Jottings by a tech PR consultant on a tireless quest for the next best tool, application, widget or Web site to help “balance” life between the cyber and real worlds.
If Twitter is the modern day equivalent of a soapbox, then Muck Rack Pro is the cocktail party (sans drinks and hors d’oeuvres). It’s a virtual forum where you can schmooze and make witty repartee with the press in the room. All you need is a computer or smart phone for Muck Rack Pro to drop you into any number of conversations with thousands of journalists who are tweeting about today’s breaking news or the article they are writing. It’s as if you have a bionic ear. Select a few search terms, and Muck Rack Pro does the eavesdropping then delivers the relevant tweets to your inbox from the far corners of the twittersphere.
Eavesdropping with Muck Rack Pro
I can imagine you might be saying to yourself that you can already find tweets about the topics you’re interested in by searching for key words on Twitter or with tools like HootSuite and Seesmic. This is true, but Muck Rack Pro zeroes in on the journalists who are discussing your topics on Twitter. That means you can be one of the first to hear about story opportunities, jump into the discussion and pitch story angles.
Tweets from thousands of journalists in Muck Rack Pro
Muck Rack’s Web site states that thousands of journalists have requested inclusion (a listing in Muck Rack means journalists get to use Muck Rack Pro for free), and “dozens of media outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, Financial Times and AP have shared their lists of journalists with Muck Rack.” The Web site says “all journalists are vetted by Muck Rack’s editors, who also proactively search the social web for journalists, before they’re added to the directory.”
The relevant tweets are sent to you in an email that includes links to view each tweet on Twitter or to reply directly from the email (see the next illustration). You get the name and title of the journalist and his or her publication. The first 10 tweets are free for communications professionals, but to see the rest you must sign up and pay for Muck Rack Pro. Pricing starts at $99 per month.
Once you become a member you get access to a members only Web site with a comprehensive Journalist Directory and The Newsroom where you will find the top “Stories Journalists Are Talking About” (see the first illustration). There are search tools to find journalists by beat, location and publication, and you can use these tools to track what the journalists are saying about your company, competitors and industry in real time. You can create your own Media Lists, and Muck Rack Pro intelligently makes note of what search terms you used to find them. These lists can be exported and merged with other media databases such as Cision and Vocus. There’s also a tab to view the Muck Rack Daily digest of breaking stories as they appear and are discussed on Twitter.
Your search terms can be as narrow or as broad as you like. If you choose a term like “venture capital” as I did, then don’t be surprised when you get a “Muck Rack Alert” email with 3,142 matches.
I had more success with my search term “Forbes Midas List.” That search term typically yields one or two tweets a day. It’s clear to me that I need to think more strategically about the three search terms that I have access to under my $99 per month program.
If I’m intellectually lazy (but feeling rich), I can pay $199 per month for 10 search terms. If I’m feeling really flush then I can pay $899 per month for unlimited search terms. Nah, I think I should put on my thinking cap and re-evaluate my search terms. This is a powerful tool, and it should be handled with care.
A PR colleague of mine tipped me off about the free Muck Rack Daily several years ago when it was launched in 2009. That was the first iteration of this Twitter search tool from Sawhorse Media, which also launched the Shorty Awards. You might start by signing up for the Daily to get an idea of the journalist tweet coverage it provides on every topic under the sun. You can sign up for a 30-day trial of Muck Rack Pro from there. The Muck Rack Blog has tons of information about how to get the most out of this service.
Muck Rack says that it “delivers a glimpse of tomorrow’s newspaper to you today.” They aren’t kidding. Every morning when I sit down with my cup of coffee to scan the two daily newspapers delivered to my door I see stories that I know started out with a single tweet the day before.
I was curious to find out what Muck Rack co-founder Gregory Galant envisions for the next iteration of Muck Rack. Here is what he emailed me yesterday:
“We’re building more tools for journalists to get better access to information and wider distribution for their work. We’re also making improved tools for PR pros and others seeking press to find the right journalists quickly and send extremely relevant pitches. Our goal is to put an end to the pitching spam that clogs journalists’ inboxes and ruins the reputation of PR people. “
So what are you waiting for?
When you sign up, say hi to Greg for me. Did I mention that he is extremely helpful and responsive to any questions that you may have?
For More Reading:
TheNextWeb.com: “This may be one of the most useful tools ever invented for media professionals, particularly those working in public relations.” Courtney Boyd Myers, East Coast Editor (12/1/2011)
MediaBistro: “It’s these email alerts that I’m particularly interested in: imagine getting an up-to-the-minute digest of the latest tweets from journalists about the topics you find most interesting, or whenever a journalist mentions your brand.” Lauren Dugan, Contributor (12/2/2011)
School of Information Studies Syracuse University: Quote by Muck Rack co-founder Gregory Galant: “Muck Rack has been tremendously well received by journalists. Over 5,000 journalists have requested to be listed, and dozens of top media organizations have requested we list all of their journalists on Muck Rack. Many journalism professors have now integrated Muck Rack into their curriculum.” Alyssa Henry, Graduate Student (2/29/12)
Niemanlab.com:“Muck Rack has transformed from a cesspool of banality into a truly useful site probably worth a bookmark. Now users can sort journalists’ 140-character dispatches into broadly defined beats.”