This article is specifically geared to my PR industry readers.  I have a question: do you use CisionPointCision seems to be a popular resource for PR professionals to gather information about various media outlets, reporters, etc. and stay on top of their work with multiple clients.  So what are the benefits and drawbacks of CisionPoint?

The Benefits of CisionPoint

CisionPoint is designed to handle many tasks at the same time.  With multiple tabs similar to a web browser, a PR professional can jump from task to task with ease.  CisionPoint goes from start to finish of a PR project: a PR professional can research target media using CisionPoint’s extensive media database, contact the media through lists generated using CisionPoint’s robust PowerSearch functionality, schedule the distribution of press releases, track media coverage of a client, and see which PR campaigns are most successful.

For large PR agencies, CisionPoint seems to be an easy-to-use software to manage multiple clients’ media relations efforts and communication streams.  CisionPoint allows PR agents to track interactions with journalists, including emails, phone calls, press release distributions and personal notes. 

Reporting is a very important tool in any business software.  CisionPoint allows PR professionals to guage their PR campaigns in regards to messaging, region, product and brand.  You can also analyze your social media presence or tailor a report for your specific goals.  Most importantly, you can prove the ROI in your campaigns.  A very interesting capability is that you can compare your results to that of your competitors.

The Drawbacks of CisionPoint

CisionPoint’s stock has not been doing well.  Why is that?  Perhaps it’s because media databases are paid information, information you could probably find on the internet for free.  (Granted, this would be extremely time-consuming internet research and not a particularly good use of a PR professional’s time who is being paid by the hour. Time is money, right?) The world of information has progressed from having to buy a set of World Book Encyclopedias to having free, constantly updated Wikipedia. But just as Wikipedia is not as reliable as the encyclopedia, off-the-cuff internet research is probably not as reliable as a robust media database. For this reason, CisionPoint offers much more than just a media database. 

Some of the information might also be gathered through Google Alerts.  Granted, Google Alerts probably wouldn’t be as accurate as CisionPoint, but it would be free. 

Overall, CisionPoint seems like a great product for PR professionals to manage campaigns from start to finish with extensive reporting data, and learn invaluable information about the reporters and publications that they are targeting so that they can engage with the media much more effectively.

My question remains: do you use CisionPoint?  If yes, what makes it so effective?  If no, why not?  

Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx, a provider of timesheet and resource software.