The 5 best public relations & management software tools in 2023

The 5 best public relations & management software tools in 2023

Everything you need to know to choose your new PR software.

Looking out the window of your home office at all the flying cars and hoverboards and wondering if it's time to finally swap in that Rolodex for something a little less analog? Well, you've come to the right place.

"PR software" is an awkward umbrella term that swallows everything from newswires to campaign builders, which can make meaningful comparisons hard. For the purposes of this post, we'll be looking at the main comprehensive PR software solutions available on the market – i.e. those that promise to cater to pretty much your entire workflow minus the Starbucks integration (one day 🤞). For a more broad tool overview, try our article on 25 PR tools to help you manage your media relations.

We're all busy people, so I'll stick the comparison table right up top to save you the scroll, and if you want more info, there'll be more words below that, cool? Let's g-

But moving PR software is hard!

Look, I know, it's scary. [Insert euphemism about parent getting down with the kids] But if you do it right, then you won't have to do it again for a good long while. Hence the comparison table.

Best public relations software of 2023: feature comparison

👉 Scroll sideways to see more 👉

"Wait a second!"

I hear you cry. "Prezly is one of the PR software tools you mention! That's flagrant nepotism." Of course, you're right – this whole article is but a ploy to lure you into giving Prezly a try.

But! That doesn't make the table above any less true or helpful.

It isn't in my best interests to suck you in with shiny promises and then never deliver. For one thing, our support team would kill me. No, it's far better for me to be upfront about what Prezly does and does not do, so you can decide whether you're better off with us or with one of our charming competitors.

With that in mind, I sincerely hope you find what you're looking for below.

Choosing your new PR software

Here's how I would go about it:

  1. Outline what you want from your PR software
  2. Divide and conquer (get one or two people to test tools and get back to you)
  3. Take advantage of free trials, demos, and reviews
  4. Choose Prezly (I'm KIDDING)

But first, let's get an idea of what makes these PR tools different.

The key differentiators between these PR tools

Here are a few key things you should ask yourself.

(And if it feels like Prezly is coming up an inordinate amount, it's only because we do this thing where we speak with our clients, find out what they want and then build those things into our software. Wild, I know.)

Am I looking for a way to manage my contacts?

How do you and your team currently manage your contact lists? What's your process for keeping them updated? Is it easy to share updates across your team?

If you're still using pen and paper to manage your contacts – or worse, Excel – then it's likely you can save literally hours each week by switching to a CRM (that's Contact Relationship Manager for any non-nerds). And I'm not even saying a good CRM – literally any CRM will be a marked improvement.

It turns out that most PRs can save 2 hours a week just by switching to a CRM.

It's true! I have the science to prove it. In our 2019 Global PR Survey, which interviewed more than 400 PR and comms people worldwide, we found out that PR pros who use a spreadsheet to manage their contacts lose 2 hours every week vs those who use a CRM 😱

Moving onto a CRM is an immediate step you can take to make your work more effective and your life that little bit easier.

And if all you're in the market for is a CRM, you can take a look at our separate roundup of market options, though I'd strongly encourage you to try one of the all-in-one PR software tools listed in this article – it will do wonders for your organization (and your migraines) to centralize all your comms in a single cohesive tool.

Do I want an online newsroom?

There are basically endless benefits to storing your press releases in an online newsroom, whether you make it live to the world or not.

A public newsroom that lets you take advantage of SEO makes it possible for new people stumble upon your stories, increasing your exposure – that's free lunch for consumer brands.

A private newsroom lets you share stories and assets with your contacts on a need-to-know basis, and gives you the opportunity to prepare crisis newsrooms, online press kits or internal newsrooms (quickly becoming indispensable for enterprise businesses).

Four of the five tools listed in our table above offer newsroom functionality, with a few nuanced differences. Pay attention to:

  • The number of newsrooms included in the subscription price. Do you want only one, or do you work with multiple clients that would be interested in having a newsroom each? Have an idea of this upfront as adding more newsrooms once you're committed can jack up your subscription price
  • Who will build your newsroom. This can create a barrier to entry for those of us without developers at our beck and call. Some solutions comes with professionally designed themes that are ready to use straight out of the box (yes, like Prezly), while others will build your newsroom for you for a one-off fee. Have an idea of your budget, resources and timeline before you buy in
  • The analytics on offer. Most newsroom software will let you plug in Google Analytics, while others have reporting built in (Prezly has both!), giving you an idea
  • Whether they include SEO capabilities. If you want your stories to appear in online search results, you'll need a tool that lets you define things like meta title and canonical URL

Do I want to buy a media database?

