Home > PR > Competition Among All-in-One PR Software Tools Heats Up [PR Tech Sum No. 28]

Competition Among All-in-One PR Software Tools Heats Up [PR Tech Sum No. 28]

Onclusive adds features, becomes all-in-one PR software tool; Agility PR Solutions adds AI; Q4 releases IR event hosting tool; an odd rebrand by SocialChorus and Dynamic Signal; Intrado rebrands as Notified; Meltwater Q2 earnings

This is a humdinger of a summary and I’ve spent (too) many hours on it. As such, I don’t have anything witty to say up top – so let’s dive right into it.  Here’s the monthly PR Tech Sum rounding news and links from the world of PR technology.

1. Onclusive adds media database and social listening

Onclusive, the PR tech startup formerly known as Air PR, says it added a media contact database, journalist relationship management features and social listening to its platform.

The contact database – and the information it contains – is “human-verified” according to an announcement the company emailed. It also allows for pitching through the platform, which checks off distribution. As for social listening, the product helps customers monitor Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. The social listening aspect is an OEM from Keyhole, according to a Keyhole co-founder.

“Users can track direct and indirect brand mentions, hashtags, influencers and keywords, keep tabs on competitors and industry trends, gather key consumer insights, and discover the most relevant and engaging influencers.”

I’ve come to view Onclusive as an enterprise-strength media monitoring solution. The company has done a couple of things historically that allow it to stand out in the market. First, the company built its own newscrawler to index and filter web content for media monitoring, whereas many media monitoring solutions rely on third-party partnerships.

Second, the company has developed share-of-voice and attribution tools. It can link news mentions to marketing metrics such as conversions, even if an article doesn’t have a link to your website.

These two new features put Onclusive into the all-in-one category, which is beginning to get a little crowded. The U.S.-based PR tech players that offer a contact database, some level of pitching or distribution, and media monitoring include:

  • Cision
  • Meltwater
  • Onclusive
  • Muck Rack
  • Notified (formerly Intrado)
  • Agility PR Solutions
  • Critical Mention
  • Burrelles; and
  • Propel

Did I miss anyone?

2. Agility PR Solutions adds AI

Agility PR Solutions said it has made several updates to its software including some artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

For example, its AI tool helps users with “content creation, contact targeting, and content distribution.” The company says its “AI-powered news release assistant” has helped “to drive improved open rates and visibility” during testing.

Among some of the other improvements included in the software release were “geo-location targeting,” “enriched media profiles” and “AI-enabled tools to keep targeting lists updated.”

I wrote a product review of Agility PR in 2020 based on hands-on testing: The Updated Media Monitoring Module by Agility PR Solutions is a Solid Tool for the Price Point.

3. Q4 pushes event hosting tool for investor relations

Q4 Inc. released its Capital Markets Events solution – the first phase of a larger feature set the company is bringing to market. The Capital Markets Events solution, or CME, “enables buy-side and sell-side customers to build, manage and deliver engaging digital experiences for complex virtual and hybrid investor events.”

Some examples of events investor relations teams might host include investor conferences, non-deal roadshows, virtual bus tours, reverse roadshows and one-on-one meetings.

The tool includes broadcast-quality video production, conference scheduling, supports multiple presentation types, and provides breakout rooms and virtual networking options.

4. SocialChorus and Dynamic Signal rebrand with an odd announcement

About this time last year, SocialChorus was acquired by a private equity firm for $100 million. Then in July, the company announced it was merging with Dynamic Signal.

Now it’s announcing this: SocialChorus and Dynamic Signal have combined to create Firstup, a new company built to reimagine employee connection through transformative workforce communications.

Yet the press release doesn’t explain it that way. In fact, it doesn’t reference SocialChorus or Dynamic Signal at all and just announces a new company. It’s confusing. I follow this company every month and I had to read the announcement several times to understand what it was trying to say.

The press release – published on the SocialChorus newsroom – quotes Gary Nakamura, CEO of Firstup, who is the current CEO of SocialChorus. He was also named the CEO of the combined company after the merger with Dynamic Signal. However, he’s removed any mention of SocialChorus from his LinkedIn profile.

The announcement goes on at length about some research it published earlier that’s sort of juxtaposed into the copy – without addressing any of the natural and logical questions it produces. Is this a rebrand? How did this decision come to pass? What does it mean for customers of either brand?

In my view, SocialChorus is really the only tech player in internal comms – and the company has been doing interesting things. I think it’s built up some brand cache and they are missing the chance to benefit from some of that hard work.

