Doesn’t it sometimes seem as if there are so many different PR and social media tools out there that it’s often hard to not only keep track of them all? Never mind trying to figure out what makes the most sense for you – both from a funcationality standpoint as well as from a cost standpoint.
At V3, we’re perpetually discovering and experimenting with new tools, for our own use as well as to help make what we do for our clients more efficient, effective and impactful. PressKing is a PR tool that we’ve been experimenting with during the course of the last several months and we’ll share some thoughts with you.
PressKing bills itself as a comprehensive suite for PR management and provides not only press release distribution (competing against the likes of PRWeb, PR Newswire, Pitch Engine and a myriad of others), but also media monitoring and domain tracking, all combined into a single web interface.
What We Didn’t Love: Pricing
I’ll tell you the things we didn’t like about the tool first. It’s our thought that the pricing and offerings could be – and should be – more robust. For their entry level package of $39/month, you’re permitted one press release a month, media monitoring of five keywords and domain tracking for 5 domains. For us, this just wasn’t enough. But we weren’t sold enough yet on the platform to dive in and agree to higher levels of service (offered at $79/month and $299/month, respectively).
To be blunt, we suggest that whomever came up with this pricing doesn’t know much about how agencies work. Their $79/month plan claims to be perfect for “bigger start-ups, SMEs, PR professionals and small agencies.” Really? Small agencies who might only need to send 2 releases a month and monitor media coverage for a whopping 10 keywords? Sorry, that’s not nearly enough for most small agencies that we know – what do you think?
The way we viewed it was that you got pretty much nothing at the $39/month level; a little bit, but not nearly enough for an agency to serve multiple clients at the $79/month level; and had to blindly commit to $299/month in order to really use the platform with any real effectiveness for multiple clients. To be fair, PRNewswire, PRWeb and other media services can be exponentially more expensive, but if this is a solution that agencies might explore in lieu of one of the big dogs, it might make sense for PressKing to slightly retool their offerings and accompanying pricing – as well as their marketing message.
What We Did Love: Reporting
The thing we loved most about the tool was simple. Their tool provides you with a detailed report on how many releases were distributed via email and how many via social media. Even better, it not only reports how many were opened or clicked, it shows exactly who opened your release. That was the swoontastic functionality that got our PR team pretty excited. There’s also a social media distribution component that shows you how many hits on your release came from Facebook, Twitter and other sources, which isn’t unusual, just a nice component of the overall offering of the PressKing tool. Here’s a look at the kind of results you can see after you’ve distributed a release:
Being a data-loving freak, I also liked PressKing’s media monitoring reports and found that they regularly served up some great information for the few clients we were able to monitor and track. And I liked their dashboard and the functionality that they continue to add to it on a regular basis. That’s the kind of thing that hooks someone like me.
What PressKing’s Platform Offers
PressKing is an interesting platform and if you’re in the market to check out something new, it’s definitely worth a look. To recap, it offers the following:
Press and Social Media Releases
Online and Social Media Monitoring
Domain Tracking and Performance Analytics
Social Media Account Management
Dedicated Press Room Facebook App
Their customer service has been good enough – and we appreciate the fact that the folks at PressKing were generous enough to give us a free six month trial so that we could evaluate their platform.
For us, the functionality just wasn’t there to allow us to really test the tool to the fullest extent without buying the service. Our “test” allowed us to send one press release a month (which was kind of ridiculous), and monitor five keywords. The domain tracking that our trial included was supposed to include five domains, but in reality the platform only permitted us to monitor two, which again, didn’t afford us the chance to really test drive the service in the best possible manner.
If You’re Going to Offer a Test Drive, Know Who’s Testing
We did stop to wonder – on more than one occasion, if the folks at PressKing weren’t being short-sighted in what they permitted us to test. As an agency, we have a big digital footprint and write a lot about products and services we like, so it might have made sense for them to have been given us more to experiment with rather than less. And perhaps as a result, fall more in love with their tool than the limited trial permitted. We certainly have the budget to spend to buy one of their large or custom packages, but like businesses of all size everywhere – we’re often not going to do that without knowing more. Bottom line, it’s not our job to teach companies about how to court and/or manage potential brand ambassadors … and those decisions and the homework that goes into them are certainly theirs to make. But we would have definitely had a better experience with a better trial that was more suited to our business and client needs.
All in all, there were some things we really liked about PressKing and others that didn’t wow us so much. In our minds, they compete against PitchEngine, whose service we pay for and use, and while their functionality in some cases is better, there are other things that we like about PitchEngine that keep us around. If PitchEngine integrated some of the things PressKing is doing into their service, they would be a clear favorite. In all fairness, that also might be because I know Jason Kintzler, PitchEngine’s founder, and like how he’s put a personal feel – and his face and name – to the brand in the online space. Because of the relationship and the human element that I can attach to the PitchEngine brand, I naturally want it to succeed. Hmmm, the power of humanized brands – where have we heard that before?
Definitely check out PressKing, though. They offer a free trial that you can check out. And, if you do experiment with the service and/or if you’re already using it, do let us know what you think. We’re always interested in feedback from others and would love to hear what your experience has been and what you think.