The solution providers serving the PR and communications space have been busy. There were more product releases in September than in any other month, since I started tracking a list of 30 or so vendors about six months ago.
And now onward this month’s PR technology summary…
(click images for higher resolution)
1) Agility reimagines media monitoring.
Agility PR Solutions launched “their reimagined media monitoring software” this month. A representative explained to me that meant it was “rebuilt it from the ground up.” The company has improved the user interface making the some of the more advanced features – like Boolean searches – easier to conduct even for novice users.
The announcement highlighted three features: workflow, search and sharing.
- The company has made “behind the scenes” improvement that makes set up for monitoring easier;
- “The upgraded search feature allows users to conduct an advanced-level search without in-depth knowledge of Boolean logic and uses artificial intelligence technology to provide suggestions for search phrases or keywords to produce highly relevant search results”; and
- Allows the analyst to develop “curated or automatic briefings.” In addition, there are tools for building more in-depth charts for executive reporting.”
The use of AI to make suggestions promising. In my observation, some of the incumbent vendors simply are not making strides in AI. The use cases are plentiful, from search suggestions, as Agility says they’ve done here, to analyzing media coverage and notifying you of new reporter and influencers you have not reached out to but are writing about topics you are pitching.
Agility PR Solutions is a subsidiary of Innodata Inc. (NASDAQ: INOD). The Agility platform was originally part of PR Newswire but was divested to Innodata as part of a ruling by the DoJ, when Cision acquired PR Newswire for $841 million in 2016.
The company’s product page has some additional product descriptions and visuals.
2) Meltwater improves sentiment analysis.
Accurate sentiment analysis through natural language processing (NLP) is really hard. This because language is wicked complicated, hey.
Bad sometimes means good. Bombs and booms are sometimes naming conventions for wit or wisdom. We throw shade. Between memes and GIFs, we’ve started communicating with pictures again – which I’m pretty sure is an evolutionary regression – but that’s another post.
The challenge in sentiment analysis is classification. For example, how do you categorize a story about a ship full of treasure that sunk but the Coast Guard saved all the passengers? Is that a positive story? A negative one? A neutral one?
It’s a mix of all of these things. And so, when media monitoring tools tone articles, it’s not accurate and PR people have to go in and manually fix this for reporting.
“An important feature of our offerings has always been the ability to override the sentiment values assigned by our algorithms. Overrides are indexed as different ‘versions’ of the same document in Meltwater’s Elasticsearch cluster, providing customers with a personalized view of their sentiment when building dashboards and reports.”
In a blog post, the company says its made some improvements to how it determines sentiment that has resulted in “55-65% less sentiment overwrites globally.”
Here’s the problem:
“We traditionally used an algorithm that takes a document and applies sentiment for the entire text. The longer the document, the less accurate the sentiment.”
So, the article about a sinking ship gets labeled one way or another, regardless of whether all the souls were saved or not.
Here’s the solution:
“Moving away from document-based sentiment to sentence based sentiment. This means each sentence of an article or post is evaluated individually and gets its own sentiment (positive, negative, neutral). For the document-based sentiment, the sentiment is then calculated based on the sum of sentence sentiment.”
That’s totally bad! And I mean that in a good way, of course.
3) Prezly simplifies 1:1 pitching in its platform.
“You no longer have to leave your Contacts List to send a pitch. Simply find the Contact you would like to pitch, select an email address to send it to, or use the quick menu to open the Pitch Form.”
It also enables this feature from with several other areas of its product, including stories (pitches), campaigns and grid view. The grid view shows all of the pitches your team is working on including who is sending what pitch to which contact along with open and CTR metrics.
The blog post contains several short videos demonstrating the various aspects of this feature. The screenshot you see here is from one of those videos.
4) Business Wire partners with Onclusive for analytics.
Business Wire announced a “strategic partnership” with Onclusive to provide “earned and social media insights” for releases distributed over the Business Wire network. The reports will be called “Earned & Social Media Analytics” and will include metrics such as “such as volume, social and influencer engagement, advanced sentiment analysis and geolocation.”
More specifically, a company representative for Onclusive said in an email, that the report will include these measures:
- “number of syndicated articles”;
- “number of follow-on articles”;
- “social media engagement”;
- “top influencer engagement”;
- “estimated reach”; and
- “geographic distribution by region.”
The feature within Business Wire does not currently support attribution for press releases the way Onclusive does with earned media in its own platform. Attribution is where the company can track when a visitor reads a news article about your company online, closes the window, and then visits your website a few days later.
5) Intrado rolls out an integrated solution.
“Customers can elevate their webinar engagement, activate word-of-mouth marketing, publish press releases and user-generated content, and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns using our suite of communications solutions.”
According to the release, point solutions acquired and weaved together include:
- “INXPO (webcasting and live video streaming)”;
- “Ambassador (referral marketing)”; and
- “Notified (monitoring and measurement).”
The consolidated platform provides an “end-to-end communications workflow that allows them [marketers] to listen, create, connect, deliver, amplify, and measure.”
6) Business Wire supports Women in PR North America.
Women in PR North America announced Business Wire is a new “corporate partner.” The support will allow Women in PR North America to “to expand its professional development, networking, and educational content programs for women in public relations.”
“Business Wire’s support is vital to continuing to scale our programs and provide new opportunities and services to our members,” said Talia Beckett-Davis, President of Women in PR North America in a press release.
In response to an email inquiry about the nature of the sponsorship, Ms. Bekckett-Davis said, “It’s a financial sponsorship to help us with our events and programs and it also includes a few free press releases to help us with our online exposure.”
Women in PR North America is a joint initiative by the Organization of Canadian Women in Public Relations and American Women in Public Relations.
7) Cision publishes a report on freedom of the press.
Cision announced what it dubbed a “State of the Freedom of the Press” report that reveals some of the pressure and risks reporters and journalists from around the world face. Some of the findings include:
- “49% of journalists globally believe the freedom of the press has deteriorated in their home countries”;
- “65% of journalists around the globe don’t feel they’ve had to change their tone or language in the last year;” and
- “36% are concerned about journalist safety.”
The findings are drawn from the same survey of 2,000 reporters the company used to produce its annual “State of the Media” report which was published earlier this year and I wrote about here.
8) TVEyes Broadcast Media Monitoring Explained.
This neat little explainer video by TVEyes was published in July, but I’m just seeing it now. The company has taken to calling itself “the search engine for broadcast” which may not be new – I just hadn’t noticed it before and I think it’s interesting. The video runs a little more than a minute.
9) Picks from the PR tech vendor blogs.
“Sales and marketing teams are not the only departments in your company that should be actively using your customer journey to drive business activities. Customer journey maps are also a necessary communications tool for a variety of reasons.”
“We’ve pulled the top publications and articles that cover technology that received the most shares on social media so far this year from Muck Rack verified journalists.”
“AI-powered media monitoring is now here to take the baton from Boolean.”
“Companies can’t stay competitive if they can’t attract top talent to the workforce. So it only makes sense that the lifecycle of your employees (from pre-hire to post-exit interactions and everything in between) is perhaps the most meaningful part of the job of your internal communications team.”
“More success = more coverage = longer report = less engagement from execs.”
* * *
Do you work for a PR tech vendor and have something to share? In case you missed it, there’s a page that spells it out the opportunities for you.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
Cliff Notes to Effective Media Relations: A Summary of 3 Surveys of Editors, Reporters and Journalists [UML]
Image credit: Unsplash and respective solution providers.