I'm not in the habit of promoting products and services here, but I had a demo yesterday of a PR database tool that really caught my attention.
Most PR database services are still working in the paradigm that there are lots of journalists and analysts working at lots of publications where they work for many years and actually have focused beats. That's no longer true.
Today's journalists are mostly freelancers, bloggers and those still getting a paycheck are wondering if they are going to have to clear out their desks at the end of each day. Plus, they have to cover multiple beats and generally have to back up what's left of the staff. So it does no good to have a database that's updated annually, quarterly, monthly or even weekly about the personnel on any publication. And new blogs are popping up everyday.
I stopped subscribing to these services a few years ago because I started realizing that my personal database was ALWAYS in better shape than the databases I was paying for. I spent more time sending updates to the services, on my dime, then I got up-to-date information from them. And the services cost thousands of dollars, sometimes 10s of thousands of dollars. It was an incredible waste of time and money.
What I do is read. A lot. It helps to be able to read at 2000-5000 words a minute at 95 percent comprehension (not bragging because John Kennedy could do 10,000-20,000 at 95 percent comprehension). Since I remember so much I generally know who wrote what and when. That's what a professional PR guy is supposed to be able to do. The database services don't help with that at all. The real value of a pro is the relationship you have with the journalist. To have a real relationship, you have to know what he is up to and what he wants to see. You won't be able to do that if you don't read his stuff.
So when I got a call from my old Businesswire buddy, Reynolds Morgan (who left BW a while ago) and he said he had a new PR database service, I swallowed hard and said OK, but only if he was buying the coffee. What I saw knocked me out.
PR Matchpoint is the first service of it's kind that actually works like a professional does. It isn't based on beats (which don't exist) or staff and contact lists (that change weekly) or even editorial calendars (which are useless now). What it does is track the articles that have been written about thousands of subjects in the past six months, who wrote them and how to contact them.
The GUI is incredibly simple. You type in a string of subjects, without commas, on the left side of the screen, an then on the right, you click either the media or blog button. In a matter of seconds, a list of all the articles, with publication and author pop up on the right side. You scroll through, find one you like and click on it. It shows the author's contact information and all the articles written by the author on your subject matter.
The thing that really knocked me out, though, was how damn good it was. It typed in a few arcane phrases and was stunned that the top five journalists that had written articles I was familiar with in the past six months were at the top of the list. Reynolds didn't even know what it was I was talking about but he was happy that I saw the value.
Here's the best part, though. The cost right now is less than $1000 a year.
This is, hands down, the best PR tool I have seen for 10 times the price. If you are a pro, it makes your job easier. If you are a newbie, it makes you better. If you are interested, drop me a line and I'll give you Reynolds contact info.