Vocus Vs. Meltwater: PR Database Features We Couldn’t Live Without

Vocus Vs. Meltwater: PR Database Features We Couldn't Live Without

Vocus Vs. Meltwater: The abridged story of our agency’s switch to Vocus and rapid return to Meltwater

After two years with Meltwater, I decided to give Vocus a shot for our agency’s PR database and media-monitoring platform. We’ve been happy with Meltwater, but Vocus seemed to offer some additional features and functionality that would be useful to our agency.

Despite my due diligence during the sales process, by the time it came to setting up my first campaign, it was evident that something was very wrong. There were several key features and functionalities missing from Vocus that made it a poor option for our agency. A couple of the missing features were things that probably should have been covered in the sales process, but were not. Additionally, two other features that were central to our decision were not delivered as promised.

After several unsuccessful attempts to work things out with Vocus, I re-signed with Meltwater.  So, without further ado, here are the features that we couldn’t live without:

NLP Search – Meltwater’s secret weapon:

Meltwater’s NLP Search is one of the most powerful parts of their PR database and is one of the major features that separate them from the rest of the pack. This is basically a Google search-type functionality cross-references search terms with keywords in articles to build power-ranked media lists. For many applications, this is far more powerful than searching by industry beat.

Say, for instance you are targeting journalists who cover something specific – in this case we’ll use the example of solid-state hard drives. With traditional functionality, you can identify journalists who follow computer hardware or storage beats. With Meltwater’s NLP you can search something like: “Enterprise SSD” OR “Enterprise Solid-State Drive” to pull a power-ranked list of the most influential journalists based on actual articles that they have written. You might also search competitor names to find journalists who have recently reviewed competitor products.

Blogger & Reviewer Database – That’s standard, right?

The other game changer for us was that Meltwater’s database covers bloggers and product reviewers. You would think that would be standard these days, but as I came to find out, Vocus does not cover bloggers in their database. Many of the outlets we are regularly in contact with that had no contacts in the Vocus database, despite a relatively high Alexa rank.  This was something that we just could not go without.

Importing Media Lists – Not such a big deal until you can’t do it anymore.  

Meltwater features a bulk import feature for media lists, so if your company has pre-existing media contacts, it’s as simple as uploading them via CSV file.

This feature is available with Vocus’ enterprise package, but you’ll have to pay to get it. Otherwise, you’re stuck paying for imports per contact or uploading manually one-by-one.

Multiple Users – Ahem. One at a time, please.

It’s been pretty nice to be able to have a couple people logged in to Meltwater at once – something that is not possible with Vocus unless you have separate user licenses. Sometimes we have different people collaborating on a project or couple different projects going on at once and Meltwater does not boot you out of the system when a second person logs in under the same user. It’s definitely one of those features that you don’t value until it’s gone.

Thanks for checking out my article and I hope it helps you in your search for the best solution for your business. Whether you’re considering a PR platform for your business, government agency, or PR firm, I’m always happy to help out.

For some businesses, it might make sense to compare the cost of having your own platform versus working with an agency that offers value-based pricing and expanded services like Alaniz. Please feel free to drop me a line or email me with any questions.

Have an experience to share? Please leave a comment below and we’ll definitely get back to you. Thanks again!

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About Andrew Erickson

Andrew is a partner at Alaniz and is responsible for heading up digital strategy and our organizational and technology infrastructure.

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