I’m sure someone decided it was a demonstration of leadership to mandate the announcement not refer to the company’s history or legacy in announcing the new company. But this is a strange way to rebrand a company because it doesn’t explain how you got there. Imagine your best friend just changes their name one day but won’t tell you why. It’d be weird, right?

I’m willing to bet this is creating more confusion among their customer base than excitement.

5. Intrado rebrands as Notified

Intrado announced it’s rebranding all the tools in its digital media portfolio to Notified. According to the announcement, “The rebrand will provide Digital Media with a unique market identity, representative of its full solution suite.”

Intrado is a large company that does many things, and one division makes products for public relations, investor relations and events. That’s the part that’s rebranding as Notified.
The blend of tools gives it a unique position – that it’s the only solution provider that supports those three areas.

Intrado has reinvented itself several times in recent years under the ownership of Apollo Global Management (NYSE: APO). Originally known as West Corporation, the company entered the PR tech space when it acquired a $335 million PR tech business from Nasdaq, which included the press release distribution service GlobeNewswire in 2018.

In 2019, West rebranded as Intrado and acquired Notified, an all-in-one PR tech startup out of Sweden. I’ve previously taken a pretty close look at Notified and wrote this briefing on the product. It looked very interesting, but then the company went quiet. I haven’t heard or seen anything out of them until this rebranding announcement.

Perhaps the rebrand means they’ll be back. I believe the organization has the pocket depth to compete with Cison and Meltwater and could bring a healthy dose of competition to the market.

6. Meltwater Q2 earnings

Meltwater announced revenue grew 11% year-over-year in its second quarter, growing to $97.9 million. Its profit margin (EBIDTA) dropped to 5%, from 16%, in the same comparative period. In a presentation for investors, the company noted the “decline in adjusted EBITDA [was] due to a planned ramp-up in sales and marketing and R&D.”

The company strong growth among premium customers and named new customers including, NVIDIA, HBO, Lenovo and Ferrari. The company also says it’s experiencing solid demand for its “social product offering.”

Meltwater has made three acquisitions this year in Owler, Linkfluence and Klear. In the earnings statement, the company said integration efforts are proceeding “proceeding well and according to plan.”

“The first technical integration milestone was reached in June with Linkfluence and is already starting to benefit our customers,” according to a company statement. “Further integration will be completed in Q3 and will create a seamless customer experience across all our offerings. Going forward we will continue to pursue acquisitions of world-class product teams to complement our existing product offering.”

(click image for higher resolution)

7. PR tech mentions

Minor notes from the world of PR technology.

  • Muck Rack adds print monitoring through LexisNexis. Muck Rack added print media to its monitoring package. PRWeek reported the capability is through a partnership with LexisNexis. “While newsrooms are going digital, print media is still a major target for PR pitches and for journalists,” said Muck Rack Co-founder and CEO Greg Galant in an announcement.
  • Business Wire celebrated 60th The company says it was “founded by Lorry I. Lokey, Business Wire first opened its doors on October 2, 1961, with seven clients and a handful of media points.”
  • Meltwater officially partners with Twitter. Meltwater said it has joined the Twitter Official Partner Program. While the company “has consumed the entire ‘firehose’ of Twitter content for many years” the official program “recognizes those companies” which “serve Twitter data and insights to their customers in sophisticated and impactful ways.”
  • PublicRelay takes PE investment. Media monitoring solution provider PublicRelay said it received investment from Tritium Partners. Tritium Partners CEO Mark Parise was named as the company’s executive chairman. The deal sounds to me like a recapitalization, however when asked directly, the company insisted it was a “growth” investment. “The investment will accelerate the company’s plans to launch new analytics and insights products along with AI applications,” according to the announcement.

8. Content picks

Articles, blog posts and pieces that caught my eye from or about technology vendors in PR.

  • “The lack of employer communication was cited as a key contributing factor for unhappiness with nearly 25% of respondents agreeing that more communication from employers would result in increased productivity, and work satisfaction,” according to new research by Firstup, AKA, SocialChorus and Dynamic Signal.
  • “PR experts can substantially help their employers and clients by suggesting that they perform regular security risk assessments,” writes Larry Alton for the Bulldog Reporter.
  • Podseeker is a simple tool that works as you’d expect; its price point makes it a no-brainer for PR teams with podcast outreach responsibilities – product review.

* * *

Have an interesting announcement from a PR technology vendor?  Here’s the list of PR technology companies I’m watching and here’s how to get on my radar.

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Image credit: Unsplash and respective companies

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