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Spending on PR Software Growing Again, Study Finds

Annual spending on PR software grew 14.7% to approximately $5.5 billion in 2021  

Ask 10 people to define PR and you’ll get 10 different answers. Some of this is a matter of nurturing – where and how people “grow up” in PR – but some of it is the nature of PR.

While many mistake PR with just “media relations” or worse with “press release” the fact is the function does overlap with many other activities in business. The lines are burry which makes the size of the PR market, and subsequently the size of the PR software market, hard to define.

However, there are a few research firms that try. That’s the first story in this month’s roundup of PR technology news.

For what it’s worth, to me, PR is an approach. Indeed, more than 12 years ago, the CEO of a PR software company that employed me observed marketing increasingly looked more like PR.  In other words, marketing was taking a PR-centered approach to its activities. That was true then – and it’s true today.

Onward with the PR Tech Sum

1. PR spending on media intelligence grows

Consulting firm Burton-Taylor International published a report finding annual spending on PR “media intelligence solutions” grew 14.7% to approximately $5.5 billion in 2021. That’s up from the firm’s last report which put the market at $4.8 billion in 2020.

The term “media intelligence” can be subject to interpretation, but in an email, the company said the category includes:

  • Media monitoring (traditional and online media);
  • Media analysis (manual and automated and combinations thereof);
  • Journalist/key influencer contact databases/management tools;
  • Press release distribution services; and
  • Social media monitoring, analysis and management services.

The total numbers also include numbers that provide media monitoring as a service. It’s not just software but also consulting firms that may have their own tools or white label a monitoring product from a software company.

The large vendors “enjoyed double-digit revenue growth in 2021 through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions, there were other notable market drivers,” the company said in a press release on the report.

“While the larger providers had a better year than in 2020, there is still a really noticeable trend for buyers to turn towards smaller and more nimble suppliers,” said report author Chris Porter, Director at Porter Walford Consulting and a consultant to Burton-Taylor.

Hopefully, the increased spending will attract competition and prompt innovation.

2. Muck Rack helps to connect pitches to coverage

Muck Rack released a feature that allows customers to connect mentions earned to pitch. An animated GIF shows this is a manual process – where a PR can associate articles in the coverage dashboard to pitches sent through the system.

The company added two new dashboard views which tally up these connections over time. The dashboards “show the number of articles secured per pitch and the conversion rate from article to placement per pitch.”

Muck Rack also added the ability to group syndicated content in the monitoring view, which reduces clutter – and it extended the shelf life of captured mentions. “You can now search for articles going back more than two years in Muck Rack, a significant increase from the 14 months of data that we offered previously,” according to a blog post.

Historical access to content is tricky for vendors because it drives up costs associated with copyrights (especially as paywalls have gone up), content feeds from partners, and taxes processing power and storage space. Search history can vary by vendor so it’s important to ask about the historical archive when you buy PR software or switch from another vendor.

(click image for higher resolution)

muck rack connecting articles to pitches

3. PR tech mentions

  • Prowly added media monitoring to its PR software. “Users will be able to search for different keywords and obtain results relevant to their goals and strategies with dozens of filters, view interactive dashboards with metrics used by the public relations industry, receive real-time alerts for their most important searches and seamlessly collaborate with coworkers on projects,” according to a press release. The company is based in Warsaw, Poland and was acquired by the SEO vendor Semrush in 2020.
  • Prezly said it’s rolling out new themes for its online newsroom, including the “default Bea theme.” The company says this is “an evolution of the Classic but with a cleaner layout that is perfectly suitable for both text-heavy content and fully branded, rich-media stories.”
  • Meltwater published its annual report for FY 2021. In a 217-page report, the company says it closed last year with 27,000 customers, 2,200 employees and $402 million in revenue. The growth accounts for 12% year-over-year growth. However, its net income losses grew roughly 9% to $81 million compared to a loss of $74 million the year prior. The company seems to be expanding its target market beyond PR and it spent $93.7 million on four acquisitions, in part, to facilitate this goal.

4. Content picks from around PR 

  • Propel says journalists responded to 14.7% fewer pitches in Q1 2022.
  • What journalists want in online newsrooms according to Cision. (Note: Cision’s newsroom hasn’t been updated since October of 2020).
    • (Note 2: After this publication, Cision updated its newsroom, and to their credit, listed this post as their first update).
  • OnePitch spoke to 51 journalists in a podcast interview series and “43% of them said subject lines are an important area of consideration for pitches…subject lines need to be clear, relevant to the pitch, and of a decent length.”
  • FirstUp, formerly SocialChorus, offers three ways to implement a meaningful employee listening program.

* * *

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

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