- A DIY solution for consultants and agencies with managed service offerings
- Simple UI
- Public relations tracking dashboard
- Expensive for smaller organizations and budgets
- Support tied to European time zones
- No HTML manipulation for the DIY solution
PR.co is a Netherlands-based public relations software company that distributes a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for the modern organization. Based on our interactions with the company and our use of the platform for this review, PR.co is a content management system (CMS) unlike we’ve seen. Between the managed services and simple DIY solutions, PR.co is a solution that could benefit any nonprofit or advocacy organization.
CMS for public relations
Unlike the open source frameworks of WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, PR.co is a proprietary CMS SaaS built to release and distribute public relations material through multiple media channels. These channels include email, landing pages, social networks, and other avenues of content distribution. Similar to Cision on the analytics and data management side, the platform offers tracking and analytics, giving marketers and communication leads the information they need to track the media impact of press releases.
PR.co offers a managed service for organizations that is custom built to include an integrated press release stream on a website and a back end CMS serving as a “virtual newsroom.” Most clients that employ PR.co receive custom builds that are based on the metrics, provisions, features, and overall needs of a client. We, however, focused on the DIY solution the company offers that provides for much latitude within organizations to manage their PR strategies outside of a traditional blog roll.
The DIY iteration of the software that we tested emulated the back end of traditional CMS systems. There are spaces for social and SEO optimization and integrations for email lists, social follower lists, and overall distribution streamlining. However, we were the most impressed with the content editors. Built to emulate the WYSIWYG text editors that Medium pioneered, creating content in the PR.co platform is very easy to do. Content creators can write copy, post videos, and integrate other visual elements that include images, GIFs, and other embeddable media. The text editors support over 300 sources of embeddable media from sites such as Giphy, YouTube, Vimeo, and others.
The customization is limited for front end elements, though. Users who deploy the DIY solution of PR.co’s software can edit some front-facing elements coded in CSS; however, there is no HTML manipulation allowed. To simplify the user experience, DIY users must upgrade to a managed service and allow PR.co’s staff to create the solution a client needs. Nonetheless, the DIY iteration of the PR.co software is conducive to collaboration, monitoring, and content creation.
Distribution features and analytics
The DIY distribution features are compelling as well. For example, distributing contacts can be parsed up across several genres and media verticals. The most used from what we can tell is the email feature. Similar to an email service provider or marketing automation platform, users can send out public relations content to email lists that are imported and exported to and from external lists. With the email feature, users can target and segment mailing lists of press contacts, influencers, donors, and others through industry-standard filters. These filters include geolocation, biographics, demographics, professional affiliations, content interests, and others. Each of these filters can also be customized. Then, users can send out the content to the necessary segments and lists and track open rates, click-through rates, and bounce rates. Other analytics that can be monitored include post views, social media shares, and general traffic metrics. All of this analytical data can also be exported into CSV files for external use.
Support regime and user experience
During our demo of the PR.co platform, we enjoyed how simple the user experience is. For starters, the first dashboard viewed upon launch tracks performance and content calendar schedules while offering an attractive color scheme that was visually pleasing. Menu navigation is also simple, among other elements of a flexible and accessible browser-based SaaS. According to our user satisfaction research, all users that submitted reviews to GetApp and Capterra ranked their experiences with PR.co with four stars or higher out of a five-star maximum. Most users cited the ease of use and customer support as leading reasons for many of the high scores. From what we’ve reviewed, the support regime PR.co offers is very responsive and efficient while also offering DIY troubleshooters a continuously updated knowledge base and onboarding program.
The only issue we found is the time zone difference. All of PR.co’s support team is based in the Netherlands and offers support during business hours, local time. Chances are, many of Telegraph’s readers are American consultants in the public affairs, political, and advocacy spaces along the east and west coasts. That means, there is a multi-hour time difference between the customer and the customer support team in the Netherlands. In fact, the reviewer for this review had to take the demo call at 1:00 AM MST (Mountain Standard Time) while it was 9:00 AM CET (Central European Time) in Amsterdam–PR.co’s headquarters locale.
PR.co’s managed service or DIY SaaS solution could be pricey for smaller organizations facing budget constraints. Managed service plans begin at €599 ($680.55 based on current exchange rates) per month. There is an enterprise option for larger scale products. Luckily, the DIY solution is much more affordable at $120 per month per newsroom. Keep in mind; budgets for marketing, communications, and public relations can be tight, as we stated. If the budget permits, users should try PR.co out. Nonprofits and other qualifying non-governmental organizations can additionally apply for discounts offered by the company. Traditional CMS systems that are free via open source are also viable solutions for a “newsroom.” But, PR.co does provide a service that frameworks such as WordPress and Drupal don’t offer.
What we think
PR.co is a diamond in the rough. We do recommend this platform as a CMS SaaS solution for larger organizations that have the budget to deploy a public relations-focused strategy. But, smaller organizations can easily scrape by with the use of a traditional CMS or cheaper public relations solution like Cision or Agility PR Solutions.
If you have any feedback on this review or you would like to suggest an app for us to review, please drop us a note – firstname.lastname@example.org.