Some all-in-one PR software gives you the option to purchase media contacts within the app itself – which can be helpful if it fits in with your comms strategy, but also has some downsides, as we'll see below. Others refuse to offer this feature because it comes with legal, technical and moral implications, like GDPR-compliance, increased SPAM penalties and the ability to sleep soundly at night.

Even if your PR tool doesn't come with its own media contacts, you can always use an external tool to buy the occasional list and import it into your CRM for polishing.

But is it a deal breaker? That's up to you.

Here's a little context.

How to build a better PR media list (+ the best tools & template)
How to build a better PR media list (+ the best tools & template)

An in-depth guide to setting up and managing your PR contacts

Buying a media list is exactly what it sounds like – you get a static list of contact details for a few hundred journalists and some company profits over selling you this personal data. (Is that GDPR-compliant? Jury's still out.)

Now, in the old days when people were chained to one desk for their entire career and the internet didn't exist, this worked pretty well. Today? Not so much.

Because in an age where even plain old me gets pitched stories daily, imagine how much inbox garbage the average journo has to wade through. And that would be fine if said stories were relevant, but in reality, it turns relationship management into a numbers game: spammers and lazy marketers (sorry, marketeers) download your details in one bold stroke and blast out their email to everyone on it without nary a hoot given to whether or not you may be interested (or indeed, who you actually are). Why? Because it's easy.

Does buying a media list mean you're one of these awful people obsessed with shoe history? No, but it does put you in their company, and it means that your well-thought-out, nuanced email appears midway through a stack of inbox stuffers.

After all, if you have these people's emails, it stands to reason that several hundred other stressed out PRs (and salespeople) have them too.

It's little surprise that blasting emails out to randos you bought from the internet equivalent of a man in a trench coat doesn't herald sterling results.

On top of that, journalists simply move around too much to make buying media lists a viable option, since so many of the contact details are out of date by the time you actually send your campaign.

But this makes for a very biased overview. There are benefits to buying media lists too – of course there are. If people can put a moral spin on Twitter, we can do anything. For example, maybe…

  • You buy media lists to merge with your existing database so you can see any conflicting or outdated emails, or
  • You buy media lists to distribute only certain types of generic story, and keep the big news for your closest contacts

There are ways that the purchase of media lists makes sense, but that's down to you and your PR strategy. When it comes to choosing PR software, you need to decide what makes sense for you.

Some PR tools will offer media lists as part of their package, others won't – usually for the reasons stated above. If you want a little of both, you can also consider using a separate media contacts database to occasionally top up your main PR CRM, which can be a good way to go if that CRM will help you see which of your shiny new contacts have broken email addresses.

What's my budget?

PR tools are normally priced along three parameters:

  • Number of user seats
  • Usage
  • Features

The most common use-cases tend to come pre-bundled in subscription tiers, and it's worth remembering that the lowest tiers may not be the most cost-effective option for you.

To use Prezly as an example, a lower subscription tier that gives two users the option to publish four newsrooms costs more than a Premium Plan that includes up to five newsrooms as well as extra features, like user permissions, coverage logging and a portfolio hub room.

That's why it pays to use any online price calculators available or speak with the team about your particular requirements when evaluating the best PR management software for you.

Use price calculators to compare pricing across subscription tiers
Use price calculators to compare pricing across subscription tiers

It's also worth exploring whether the software you're eyeing offers specialized pricing for your particular use-case – many tools offer discounts for NGOs, while some have an agency pricing plan.

Whatever your current position, think about what you want from the software now and whether that's likely to change in the next year or two. Are you planning to grow your team? Or maybe you'll want to set up an extra newsroom or two down the line, or a PR portfolio?

You don't need to have all the answers, but having an idea of how your software needs might evolve in the near term will help you get a feel for how much it's likely to cost you over the next few years.

When working out your budget, you'll probably already be taking into account any existing software subscriptions that this new tool could save you. But you should also be mindful of the softer gains an all-in-one PR tool can bring, such as the time saved collaborating with your coworkers, switching between multiple tools, or waiting to hear back from IT or marketing about publishing your latest newsroom updates.

Still need help making up your mind? Let's see if we can simplify things.

How to evaluate PR software ✅

Several of these tools offer free trials, which I personally find the best way to establish whether or not a piece of new software is right for me. Demos are helpful too, but it's usually difficult to get a good idea of how a tool impacts on your day-to-day until you're, well, actually using it.

Of course, a trial will only give you as much as you're willing to invest in it.

Here are a few guidelines to make sure you don't waste your free days with your shiny new plaything.

1. Outline your workflow

Before you begin, outline what it is that you actually do every day – i.e. your workflow. That should include any frustrations and tasks that take up a disproportionate amount of your time, as well as a wishlist of things you would like to try in the near future. (This wishlist may well be the reason you're looking at new PR software in the first place!)

