PR Newswire is primarily a content distribution service that specializes in press release articles. It allows you the opportunity to create and distribute your own PR articles through its own channels, which in its own words amounts to more than ‘700,000 journalist and blogger contacts’. It also maintains a constantly updated library of its most recent press releases published, free for anyone to browse through.
Accessing the service proper requires a yearly payment of $249 (or $195 if you agree to a recurring payment scheme), which provides a suite of tools designed to help its clients to disseminate their content, as well as to track and monitor their presence on both traditional and social media platforms.
At first glance, PR Newswire seems tailored for companies wishing to increase brand exposure, but it can also serve a dual-role as a competitive intelligence tool. This is due to its own targeting and monitoring tool called Agility, and its searchable database of published PR articles.
According to PR Newswire itself, Agility is designed as a one-stop solution for its clients, allowing them access to 700,000 contacts in both traditional and social media as well as the ability to track any mentions of your brand across them. Apart from that, you’re also given the opportunity to interact with those contacts in real-time, directly from the interface that Agility gives you, which is – in their own words – ‘the simplest to use dashboard interface in the industry’ that takes mere minutes to learn and master.
The main draw of Agility is apparently the consolidating of all tracking and monitoring to a single interface, where you can do any of the things described earlier in one place. In this sense, it’s rather similar to Google’s design philosophy of having things simple and accessible. You can bring up a screen for a look at news articles, blog posts or tweets with trending topics related to your brand, or click on a contact’s name to get their personal information (e.g. their e-mail addresses or LinkedIn account) and communicate with them directly on that platform.
This simplification is an advantage for anyone using the service. Traditionally, one had to manually log in to various social media accounts, or look up an Excel sheet to reach out to contacts in the industry individually. Not so with this application – its format allows for a much more streamlined process that helps its users save time.
Of course, a tool like Agility would undoubtedly be of great use to a marketing manager keeping track of the brand’s audience and rivals. The only thing that would keep would-be clients away from the service is its admission price, although for businesses serious enough about competitive intelligence, it should not pose a problem.