One of the greatest blessings that the Internet has bestowed upon us is the plethora of tools to make our lives as a PR professional that little bit easier- a kind of ‘PR toolkit’. The world of PR is so fast-paced that it’s even more essential than ever to be organised, especially when you work in a technology-lead industry with the added pressure to not only know about the latest tech, but to use it as well. So, here are the best public relations tools to help bolster your day-to-day activities.
Lots of you reading this may still be on Microsoft-based products, but for sheer productivity, Google’s Apps for work, Google’s own suite of products, can’t be beaten. The ability to keep all of our company docs on the cloud via Google Drive and view them on any device, as well as collaboratively edit press releases or any other piece of work with clients in Google Docs, has completely changed the way we work. Using Gmail now also means that we have massive storage to keeps years and years worth of mail, and the search function can’t be beaten when it comes to hunting down that elusive mail someone sent you with an attachment two years ago. A final shout to Google is the calendar feature which allows multiple users to access a shared planner which is really useful if you and a client have regular content creation or meetings. Google – we simply don’t know where we would be without you in our working lives for a paltry $10 a month per user.
2. PR Max – a cost effective media database
A very thorough UK database that costs almost half the price of others out there at the moment. Not only can you bring up endless lists of media contacts, but you can also see forward features, distribute SEO optimised press releases to journalists and see journalist requests on a live Twitter feed. You couldn’t really ask for any more than that!
3. Yet Another Mail Merge – Make your PR contact list more personal
The days of bcc’ing everyone into an email are finally over! For those of you that use Google Apps for Business and don’t already have this add on, get ready to save yourself a lot of time and hassle when doing mail outs. This is the king of the PR tools. Simply download this tool and use it with Google Sheets to automatically send out your emails, press releases etc. It can then personalise every email that goes out with a first or last name and (the creme de la creme of the tool) tracks opens in front of your eyes. It’s a brilliant, simple tool that only costs (roughly) $10 a year.
4. Talkwalker – Google alerts on steroids
Google Alerts use to be one of the PR tools that we really relied upon to track news or coverage of clients, but Talkwalker has really surpassed our expectations. It picks up alerts from the smallest of blogs to the largest of publications and delivers notifications as soon as news appears. It makes you look really responsive and on the ball when you send client up-to-date coverage. Granted, it can give you strange alerts at times, but it seems to pick up on the important stuff and it’s free.
5. Facebook – for connecting with fellow PR professionals
Not just for posting annoying pictures of cats and babies, Facebook has proven itself invaluable for keeping up to date with the media. It may seem a bit generic, but we can’t tell you the amount of times we’ve gone to groups like UK technology journalists and PRs and posted events, jobs, news and information on there and got a response. It’s a great way to keep in contact with similar agencies and journalists who specialise or work in your particular area and it helped us out massively when we hosted an event in the past.
6. Boomerang for Gmail – for making you look like a 24/7 operation
Although it’s another Gmail bolt-on, this is a great PR tool for scheduling emails or mail outs, especially if you’ll be out of the office and need to send emails overseas out of office hours. There’s no need to stay late anymore and you can schedule in as many emails as you like. It can even work with mail merge so you can schedule a mass mail out too.
7. Flipboard – for curating content and impressing your clients
We love Flipboard as it’s an invaluable tool to collate all the subjects you’re interested in, in one place; pretty much a magazine for your favourite articles. For PR’s, Flipboard has multiple benefits from keeping up to date with the latest trends to gathering together coverage which you can then share with clients. Take a look at our other blog post here on the benefits of Flipboard for PR agencies
8. Twitter – surprisingly good way of getting hold of journalists
Twitter has become even more of a multi-use tool for PR and marketing agencies recently and although it seems a bit time consuming, it’s shaping the way people communicate with each other. PR campaigns that trend on Twitter can have more of an effect than a generic press release, and journalists seem to really recognise it as a legitimate channel for communication and source of news. Recently, we have found that more and more journalists are turning to twitter as means of communicating with agencies for journalist requests, as an alternative to emails. We have also found that there is a higher chance of a direct response because of the short character limit. Next time you don’t get an email response, try a tweet.
9. Crowdfire – for growing your Twitter follower account
Starting out in the social media space can be a daunting experience, especially if you’re a new business and you’re trying to increase your followers to get your name out. Although Twitter provides solid suggestions for who you should follow, Crowdfire (previously known as Justunfollow) is our answer to targeted follower growth and monitoring. For a small fee, you can add multiple accounts (this is good if you do the social media for your clients) and follow and unfollow until your heart’s content. Some of the great features include location search, keyword search, copy followers (copy the followers of your competitor) friend check and delete inactive followers to free up some space. It’s an all-rounder if you need to grow an account (or several) which can really save you a lot of time trawling through Twitter!
10. Coverage Book – a great way to showcase your media coverage to clients
It can take up enormous amounts valuable time to physically trawl the Internet to pick up coverage and copy it into a document so we use Coveragebook, an online shareable tool that works well with Talkwalker. Although they’re separate PR tools, Talkwalker sends you the coverage, for you to then copy the URLs into an online coverage book. Coverage Book then analyses each piece of coverage and gives an accurate overview of estimated views and social shares, which can then be sent to the client. This is probably the most expensive tool on the list but worth every penny.
So there you have it – hopefully we’ve given you a good start but if you can recommend any other useful PR tools and techniques then please feel free to get in touch or Tweet us @bigideasmachine