BuzzSumo edges into PR with journalist database for SMBs; Poppulo adds generative AI for internal comms; why don’t PR software vendors follow basic PR standard practices?
I’ve been writing this monthly column about PR technology companies for nearly five years – and I’m still continuously reminded that while these companies make software for communicators, they are not typically communication experts.
When you peruse these websites month after month, you start to notice:
- Many don’t publish their placements in a newsroom;
- Many don’t publish their press releases in a newsroom;
- Many don’t put screenshots or videos of their new products in their press releases;
- Many don’t even include contact information on their press releases; and
- Many don’t have PR people employed on staff.
All this leaves me shaking my head.
I do a lot of work in legaltech – and all those vendors have lawyers on staff. I do a lot of work in cybersecurity – and all those vendors have security experts on staff. I do a lot of work in fintech – and all those vendors have financial professionals on staff.
Why do vendors in PR skip this part? I have a hard time reconciling how private equity funds can pour hundreds of millions of dollars into PR software companies that publicly displays, well, disinterest, in the profession they supposedly serving.
Onward with this month’s PR tech sum.
1. BuzzSumo makes journalist database generally available
BuzzSumo, a tool best known for analyzing content and social media, has moved its new journalist database out of beta and into general availability. The company believes its history of analyzing content will enable it to surface the best reporters for a story by analyzing data.
Selecting reporters based on what they wrote, the company believes is, is a better approach to media list building than traditional databases. According to the company, the database has 700,000 reporters including 160,000 that are “human-verified journalists.” Each reporter profile includes links to content, topics, social profiles among others.
The classic BuzzSumo tool will also allow you to analyze the reporter’s activity such as:
- Number of articles created on topic;
- Total engagement of articles on topic;
- Recency of published content;
- Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit engagement; and
- Number of links driven.
The database also has built-in features for list-building and a generative AI feature for pitching. I believe the generative AI is based on OpenAI technology, which makes ChatGPT. In doing so, it joins at least five other PR tech companies that have done the same.
BuzzSumo was acquired by Brandwatch in 2017, which in turn was acquired by Cision (which owns a long list of other companies). For its part, BuzzSumo appears to be targeting small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB) and seems intent on winning business away from Muck Rack.
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2. Poppulo adds generative AI for internal comms
Poppulo, which develops an internal comms platform called Harmony, said it embedded generative AI into its platform. According to the release the software uses employee behavioral data to “identify content themes and gain insights into audience engagement.”
Among the generative AI functionality, the release cites are:
- Copy edits. “Quick copy polishing and captivating headline generation. This feature fine-tunes content, aligns tone with brand guidelines”;
- Recommended topics. “Recommending the best-performing template formats, autogenerating media assets, and dynamically optimizing and formatting text across communication channels;” and
- Employing “natural language processing (NLP) to identify messaging themes in internal communications, providing insights into widespread topics and variations in employee engagement by theme.”
Like other solution providers in the space, Poppulo is careful to emphasize security with its AI development: “One reason enterprise organizations choose to partner with Poppulo is our proven approach to delivering on their security and governance needs,” said Poppulo CTO Abhi Anantharaman.
Poppulo didn’t include PR contact information in its press release — but I’d expect this is also an OpenAI.
3. PR tech mentions
- Video makers. PR Newswire teamed up with AKA Partners, a “video-first marketing communications” agency. The partnership gives PR Newswire customers access to AKA creatives – ostensibly to help produce videos to go with their press releases.
- Meltwater gamifies customer community. Meltwater added a rewards program to its online customer community. Members will be able to earn status by actively contributing to the community and then receive branded gifts.
- AI ethics. Meltwater announced six principles to govern the ethical development of AI. These include principles such as “Safety, privacy, and security as first-class citizens” and “Use open source whenever possible; vet everything else and assume it is unsafe.” Cision made a similar proclamation in June.
- $100 million internal comms platform. Internal comms platform Firstup said it “surpassed $100 million in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR).” Private equity firm Sumeru Equity Partners acquired a majority stake in the internal comms platform SocialChorus for $100 million in 2020. Later, SocialChorus was merged with Dynamic Signal and rebranded as FirstUp.
- Pitch podcasts by noon. According to Muck Rack, 75% of podcast producers “prefer receiving pitches before noon,” and “receive 1-5 pitches per day. “When it comes to sources, 81% of podcasters consider academic subject matter experts as the most trustworthy.”
4. People on the move
- Mynewsdesk named Charlotte Eriksson as chief commercial officer and aims to “help strengthen growth and establish the company in new markets outside the Nordic region.”
5. Content picks
- Trust but verify. Don’t “accept all AI-generated information as factual,” writes PRophet in a list of things PR should and should not do with AI.
- “Kick-ass” PR blogs. Prezly published a list of the “15 most kick-ass PR blogs in 2023.”
Have an interesting announcement from a PR technology vendor?
Here’s the updated list of PR technology companies I’m watching and here’s how to get on my radar.
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