Customer Relationship Management or CRM, as it is widely known, has taken the world by a storm. CRM tools have revolutionized the way we work; being extensively used for sales, customer service, talent acquisition, and marketing among others. CRM offers many benefits to its users such as using various communication channels, such as messengers, including WhatsApp for Business, to drive productivity and collaboration among teams.
However, many PR professionals have been behind and are still using archaic solutions with disjointed workflows and spreadsheets to manage reporter information, send media pitches, and track progress in general. Interestingly, according to recent studies, more than 60% of PR professionals still use spreadsheets as a major tool of the trade.
But how exactly can CRM help PR pros with the above issues? Here’s how.
What is CRM?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a technology and a strategy. CRM systems enable organizations to focus solely on their relationships with individual people – who could be a group of customers, colleagues, service users, or suppliers. Even though as a tool CRM is heavily used for sales, its applications are not confined and can be used in varied sectors such as HR, customer services, supply-chain management, and PR outreach.
Benefits of using CRM for journalists/PR
A CRM for media relations or public relations, which is often known as a PRM (Public Relations Management), eliminates the usage of Post-it Notes, spreadsheets, and other tools that are traditionally used to keep journalists organized.
Here are seven ways a Journalist or a PR pro can benefit from using a CRM:
- Store and manage media contacts
A CRM system allows you to store and manage all of your media contacts in a single database. Such a system completely eliminates the dependency on multiple Excel spreadsheets and other tools to store information such as email correspondence, social media handles, conversation history, documents, payments and invoices, follow-up reminders, and everything else that pertains to a particular journalist or an influencer under one roof.
Most CRMs also provide a feature of organizing your media contacts with customized tags. This makes it easier for users to filter out contacts based on their needs.
- Track media contacts for follow-ups
Following up with journalists and influencers is an important but time-consuming task. CRMs allow users to automate most of the mundane tasks of scheduling follow-ups or sending follow-up emails. This eliminates the long chain of emails between you and your contact, completely utilizing the potential of the CRM platform to pitch relevant media collaborations.
- Track important data and KPIs
A data-driven PR is not a new thing.
Every business operation has always relied on data to understand the market, track metrics, and generate results. Using a CRM system provides a ton of information when it comes to analyzing the data. It helps you reveal and keep a track of all the important metrics and KPIs so as to continuously improve correspondences and find relevant influencers who are interested in your business or service. For example, you can track whether someone has read your email, or if someone has visited your website via the campaign, or the bounce rate of your email campaign. This allows you to improve your campaigns and outreach before the next email goes out.
CRMs also provide dashboards with powerful insights on campaign performance, reporter engagement, and outreach effectiveness, that can be easily shared as reports with your team and clients.
- Integrate multiple tools with a single system
Sales CRM systems often have integrations with multiple tools to track sales activities on different platforms. Similarly, PR CRMs provide integrations with tools such as Google Analytics and Gmail to track and correlate PR activities with business outcomes. This means users don’t need to keep track of metrics on different platforms, but rather can see the same on a single dashboard to make data-driven decisions.
- Collaborate easily with teams
If you have multiple PR teams working closely under a company, you may not always know who is pitching media requests to which reporter or have people already reached out twice to the same person. With continuous and disjointed campaigns to manage, this becomes a PR nightmare.
CRMs allow users to easily organize all their conversations with their media contacts in one software. You can collaborate with teams and integrate with communication software to keep your team informed about the latest updates.
- Ability to monitor news
Social listening is important to find new PR opportunities. PR CRMs now can track and monitor social news, conversations, and mentions about your company or about your competitors to identify relevant PR opportunities. This helps in building meaningful and productive relationships with journalists and influencers in the industry.
- Develop better personal relationships with insights
PR pros gauge their success based on the successful and meaningful relationships they build with their contacts. This could include their peers, clients, other media reps, and influencers. A CRM system for public relations shows more personal data about your media contacts, which includes their interests in movies, their favorite genre of music, and much more. This kind of personal information is important when sending out relevant media pitches and allowing you to connect with them on a personal level. This reduces over or under pitching.
Again, a PR CRM can do a lot more than what has been described above. It is a robust platform that allows you to enhance PR pitches, monitor media contacts, track social listening, and improve relationship management all in one single system.
Written by Keerthi Rangan