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Posted by: John Blue on August 11, 2019

Posted in: Resource

10 Tools for Your Public Relations Action
Are you pressed for time working on your public relations projects? Do you want to work a bit more effectively? Are you looking for some way to make the process easier? No one ever said public relations was easy. But there are some tools to help out. Below are several resources and services that can help save time, increase productivity, or keep you sane during a crisis.

Information monitoring tools

One of the hard parts about public relations is the process of keeping an eye on what is being said. First, let’s just agree that for most organization and companies, it is very expensive to run a public relations campaign that monitors everything all the time. Just for perspective: over 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube per minute [reference] and 1.8 billion (B) photos are uploaded and sharedeach day [reference].

Ok what can you do?

After you have outlined your PR goals (you have a goal, right? Need help, go here) you will need some tools.

  • Free Google Alerts offers a way stay informed when a specific term is mentioned on the Internet. The cost is really your time to setup and manage over the course of your PR campaign.
  • $ HootSuite is a low/medium cost (free, ~$29/month, or more, based on needs; pricing plans) web application to monitor and interact on social media channels. HootSuite works with all the major social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and helps you organize information streams as needed to meet your goals.
  • $$ Sprout Social offers similar features as HootSuite plus more analytics reporting tools. They offer a multi-tiered pricing plan that runs from $99/month to $249/month.

Connecting with people

Being in PR means making connections with editors, journalists, and other influential people to help advance your cause. How do you find some of those people? While the best way to make those connections is through good old fashioned relationship building, there are ways to discover who’s who.

  • $ LinkedIn is the tool to discover people in business. It is more than a social networking channel or tool, it is also a people discovery tool. When you need to make the PR pitch, LinkedIn can help you find those connections. See these tips.
  • $$$$ Cision and Gorkana are services that develop and maintain databases of journalists & bloggers plus media circulation, reach, and influence. Additionally, these companies also offer into integrated PR software systems and alert management/monitoring tools. While these are expensive options, it is good to know how they work and what they offer.
  • $$ Muck Rack is a journalist and blogger connection service, much like Cision or Gorkan, but with a simple fee structure.

Productivity tools

Information is one of the key elements that PR professionals have to work with on a regular basis. And having some tools to on hand can help save you time and money.

  • $ Evernote is the tool to help capture and organize the many little bits of data you accumulate. The power of Evernote comes with with several key features: capture & search everythingnotebooks, and the ability to organize it all. Additional pluses: Evernote runs on all the devices (laptop, phone, tablet, web, etc) you may have, creating the opportunity to access anything when and where you need to.
  • Free Google Drive is the way to share and really collaborate with others on documents. The power of Google Drive is its ability to help you quickly setup and selectively share worksheets, documents, or presentations. You can setup a worksheet in Google Drive and all of your partners can review / update the document without emailing it back and forth.
  • $ SurveyMonkey is a survey tool that is low cost and very flexible. You can quickly get started on simple surveys and, for ~$300 per year, the plan provides tools to collect and analyze survey data. Use surveys to do periodic market surveys, get feedback, or divine what people believe about your products or causes (examples).

Bonus material

Free HARO, Help a Reporter Out from Vocus, is a free service that puts sources in touch with reporters. A reporter posts a query with HARO, and people wanting to comment on the story email back. For PR professionals it is a good starting point to see what topics the media side is looking for and identify possible leads to connections.

Free TweetDeck is a web based tools to manage and interact on Twitter. It has the ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts, organize streams of Tweets, and converse with people on Twitter.

Free Have you bought Adobe Photoshop recently? You can easily shell out +$500! GIMP is an excellent open source alternative to Photoshop that contains much of the same functionality and features. And, since it is open source, the cost to install and use is free.

Free Bit.ly helps you shorten those long links to share with people and it tracks data on how well the URL performs (example). Bit.ly is even better for customization, link organization, and metric tracking.

Extra bonus!
Free Take a break with 99 Problems but a Pitch Ain’t One.

Thanks to John Earl, Mace Thornton, Heidi Nelson, Adriane Marten, Liz Erickson, and Christine Taylor for their input and thoughts.

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