Ever thought of using a CRM system to manage your media relations?

Managing relationships with the media is a big part of PR. You have to know which members of the media cover which topics, how you can contact various media members, when the last time you spoke to each person was, what you discussed during your last conversation, what kind of results you’ve gotten from your relationships… and so on and so on.

Needless to say, it can be a bit overwhelming, but savvy PR pros have started using CRM software to better manage their media relationships.

CRM software is customer relationship management software. It’s what companies use to track their relationships and interactions with customers, typically for marketing purposes. The point is to organise, automate, and synchronise business processes with the goals of finding and winning new clients and doing a better job of retaining the clients you have.

But how can a PR pro use CRM software to manage relationships with the media?

Well, think about it. Reporters, editors, and bloggers are your target customers. You’re selling stories to them, and you need to be successful at closing these deals. With CRM software, you can:

• Identify which reporters are your best “customers” — with a CRM system, you’ll be able to easily track which reporters show interest in your stories, which don’t care, and which ones fall somewhere in between. By knowing who your best “customers” are, you can focus on improving and maintaining those relationships as well as tailoring your pitches to fit their interests.

• Figure out what’s working and what isn’t — the great thing about CRM software is that it allows you to track every single interaction you have with your contacts. When you take a step back and look at these interactions and their outcomes, you should be able to identify patterns of things that work and things that don’t work. Embrace data. It can be your best friend.

• Never forget to follow up — following up with reporters is essential. From following up on your pitches to see if the reporter has interest in your story to following up with a simple “thank you” after you’ve gotten some media coverage, it’s important to follow up at the right time. CRM tools allow you to set reminders that will let you know when you need to follow up with a particular contact. This ensures you never forget to follow up and that you do so at the right time.

• Make notes that help you better understand each reporter — with CRM software, you can add notes to each contact’s name. This is important because it helps you to better know each reporter. For example, one reporter might not like to be contacted by phone. You can make a note of this so that you don’t call them in the future and annoy them. Or another reporter might be particularly interested in stories with a human interest twist to them. Make a note of that and pitch those types of stories to that reporter. The better you know each individual, the more targeted and effective your pitches will be.

About the author

Michael O’Connor is a partner at Grey Sergeant and specialises in marketing communications and PR in the consumer and B2B sectors. Grey Sergeant provides strategic advice and planning and promotes businesses through integrated marketing, PR, media relations, social media, digital marketing and events. For more information please contact michael.oconnor@greysergeant.com