Is ProfNet Worth It?

Reporters may need to seek out help from PR contacts to meet a deadline.

Public relations people, particularly those in media relations, spend a lot of their time working with members of the media by offering story ideas, setting up interviews and generally doing anything short of shoe shining to be of service. Admittedly, a lot of this interaction is one-directional; as a former news editor at a daily newspaper, I’m well aware that many press releases end up in the trash can (sorry, I mean recycling bin).

But the occasional scenario leaves editors rummaging through a drawer for your business card or an inbox for your email. When they can’t find it, they go to ProfNet, a subscription service that puts members of the media in touch with experts in certain industries or the PR professionals who represent them.

Here at Walker Sands Communications, we took a look at ProfNet’s services to determine if they were a fit for our clients. What we found was an eclectic mix of queries, from the less-than-helpful posts by bloggers looking for freebies to review to reporters at major online and print publications. After a trial subscription, we decided the price tag of $1,650 annually for a single industry or $3,700 annually for access to all industries was a little steep for our needs. But ProfNet could be a fit for agencies that don’t tend to specialize in one industry.

A ProfNet subscription does come with a variety of handy tools, such as the ability to forward queries directly to an expert and create expert profiles complete with photos and bios. If you’re considering a ProfNet subscription, check out ProfNet Connect – ProfNet’s networking forums for members of the media and PR professionals. The nice people at ProfNet might also be willing to set you up with a free week-long trial to give the service a spin. You can even follow @profnet for last-minute queries on Twitter.

Public Relations pros need to constantly monitor new industry trends to stay ahead of the game for their clients. It’s important to remember, though, that nothing beats building good old-fashioned relationships where they matter most.

About this contributor: Andrew Cross Andrew is an account director with Walker Sands, where he works with technology companies, primarily startups. He is also a Techstars mentor and regular contributor to Tech Cocktail and PR Daily. Heckle him on Twitter at @Andrew_R_Cross.

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