At Scriba HQ, we’re big believers in investing our time – and money – into tools and software which make our outputs more efficient. With that in mind, our account managers Ruth Harrison-Davies and Kirstie Wilson charged their coffee cups and powered up their Zoom accounts, ready to find out what makes for the perfect PR tech stack.
At first glance, it’s easy to assume that the only tools a PR person needs is access to video conferencing software, a media monitoring tool and subscription to journalist requests. But, in truth, there’s lots more out there that can make our lives much savvier. Here’s what we found out…
- PR is about much more than newspaper headlines
Setting the scene, comms advisor Jon Hughes predicted ‘digital, diversity and deadlines’ would be the main drivers behind a shift to a more tech-led strategy in 2021 and beyond – and it was high time that PR agencies got on board with SaaS.
The pandemic has, without a doubt, been behind this expedited process, and has seen us generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day – that’s eighteen zeros! And, with such a wealth of data at our fingertips, it’s natural that clients want facts and figures to illustrate their ROI, while PR teams look to bolster their efficiencies even further.
- Building your PR tech stack
Stephen Waddington, founder of Wadds Inc was up next, and defined the three areas agencies should review and asses, prior to commencing work their own tech stack.
These included ‘workflow’ and the tools that will help you work more efficiently and smarter as a team. ‘Effectiveness’ of the tools which can deliver better work, and ‘leadership and differentiation’ relating to how SaaS, can be used to gain a competitive advantage.
- Budgeting for tools and software
When it comes to budgeting – how long is a piece of string? Traditionally, agencies will plan for media relations databases and monitoring subscriptions – and build it into fees accordingly. But, in truth, value should be attributed to the time and resources saved by investing in something which could help you work smarter.
Compare the daily ‘rate’ of an account executive per month and weigh up how much time they spend on certain tasks, vs. the level of investment needed for a software tool to speed up the process.
Beware of ‘freemium’ tools, though. While helpful for initial evaluation, it’s not a sensible choice long-term. Do make the most of trials and demonstrations, sample as many solutions as you can before making a decision – and don’t be afraid to negotiate over price.
- What do people think now?
When it comes to deciding which tools to use, Gemma Moroney, co-founder of Shook advised that asking yourself ‘what does the audience think, feel, or do now?’ is the best place to start.
A Google Search to establish what people think about a topic is a great place to start, while Google Trends can take that insight a little bit further. AnswerThePublic meanwhile – my personal favourite – also brings a deeper look at the kinds of questions and phrases people are searching for online.
- How do you change what people think, feel, or do now?’.
This is where your PR strategy comes in. And, while each agency will have their own approach, there are some tactics which can help – particularly in a reactive sense.
NewsWhip, for example, uses AI to look at a story, and predicts how it’s likely to develop and what headlines may follow. This is particularly effective for those who work with clients who are at the top of the news agenda or are facing a time of crisis.
Content markets, meanwhile, should look at Codec for inspiration when it comes to creating campaigns.
- How to measure PR success
This is the million-dollar question. Everything PR teams do should have a measurable outcome for the client – be it profile-raising, conversation starting, or lead generation. And it’s something Scriba PR has been committed to since day one.
At a very basic level, Google Analytics is a great way to look at how visitors interact with a website – and can provide bags of data. But, in relation to earned media coverage, take a closer look at the behaviour relating to those who come from an article or interview, and review how they engage differently with the page, vs. those who are ‘cold’ leads.
Answer The Client also helps you take a similar approach, while CoverageBook – which is a paid tool – offers a quick and concise way to present media coverage alongside detailed insight.
- Keeping in touch and defining your workflow
Now more than ever, we’re relying on digital tools to make our day-to-day more efficient. Being able to work – and meet – has been revolutionised by lockdown, with video conferencing proving to be a fantastic, and often more efficient, way of meeting with colleagues and clients.
Leaving Zoom running in the background – bandwidth permitting – is a great way to keep chatting as you would if working in an agency setting. But, if you’re not keen on your cat having more airtime than you, Miro is a great way to share ideas in a whiteboard format while the likes of Trello and Asana are great project management tools.
We’ve already named our stack: ScribaSense Technology. Now, to build it.