Building better media lists
November 18, 2020

Building better media lists

Lynn Meadows | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Modules Used

  • Media Database
  • Campaigns/Emails

Overall Satisfaction with Cision Communications Cloud

Our agency has used Cision for many years. A year ago, we switched from the classic Cision to the Cision Communications Cloud. We mainly use this tool for building media lists. It helps us to better identify appropriate media contacts by location, subject area, type of publication, job role, etc. Theoretically, using Cision Communications Cloud provides the most current information on media contacts. We're told that Cision makes more than 20,000 updates a day. However, I have found that quite a few contacts are still outdated. We've provided frequent updates to Cision as we learn of incorrect information. I am the primary person using Cision in doing public relations work for my client — development and distribution of press releases, guest columns, media advisories, etc. My work sometimes includes the assistance of an intern. There is one additional person at our agency who uses Cision to build media lists for other clients. About a year ago, our agency switched to sending press releases out through the Cision platform for my client, rather than separately through Microsoft Word mail merge. Sending email press releases out through Cision provides an "opt out" function and also helps us to keep track of open rates.
  • When I send contact updates to Cision Communications Cloud customer support, they always reply, usually in a timely fashion.
  • I like the filters to the Cision Communications Cloud media lists which allow us to drill down by subject, job role, location, DMA, etc.
  • Our account manager (Mike Sullivan) has been friendly. He's been able to keep our subscription at the same price in recent years.
  • In the media influencer database, the classic Cision allowed us to do a zip code radius search to really drill down to the neighborhood level. That's because we do localized media advisories and press releases for events at neighborhood schools. One part of a big city like Chicago really doesn't care what's happening in another part of Chicago that's too far away. The zip code radius search was a feature in the classic Cision but not with the current Cision Communications Cloud. We've asked for this to be restored several times, but nothing's happened. In fact, we were told to use DMA — which actually goes wider in a search (bigger than a city), not more narrow as needed. This reflects a basic misunderstanding of what we need.
  • Another missing feature involves a merge field when sending out an email press release through Cision. This is the "select insert field" button in the upper right that's used to personalize a release with the media contact's name and other information. This is key for localization of the release. Many media outlets won't run a release unless it's local. While "county" is a feature in the influencer database when putting together a media list in Cision, "county" is not available to insert into a press release as a merge field. Counties are important because this is how many newspapers and health departments are organized and identify themselves. I've asked for this to be implemented, to no avail. As a workaround, we've had to use "contact city" or "outlet city."
  • After refining a media list in Cision using filters, I've had to download the list and take it offline to see the big picture, screen for duplicates, etc. While there is a button on the bottom left intended to help with this, it doesn't do the trick. That's because there may be multiple contacts with the same email address. In addition, one media contact may represent numerous media outlets, so this same contact could show up several times. It would be nice to have a better way to see the whole list online and eliminate both duplicates as well as those who previously opted out.
  • It seems as though media pickups have overall been down this year, perhaps related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Cision Communications Cloud has enabled us to develop numerous localized media lists for press releases, especially on grant recipients. These localized press releases have generated the best pickups that go beyond our KPIs (key performance indicators).
  • The ability to save media lists provide a great starting point for developing future lists. The "talking about" helps to see what media contacts are talking about, and whether they might potentially be interested in our news release.
While platforms like Meltwater seem impressive, functions like the "zip code radius" were important to us and weren't offered through those platforms. In addition, the price point seemed a lot higher with other platforms, especially if we wanted to track print clips (via LexisNexis) from small community newspapers. Ultimately, our longstanding relationship with Cision allowed us to keep our subscription at the same price point we've had for years.

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Cision Communications Cloud is good to help build media lists and keeping track of updates in media contacts — much better than if you were trying to do it without such a tool. It's good for sending out press releases via email, without having to pay additional money for PR Newswire. In addition, it's good if you have one main person at your company using Cision, as at least our subscription only allows one user at a time. It's less helpful if you have multiple users who need it simultaneously, as this would cost more. It's also less helpful for tracking outcomes because we don't have media monitoring, which would have cost an additional $10,000 or so. One of our clients did subscribe to media monitoring through Cision's NextGen, but it seems like the two platforms are not integrated very well. With this media monitoring, "clips" of print newspaper articles are provided via LexisNexis as text-only, and not as printed in the paper with a photo.