Liz Finch, Head of Client Success at PRophet
For generations, technology has shaped and revolutionized every industry imaginable, with each new era bringing greater changes than the last. The communications field is perhaps one of the greatest examples of this trend, as we’ve seen comms tech become deeply integrated into the day-to-day workflow of communications professionals across the globe.
“Comms tech” is used as an umbrella term for the various tools and platforms that communications professionals utilize for specific objectives. The purposes of comms tech are manifold, but for PR professionals, they can primarily be broken down into three main categories: distribution, targeting and monitoring and measurement.
Tools in the distribution category primarily focus on the mass publication of press releases via wire services, whereas tools in the targeting category primarily focus on sourcing journalists by category or “beat.” And lastly, tools in the monitoring and measurement category allow users to monitor for coverage of their news and measure sentiment online. Some comms tech tools fall into two of these three categories, and a handful even capture all three.
Despite the prevalence of comms tech across public relations, journalism and media in all of its various forms today, these tools aren’t without flaws at the moment, either.
As professionals, we can safely say that the benefits and potential of comms tech vastly outweighs its obstacles or challenges that might be present. We’d also be remiss to not call out the gaps in comms tech and bring forth solutions.
For many users of comms tech, contact sourcing is a go-to function. A common obstacle that comms tech users can encounter is a litany of poor contacts. These “poor contacts” can be such due to any number of reasons, including being outdated (so the role the individual performs has changed), or entirely inaccurate (broken email addresses). In other cases, this might entail irrelevant contacts, such as reporters who aren’t a right match for a particular story. Users can also run into issues with repetitive contacts, which further complicates the creation of new media lists.
When leveraging comms tech, exposure is the name of the game. Gaps in comms tech that make it harder to gain exposure get in the way of some of the most fundamental goals of communications. Methods change and evolve at a breakneck speed in communications — PR, especially. The old, “tried-and-true” methods, including gut instinct, are becoming less efficient and relevant as time goes on. And as those who are new to this industry don’t always have strong media relationships and typically start from scratch, they need to be able to count on smart comms tech tools that make it easier to accomplish this often arduous task.
As public relations is largely a relationship-based industry, another current gap in comms tech is the challenge of assessing the true value and effectiveness of public relations efforts. It’s not nearly as easy to measure the impact of earned media as it is for paid media and owned media, and for the most part, current comms tech does not fill that gap. As they continue to evolve, such tools need to take into account the relationship-based industry that is PR, as well as the artforms behind these approaches.
With all of this in mind, it’s important for the industry to continue to take steps forward to fill these gaps. As the first AI-powered platform built by and for PR professionals, PRophet is leading the way in closing comms tech gaps and optimizing technology for the greater good of our industry. Using a combination of natural language processing and machine learning to predict media interest and story sentiment, PRophet assesses a reporter’s past coverage to predict their level of interest in your specific news topic or angle. No longer are you having to weed through hundreds, if not thousands, of random names in a search query; PRophet eliminates the guess work, helping PR pros to achieve greater success in not only achieving coverage of an announcement, but in developing a positive, lasting relationship with the journalist.
In addition to the improvements that PRophet is bringing to the table, other comms tech tools can tap into emerging technologies to fill different gaps. For instance, as analytics become more sophisticated, tools in the monitoring and measurement space should work toward better assessing the value of relationships and PR as a whole, filling a monumental gap in the process.
Despite the gaps that currently exist in comms tech, the synergy between technology and communications brings benefits that are abundantly clear for PR professionals. The more gaps the industry can close, the greater the possibilities we can achieve by leveraging technology with our communications efforts.
PRophet is the first-ever AI-driven platform, built by and for PR professionals, to use a proprietary combination of natural language processing and machine learning to predict media interest and story sentiment before you ever send a pitch.
About the Author: Liz has a strong background in client/customer success and business development while working in sales in NYC for the past 8+ years. She has blended her experience in sales and public relations to work with PRophet, an AI-powered PR platform to transform and disrupt the current PR/tech industry.