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The Tech Tools We’re Using: How They’ll Help Your Company Improve Media Relations Too

By Rudi Davis 11 August, 2016

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Imagine scribbling down your company announcement on tiny pieces of paper. Then throwing them in the air over a journalist’s workspace. While you’ll certainly come off as eccentric, this isn’t the most effective way to get the media to notice your company. Sure, a journalist might read the few announcements that landed on her desk. But she’ll bypass the majority that landed on the floor.

Effectively interacting with the media requires more than scattered announcements. It takes some pretty serious organization skills – and without them, you’re in for some difficulties.

To run a successful media campaign, you need to keep up a steady flow of content, and find the most effective way to communicate with writers so they turn around and edit pieces quickly and efficiently. You need to reach out to the right journalists – ones that work in your industry’s beat – and personalize communication with each while respecting the deadlines they then request.

As you can see, there’s a lot to coordinate. That’s why we use some specific tech tools to help us stay on top of it all.

HubSpot CRM

The HubSpot CRM is a free software mostly used by our Sales team to help organize and track the sales pipeline. The CRM lays out things like which leads have been contacted, what deals have been made, how many calls have been placed and how many emails have been sent. Further, the HubSpot CRM tracks each interaction we’ve had with clients. Want to see every single email that’s ever been sent to our old client Chris? Click on his contact, and HubSpot lets you do that.

But technically, you could use HubSpot for journalists too. You could track how many members of the media you’ve contacted, how many emails have gone out, as well as your interactions with journalists and editors- that way, you’ll be able to make sure you don’t pitch to the same person too often, as well as track your follow ups with them.

We like the HubSpot CRM because it’s intuitive. The onboarding process is easy, and even less sophisticated teams can start using it from day one. Its new updates are really simple to use, too. We especially enjoy Sidekick by HubSpot, which allows us to see when emails have been opened. And then reopened.

Kanban Flow

Reaching out to the media requires an efficient workflow. And when you have almost 100 open campaigns, you need to be able to keep track of where each one stands. KanbanFlow is a lean project management tool that does just this: it gives us a bird’s eye representation of each campaign in our process.

Every department at Publicize has its own board on Kanban – from sales, strategy, editorial to marketing – and we’ve configured each to have the appropriate columns. So each time we complete a task – like finish a first draft, for example – the Kanban card gets moved over to the next column. In this case, it’d be the ‘sent to client’ column.

We’re able to customize each card by colour and title, upload documents to the cards, and comment on them, too. The cards also state a due date for the task – and if we go over, the column turns red. Eek. So really, it helps to keep on top of deadlines.

KanbanFlow costs just $5/month per user. They also have a great support team too, if you need help with the platform. But there’s no contract, so if you decide you don’t like it, no worries. It’s a pretty risk-free tool if you’re looking for help to keep track of your workflow.

Slack

Slack is how we communicate with each other. And we swear, we communicate through more than just GIFs. We have dozens of different channels on Slack, and each helps us to effectively speak with each other and to organize our workflow.  

With Slack, we write to each other about client relations. We use it to assign tasks, and to post articles that need to be edited. We use it for tech support to ask questions about our new Dashboard, and to publicly praise team members when they’ve done a good job. And yes, sometimes we use it to share funny videos, too. So as a team who is not always in the office, Slack helps to keep everyone in the loop about company happenings.

Google Docs

Google Docs enables us to share and collaborate on the pieces we deliver – and without it, things would get sloppy. It helps the editing process go smoothly. With Google Docs, writers are able to easily accept and incorporate the edits our internal editors, and then clients request. Google Docs makes it easy to communicate over a document, but also provides a means for us to co produce content that’s up to everybody’s standards.

Muck Rack

Muck Rack aggregates journalist’s information, all in one place. Thousands of journalists are featured on the platform – including their past articles, their tweets, and their email addresses. Muck Rack lets you search based on particular topics, publications and beats to find the reporter you want to reach out to. The platform is a huge win when it comes to gathering media contacts. It is quite expensive, but more reasonable than other platforms – the cheapest version starts at about $2000 per year with an annual commitment.

So although keeping up with multiple media campaigns does require serious organizational skill, there is technology out there to help you out. And investing time and money into them – although some are even free – will help you to run your media campaign like a pro.

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