The use of technology in PR, particularly in the Indian PR industry has never been very encouraging. Probably because it’s still largely a handcrafted business or like many say, it’s more art than science. Even if the agencies are talking about automation, what they actually mean is adding social/digital expertise to their offering and not automating processes.
As discussed in my last post, the biggest challenge of the Indian PR industry today is finding the right talent. One of the very important tool to fight this challenge is to automate as many processes as possible and use the human resource for more strategic, ideation and relationship building jobs. Anything which frees up practitioners from repetitive activities to be more creative should be embraced.
Calling journalists to check if they have received your emails/press release and then get snubbed by them has become routine for most practitioners. When there are easily available email solutions, which offers you detailed reports on open, clicks and bounces.
Employees working in small to very large agencies have their own individual prized media lists. A new entrant or someone who have not worked on a particular beat, still have to beg; plead and sometime try to even steal media lists from others. Why not develop software where the list is built and managed centrally. I am sure it won’t even cost as much as an average monthly retainer fee of one client. Any tech graduate will easily do the job for you, but guess what, yet no agency has been able to crack this rocket science.
Large part of tracking is still manual and hence many missed clips, delayed reporting etc. Though many outsourced providers have been able to establish themselves after a lot of struggle, but the acceptance amongst the industry players is still low. If your data acquisition is automated, efficient and smart, you can churn out analysis that can easily position you as a knowledge consultant. The so called Big Data is being ignored just for the lack of foresight. It is not about tracking client and competitor coverage or tracking industry articles, but there are also things like trend spotting, industry sentiment mapping, media mood analysis and more things. Things like columns and special sections in each publication, when it appears, who does it etc., can also be tracked through effective automation. But does the industry willing to invest? If the cost of developing a brilliant tracking mechanism is too high for one agency then can they combine forces and invest collectively to build a robust analytical and measurement system?