Vocus' PR suite info is user friendly and easy to export

Vocus' PR suite software provides a media database of more than 400,000 journalists and bloggers; news, blog, and social media monitoring; analytics; and press release distribution.

Specifications
Vocus' PR suite software provides a media database of more than 400,000 journalists and bloggers; news, blog, and social media monitoring; analytics; and press release distribution.

Cost
Starts at under $2,000 for a yearly subscription.

User
Kristen Barnfield, assistant VP of PR at disability and special needs non-profit Easter Seals, has been using it for about seven years.

How do you use it?
It's a pretty user-friendly online tool. We just log on to our account. We've customized our screen, including making the areas we use more prominent.

You purchase a number of seats and that dictates how many people can be in the system. We have two seats. Many people at Easter Seals use it, but only two people can be in the system at one time.

There are tabs for media outlets, news coverage, and analytics that you can maneuver in and out of.

We use it for research, to create media lists and learn about reporters, and to track our engagement with them. It's communications command control for talking with reporters.

We also use it to distribute press releases and email campaigns. It syncs with Vocus' PR Web service and lets us distribute press releases in a simple online form. It also brings in reporting from PR Web on the backend.

If there's a problem, we usually use the instant chat function. In most cases that's been enough, and it's fast. Otherwise we'll talk to our account representative.

How does it serve your business needs?
At our headquarters, we use it as a media database, to distribute communication to reporters, and monitor results in traditional and new media.

I look at our coverage, mostly from a traditional media perspective, though the tool is getting better with new media as well. I look at our impressions, quality of coverage, ad value, and whether mentions are positive and neutral. Then I translate that and use it to create big reports for our senior leaders. We can also create and share smaller reports on news as it's coming in.

And we use it to support our 75 affiliates in local marketing and PR efforts.

How does it integrate with your existing infrastructure from and IT standpoint?
It is web-based.

What are the main benefits?
It is very easy to export information into other formats such as PDF, Excel, and PowerPoint, so we can share it.

It is really user friendly and there are great free online classes. We have a lot of interns, and they are able to pick it quickly.

Vocus also has an annual professional development conference with good PR thought leaders, which is a nice added benefit.

What are the main drawbacks?
Not being able to get TV coverage that is aired about Easter Seals. Right now, we have to go elsewhere for viewing, monitoring, and analyzing broadcast video.

What would you like to see improved/added?
I'd like a mobile app. I travel quite a bit, and it would be nice to access some of this information on my phone or tablet.

Competitors
Cision – provides a media database, press release distribution, media monitoring, and media analysis

Meltwater – products include an online media monitoring tool; a social media monitoring tool; and a tool a media contact database, media planner, editorial calendars, and reporting tools

MyMediaInfo – provides a media contacts database, including social media contacts, editorial calendar opportunities, a media monitoring platform, and customized coverage reports

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