Using Marketing Automation and CRM tools for Public Relations Management

by Maria Pergolino on April 8, 2009

Press and analyst contact lists tracked in your marketing automation system allow you to view when media is visiting your website, reading your emails, or clicking through on your social media links.  This can be a very valuable tool for corporate communications because it will help you priorities your press follow-ups and will help you optimize your marcom efforts. 


The steps to do this are as follows:

  1. Import all press and media contact lists into your marketing automation system.  Alternatively, you can bring them into your CRM system and allow them to sync with your marketing automation system.  If you do not have a marketing automation system, you can do this only using your CRM system or using your CRM system in combination with an email marketing system, but you may have less data available to analyze after the public relations campaign (like their website activity). 
  2. Make sure that these contacts can be separated from the leads in your system.  This can be done by creating a lead source named media or by creating a new field that indicates which media list the contact originates from (i.e. analyst list, local press, etc)  You can also create a unique page layout for these in your CRM system so that you may capture information about the media representative, like their industry influence,  the publications they write for, or the strength of your relationship with them without having fields on your lead view that are not relevant to sales.
  3. Send company news to press prior to release distribution.    Include links to additional information, an email to contact, and additional company links of interest in the email.   Group all of these emails together with a parent campaign or list, which will allow for easier reporting and reporting on the entire group of PR campaigns. 
  4. Monitor which analysts or press representatives click through on links or send emails.  Follow-up with those that have taken interest to support their research efforts or send a follow-up email with additional information. 
  5. Record conversations with press representatives and analysts (outbound calls, voice mail left, inbound calls, in person meetings) and attach emails sent similar to how sales logs activities for prospects.  This will allow you to pull up a full record of your interactions so you are more prepared when speaking to press. 
  6. Review press that opts out of email notifications.  You may then choose to contact the press agent and discuss why you think your content is relevant to them.  You will also be able to see if certain types of announcements causes higher level of opt-outs. 


This can be taken one step further by utilizing your CRM to track press and analyst coverage of your company.  By monitoring this, you will see what causes the most press attention.  For example, if you pair the coverage received with the communications you sent to the press you will be able to run reports to see if analysts respond better to emails sent to them in the morning, or if they tend to give more coverage to emails that include pictures or videos, etc. 


You can also create workflow rules that notify your company’s communications specialist to follow-up with a press representative or analysts.  This can be based off of their online behavior, their reaction to an email (opens, clicks through) or on a lead scoring system that is augmented for media and analysts. 


I use as my CRM system, and have also implemented PR Manager, a free tool by Labs, for additional tracking of communications efforts.   This can be downloaded from the Salesforce Appexchange in minutes and the fields can be customized to meet your company’s needs. 


And to help analyze all my marcom efforts, I have created a public relations management dashboard and scheduled reports to track the success of these efforts.  This allows management to see what is happening in corporate communications without me having to run and email extra reports. 

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