The world of digital marketing and search engine optimisation is filled with multiple tools aimed at helping to make your life easier. We, as marketers, can become reliant on these tools as they help to streamline processes, increase overall productivity and automate longer tasks. We trust them to work for us and our requirements, whenever called upon, and can sometimes pay a substantial amount for the rights to use them. One of the biggest expenses, for a single tool, an agency or marketer can purchase, is the influencer database they use. We decided to research, experiment and comment upon four of the leading influencer databases available for purchase. All the platforms we researched were pretty similar so we’ve started with Meltwater as it give you an overview as to how each platform will work.
Meltwater boast a number of case studies from the likes of Tough Mudder, bet365 and Autotrader. We were taken through their PR & Communications platform by managing director Robin Fitzhugh. The platform can be broken into two sections; a journalist database and a social influencers database.
The journalist database consists of 25,000 unique UK influencers and 125,000 US ones. When asking about the accuracy of matching journalists to their publications, we were told the platform is around 92% accurate. Much like the other tools mentioned below, you start by creating lists of contacts and outreach targets found in the database. You can create as many lists as you like, although the only downside is that they can’t be subcategorised.
In order to find contacts and journalists, you’ll need to use the search feature which is run by typing in keywords related to your outreach topic. The filter options available ensure you can specify whether the listed results match all, some or none of your keywords and you can specify an influencers location. Journalists found are tiered (another filter option) into high, medium and low, although this is based on readership figures and not their relevance or necessary worth. Many niche sites and journalists are likely to be found in the middle or lower tiers.
On top of the search, outreach can be conducted from the platform with tracking on email open rates, link click rates (within the email), the time the email was opened for and whether it bounced back or not. Although this sounds fairly basic, it’s a really nice feature to have and it offers insights into which of your outreach attempts works the best.
The social influencers database works in almost exactly the same way as the journalist one. With over 500,000,000 unique influencers (60,000 UK) and covering Twitter, Instagram and YouTube it’s a pretty comprehensive package (Facebook aside). Creating lists and outreach is largely done in a similar manner.
We really liked Meltwater and although it’s not perfect, we found that none of the other platforms were either! If you’re looking at the price, the journalist database starts at a reasonable £3,500 for the UK database with small extra costs for access to journalists internationally. The social influencer database is fairly expensive (more so for small agencies) with pricing starting at £6,000 for individual organisations or £22,000 for agencies. It’s worth noting that this database is more a whitelabel product for Klear. While we probably wouldn’t recommend using this, the journalist database seemed great and definitely worth considering. A big thanks goes out to Robin who took the time to walk us through the platform.
The next platform we took a look at was Muck Rack, which offered a far less personal approach than Meltwater. We received a 26 page slidedeck in which to base our decision. Admittedly they do boast clients as big as MasterCard, Reddit and Samsung, although for such a big outlay on a database we expected more.
Much like the other databases you start by prospecting a list of journalists. You have the option to search by typing in keywords, media outlets and locations to search for articles or journalists. The filtering, as well as the prospecting, is very simplistic and while it may not be suitable for large agencies, it seems great as a starter database. Once you’ve found your journalists and sites you can create a list that can be exported or shared with colleagues.
As you can tell this is very much like Meltwater so far. A key difference here though is that you can’t outreach from the platform. There’s no monitoring of response rates or how long an email’s been opened for but there is a media monitoring and alerts email. You can specify how many times a day you’d like to receive an email from Muck rack regarding a specific subject. You’ll then receive news and alerts of breaking stories and article about your given topic.
Once you’ve conducted your outreach you’ll be able to track who shared your link or article. It does however make it difficult to track links to specific pages which could mean you miss the overall impact of your link building campaign. We must admit that it’s nice to have a database that combines journalists and social media influencers (even if the emphasis is primarily on social media influencers).
Pricing for Muck Rack has to be requested and you’ll arrange a time for a call with them (finally a bit of personal contact!). They’re fairly secretive about this but we’ve heard that prices start at $99 for a severely limited use of the platform.
If you’re a PR specialist you’ll know about Cision. They offer a database that has social influencers and journalists incorporated into it. They boast over 1.6million database records so we decided to take a look at their PR Edition.
We won’t go over it again but Cision have an advanced search feature for publications and journalists, to the point you can even filter results down to those posting regional or breaking news. All the key features associated with the other platforms are available such as location and industry filtering too. You’ll be able to find all the journalists from the world’s largest publications as well as industry specific ones.
Once you’ve created a list you can distribute your press release or pitch. What’s fantastic about Cision is that you can design within the platform. Columned pitches can be created too, differentiating your pitch to the generic “Hi, how are you?”. You’ll also be able to use the analytics section for open and bounce rates to your emails, with in depth tracking indicating how successful your pitches have been.
For the full UK database you’ll be looking to pay £2,600 (+VAT). This is actually quite reasonable. The platform feels complete and you’re allowed up to 5,000 contacts per list. Although most lists won’t get this big, Cision were still quick to point out that you can create an unlimited amount of lists. You even have access to their press release distribution and can export lists as required. We really enjoyed our walkthrough and would consider this a reasonable alternative to Meltwater. A big thanks to Jamilah Kabasita for taking us through the Cision platform.
The final database we took a look at was GroupHigh. Like Meltwater and Cision we were taken through the platform personally and were impressed by what we saw considering they’ve only been established six years.
Once again we have a platform that make prospecting so much easier. GroupHigh has slightly more advanced search filters than Muck Rack, but less than Cision, yet they really seem to capture the majority of filters that you’d actually use. Location and keyword searches are must for any of these databases but GroupHigh also lets you search for actual blogs as well as influencers. This is their USP though. They can provide you with a list of direct blog rather than contacts. Of course the influencers are on there too, and can be found through the “discovery” part of the platform,
Another similarity between all of these blogs is the ability to create lists of your influencers and outreach targets. GroupHigh allows for lists to be subcategorized, enabling you to create folders for each of your clients. You can then store all projects and campaigns under one location.
The rest of the platform is very similar to Muck Rack. It’s a shame you can’t outreach from the platform but it’s not the end of the world. Social shares can be monitored and the latest posts for each blogger and influencer can be monitored.
In the same light as Muck Rack, prices for the platform aren’t readily available. There’s not a lot out there to give an indication of an exact price, but users of Quora have said it’s in the thousands. Thanks to Mitchell Cohen for taking us through the platform.
We’d recommend these as the best four databases we could find. We won’t say which one we think is best, as they all have their own pros and cons. We will say that they are all worth looking at.