The Top 12 PR Tools of 2018

Feb 15, 2018   |   Clock Icon 6 min read
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With so many services and platforms for researching PR opportunities, finding the right media contacts, sharing your message, and then keeping track of it all, it can be pretty overwhelming for public relations professionals to even know where to begin. This post calls out the top PR tools that can help make the life of a digital PR specialist easier.

Finding PR Opportunities & Building Media Lists

  1. Cision: Cision offers a full suite for PR professionals, but it also comes with a hefty price tag. If you work with a wide array of clients in different industries, it can definitely be worth the cost. If the fee is out of your budget, Cision does offer some co-op options and also a lesser known platform at a lower rate that's very straight forward, without all of the bells and whistles. One other educational value to Cision is that it hosts a multitude of free webinars with PR industry leaders, which can be extremely valuable, especially if you are looking for continued education opportunities from your desk.
  2. BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo is a content research and social sharing/monitoring tool that is mainly used as a tool for SEOs and content marketing professionals but also provides value in PR by locating opportunities. You can search by specific topics to see what channels they are trending in and who is writing about it. It allows you to also easily discover the number of social shares and identify social influencer opportunities.
  3. Ahrefs: Ahrefs provides a comprehensive look into your backlink profile—who is mentioning you and your competitors and where. Use Ahrefs to perform a competitor backlink analysis, which can help shed light on places where your business or client could be included. Here is a great article explaining how to do a competitor backlink analysis and what you can get out of it.
  4. HARO: HARO is one of those daily emails you get that you want to ignore, but one you really should not. If you look closely, there is most likely at least one opportunity in there for your client, your company, or C-Suite. It’s also free. Read more on the brand benefits of using HARO.
  5. PRSA: A PRSA membership has a lot to offer those who are looking to advance their careers and seeking out continued education in this ever-changing industry. You have to join at the national and local level (but be sure there is a local chapter before you sign up nationally!), but membership gives you access to the PRSA forum, where PR professionals from all over the U.S. can ask questions and share advice and assets to other in the community. At the local level, a PRSA membership provides a monthly lunch and learn platform, where typically someone from outside the community speaks on a trending topic, followed by a Q&A session. This is a great time to network with other PR pros and develop new relationships. Even without a membership, you can sign up to receive the weekly PRSA roundup e-blast, which shares hot topics in the PR/advertising world, conferences and award submissions, and job opportunities (which you can submit to for free, as well) around the United States.

Sharing Your Message

  1. Dropbox: For file sharing. Sources say 80 percent of journalists do not open emails with attachments. Ok, this is not a real statistic, but it is common knowledge in our industry that in 2018, journalists hate attachments. If you have more than just a link to share, Dropbox is the perfect resource for sharing multiple file formats and not clogging up inboxes.
  2. Grammar Girl: At the end of the day, you just have to keep it consistent. The majority of PR pros adhere to AP-Style, and for a small fee you can download an updated AP-style e-copy. Grammar Girl sticks pretty close to AP-style and is free.
  3. Canva: To make things pretty and professional, Canva is a great, free resource to create visuals for presentations, blog posts, press releases, social posts, and much more.

Tracking PR Opportunities

  1. Outreach Tracking Template: It’s easy to get a few days—or weeks—deep into outreach without keeping track of your outreach efforts. Even though you've already built out a robust research list to begin, new opportunities always arise. Maybe an influencer or journalist caught your eye on Twitter. Maybe you found a website that hosts a blog reel of related content. If you're not keeping track of these efforts (or using a paid service to track for you), how can you effectively follow up, remember if and how they responded, or ultimately show results surrounding your long hours of outreach efforts? This free, downloadable PR tracking template can help make a PR pro's outreach tracking efforts much easier and more organized.
  2. BananaTag: Sometimes you just want to know if someone opened your email, without coming off too aggressively. If you choose to go with an email tracker, please do not use one that automatically inserts a footer note that says it was tracked with X service or delivers a read-receipt. Try to hide your stalker efforts, at least a little bit! BananaTag has a free option, which gives you 10 free email trackings a day. Or you can pay as little as $10/ month to have 100 emails tracked a day. The other benefit is email scheduling, which I personally love being able to write my pitch emails in advance and schedule them out for a later date.
  3. Talkwalker Alerts: Google Alerts used to be my free go-to option for tracking clients mentioned in the news, but the service really dropped off in 2015. There are some really good options out there (like Mention) that you have to pay for, but if you're looking for a free option that is most similar to the way Google Alerts was, try Talkwalker Alerts.
  4. CoverageBook: When it comes to end of the month reporting on PR media wins, CoverageBook has it figured out. It is easy to use and builds a report for you in minutes rather than the hours of screenshots, digging for UVMs, impressions, and formatting would take manually. There is a free demo period, but after that you have to pay monthly. If you're working with multiple clients or have a hard-to-impress executive team, I’d recommend paying the fee and using this service.

What are some other PR tools you love to use as a public relations professional? Send me a tweet at @katiewol or share them in the notes below!

Workshop Team