. Cision’s is approximately $7,200 per year. Muck Rack’s is approximately $5,000 per year. Meltwater’s is approximately $4,000 per year. If this was an “apples to apples” comparison, the decision would be easy. However, as you have already seen with the database size, each platform is not created equally.
It also helps to keep in mind that these platforms provide more than a database interface. Cision has some tools that the other two do not, such as an online newsroom and a press release creator. If you find those valuable, the extra cost might be worth it.
Which is easiest to use? Cision vs Muck Rack?
User experience is an important factor to consider. Someone on your team will use the software. If functionality is frustrating, they may not use it to its full extent.
Muck Rack gets the best scores in the area of ease of use. Its fans highlight an intuitive workflow that streamlines the media outreach process. Meltwater is also said to have a user-friendly interface. Cision is consistently rated as being difficult to use.
No matter how easy a platform is to use, there will always be issues. When they arise, customer service becomes your best friend. How do these platforms rate in that area? Meltwater is praised as having great reps who provide great service. Muck Rack receives even higher ratings that Meltwater in some surveys. Cision ranks lowest in this area.
Which gives the best insights?
Each platform bills itself as more than just a database tool. They give analytics in additions to empowering distribution. Win a pitch leads to coverage, these three PR platforms tell you how good the coverage is. They are sometimes referred to as a media intelligence platform.
For PR professionals, reports are very important. Your clients will want to see a return on their investment. In how many outlets have they appeared? How influential are those outlets? How many prospective clients did they reach? Media monitoring tracks this and translates it to data that shows a firm’s effectiveness.
Reports are also important for those working without a PR firm. You will want to know if the platform is helping you to reach your goals. Reports can show you how many people you are reaching. They can also show if your initial media wins are making ripples in other media outlets.
Determining which of the three platforms is best in this area will depend on what you feel you need. Meltwater provides what it calls a PR Dashboard. It gives real-time metrics on things like media exposure, web traffic, and social media reach. It also allows the metrics to be captured in reports that can be shared with key stakeholders. For PR pros, the reports can be personalized and customized to provide information that clients are most interested in.
Muck Rack also allows users to track effectiveness on dashboards. The dashboards are customizable and interactive. One valuable feature that Muck Rack highlights is the ability to compare your campaigns effectiveness with the media attention being earned by your competitors. This “share of voice” data can help you to optimize your PR efforts. Muck Rack also gives you insight on the journalists that are engaging with your press. This can be used to build internal media databases featuring the most engaged outlets.
With Cision, a customizable API allows for reports to include data drawn from other tracking apps. Organizations that rely on Google Analytics or social media tracking platforms can integrate data from those sources to the PR metrics it captures. The result is a report that shows how the full breadth of promotional efforts. Cision also allows users to receive alerts when PR efforts result in news coverage.
Which platform fits best?
To find the best fit, start with your desired end in mind. Where do you hope PR will take you? If you have a goal and a strategy for reaching it, it will be easier to know which tool will serve you best.