Your outline might look something like this:


  • Check email for replies from media contacts, update any details in Excel
    • Frustration: can't see if someone else of the team has made changes to spreadsheet; sometimes contact details are changed and I don't know if it's by accident or on purpose
  • See who has not responded to the last campaign and plan follow-up
    • Frustration: working with Mandy on this one, so have to coordinate with her to see who's replied, but she's off for the rest of the week for her cat's birthday 😩
  • Email [xyz] journalists with photos and video assets for [brand]
  • Find a way to get the latest press release draft off Mandy's computer 😑 if can't, tidy up last version we have
  • Send Word draft of new press release to [client] for sign-off
  • Set alarm for 2:30am to hit send on campaign for the Life–Work Balance Institute
  • Wishlist:
    • Find a better way to store and share media assets
    • Get a view of which journalists are good bets to follow up with
    • Find a better way to share working drafts between self and Mandy/Mandy's cat


Ok, now the reason you put yourself through that exercise isn't to make yourself completely jaded about your career.

This list gives you a great starting point from which to approach your PR software search.

From the list above, we can see that Mandy's coworker would benefit from being able to share things like contacts and press release drafts within their team, and even with clients. We also know that they're currently using Excel to store contact data, and Microsoft Word for drafting press releases, which means there's a huge opportunity to free up their time with something like a CRM (contact relationship manager) or an online newsroom tool. It also sounds like they need to be able to share media assets with select contacts, meaning that the option to publish a press kit or at least store those assets online could go a long way.

Now, compare that with our PR software comparison table above.

The tools that meet the criteria for a PR CRM, online newsrooms and press kits are Prezly, Presspage and Prowly. Of those, Prezly and Prowly offer a free trial, so I would start by dedicating a few days to trying both, and likely book a demo for the third option.

2. Commit to actually testing the software

Of course, signing up for a trial is the easy bit. Once you get access to the software, you need to commit to using it for the next few days and really get a feel for what it offers.

Click around, try setting up a newsroom, importing some contacts, sending a campaign to yourself and your team. Take a look through any onboarding resources available to get an idea of what features might be squirreled away for you to find; a company's changelog can give you a good idea of what features are available, as well as what they are prioritizing building and how frequently they update.

Skimping on this part of the journey pretty much invalidates the research you've done so far, so pencil in a good week or two for testing.

3. Get your team to help

Very few of us work in a silo, so why would we test out software by ourselves? If you work in a team, you need to be sure that the PR software you choose works for everyone's workflow, not just yours.

At the same time, you don't want to wind up in the position of having too many cooks; or, as a well-known African proverb says: If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. This wisdom is also relevant to management changes within organizations.

You don’t have to change your entire communication strategy right away.

It’s all about seeing what works first, so avoid large committees and long meetings. Have one or two people look into the possible solutions, own this process, and report back their findings to the rest.

Btw – our 14-day free trial (did I mention we had a trial?) includes three seats, so do get your team involved in helping you make that decision.

4. Don't get suckered in

It's pretty standard practice for companies to roll out the red carpet for prospective leads and promise them the world, only for things to start falling apart once you're locked into a contract.

Switching PR software isn't something you want to do very often, so it's best to do a bit of due diligence now and save yourself a headache down the line. Here's what I would do.

  • Consider speaking with people who already use the software you're evaluating (the support team for any tool would likely be happy to put you in touch), or at the very least, check out independent reviews on sites like Capterra; bear in mind to look at the total number of reviews for each tool as well as the overall sentiment
  • Ask about the pricing plans that are available for your particular use case and any discounts on offer – for example, you will often save around 20% on the monthly price by subscribing to a full year upfront, while Prezly offers a discounted rate for NGOs as well as a specialized subscription plan for PR agencies
  • Find out whether you should expect pricing to increase with the number of user seats, newsrooms, contacts stored in your CRM or number of campaigns sent

So there you have it – the top PR software options to help you conquer the media world! Remember, whether you're a one-person show or a team in the double-digits, there's a solution out there that can help you get the job done.

So what are you waiting for? Make like a corduroy pillow and create some headlines :)

Kate Bystrova

Kate Bystrova

Chief Storyteller, Prezly

Published April 2023

Psst! Are you a marketer from one of the tools listed above and feel like I've missed something in my comparison? Get in touch! (I won't bite.)

I want this page to represent the reality of what's on offer and help people find their software match made in heaven. Obviously I'd love for them to give our free trial a go, but if your tool can serve them better, who am I to stand in the way of fate? If something is out of date or you've just launched a feature that turns a ❎ into a ✅, let me know :)

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