Home > PR > What PR Technology Vendors Don’t Understand about Spreadsheets [PR Tech Sum No. 36]

What PR Technology Vendors Don’t Understand about Spreadsheets [PR Tech Sum No. 36]

The principle of social proof suggests most people use the best solution – and 57% of PR people use spreadsheets for media lists

It’s almost cliche to say, “I can’t believe it’s July” – so here’s another way to look at it: we’ve got just six more months until Christmas and that whole holiday season.

It won’t be long before our complaints about the summer heat are transformed into groans because Walmart has rolled out the Santa Claus displays.

July is usually a slow month for this monthly roundup of technology news across the PR landscape – and this month is no exception.

Onward with the PR Tech Sum

1. Media lists and spreadsheets.

A statistic in a new report on PR technology caught my eye. It’s not new or surprising – but the endurance is what stands out.

What’s the statistic? More than half (57%) of PR people use spreadsheets for media lists.

I have two visceral reactions to this statistic.

First, lots of vendors find statistics like this one. They always put these numbers out to convey a message that PR people are laggards, and the remedy for this affliction is to run out and buy a media database.

The effect is just the opposite: The message received is spreadsheets must be pretty good because most people are using them.

This is social proof. It’s a basic principle of behavioral economics that invokes what Dr. Robert Cialdini calls a “click run” response.

The way to flip this around – from a messaging standpoint – is to focus on the number of PR people using PR software for media databases.

Second, there’s a giant delta between the price tag – upwards of $5,000 per year – for many of these systems and the value to a diligent PR person that keeps their finger on the pulse of the media (which is 90% of the PR job by the way).

Reporters change beats and publications so often that the cost to keep media databases up-to-date is high. Some vendors try to overcome this with offshoring or technology. Neither one is accurate because both approaches tend to miss necessary nuance – at least in American media.

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2. PR tech mentions

  • Information security in PR. Muck Rack completed an audit of data security known as a SOC 2 Type II audit. It’s an “examination of a company’s information security standards relevant to data security, availability and confidentiality’ created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
  • Using AI to shop coverage of surveys. “Harris Poll clients will receive access to the innovative PRophet software platform to test the “mediability” of their research before conducting survey fieldwork, to confirm the data they seek will in fact be of interest to journalists,” according to a press release by PRophet.“Upon survey completion, Harris clients can then use PRophet’s machine learning and natural language processing technology to test the news angle of their poll to identify the journalists most likely to cover their story and predict how positively they’d write about the results.”

    With or without AI, here’s some easy tips for getting better coverage of your survey

3. Content picks

  • Goodwill on a balance sheet. “New research from strategic communications and advisory firm ICR reveals that four in five professional investors (80 percent) believe that at least 20 percent of a company’s valuation is impacted by non-financial factors, and more than half (57 percent) believe it’s at least 30 percent,” according to this piece by the Bulldog Reporter.

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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: Pixabay

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