To outsiders, PR may seem like a cakewalk. Just reach out and schmooze with journalists, influencers, and bloggers. And BAM, you get your coverage.
But in reality, there is much more to being a PR professional than what first meets the eye. They’re constantly putting out fires and managing multiple moving parts, all while staying on top of the ever-changing social media landscape.
PR pros need to be awake and on top of the latest happenings at all hours of the day since their job will always be on-call for those ‘crisis communications’ that pop up unexpectedly. Sure, there are large moments of elation when their press release gets picked up, but they often have to put in long hours of brainstorming to make it possible. PR pros also spend a lot of time working behind the scenes to generate positive buzz. So, in addition to building relationships with the press, they’re also working to monitor their company’s social media presence and undertaking a whole host of other things to boost business.
In short, the world of PR is chock-full of perplexing issues that can be challenging to manage. And unless you master the ropes and prepare well, you’re going to be in for a rough ride. That’s why we’ve scoured the web and put together this list of best tools for you to use when planning your next big PR campaign.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
For Hunting Down Trends
For a company to succeed in this turbulent market, they need a way to stay relevant and up-to-date. But that’s easier said than done. With a world of information available at our fingertips, it’s hard to find the nuggets that count. So here are some useful tools for spotting the right trends the instant they blow up and using them in your business’s favor.
Tool #1 BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo helps predict the viral hits of tomorrow. You can use it to navigate the day’s trending stories, find out which are most popular with your target audience and make strategic choices based on that information. This tool is perfect for PR agents, marketers, and advertisers who want to stay on top of the hottest buzz without having to sift through hundreds of irrelevant articles and social media updates.
- Buzzsumo makes it easy for you to scan your industry and see what’s catching fire. It also allows you to monitor the people who are currently dominating discussions in your niche.
- It has an elegant interface that takes the fuss out of analytics and delivers straightforward, digestible information. Simply enter a topic, and BuzzSumo shows you what other people have to say about it.
- BuzzSumo keeps track of your competitors, brand mentions, and industry news. All of these are compiled into easy-to-read alerts, so you can keep up with what matters and not get swallowed up in the whirlwind of social media chatter. You can also set up alerts for your chosen keywords, so you’ll be notified in real-time when something relevant to your inquiry pops up.
If you’re looking to get an introductory taste of BuzzSumo, then you can sign up for its 30 days free trial. But if you want to dive in with both feet, then you can have a look at its premium plans that start from $99 per month. You can also check BuzzSumo alternatives if you want to have more options and flexible pricing.
Tool #2 Exploding Topics
The internet is a giant, overpopulated desert with thousands upon thousands of dead and forgotten platforms — and, somewhere trapped within it, is your startup waiting to be discovered. Until now, the only way people will discover it is by accident. And that’s where Exploding Topics comes in. An AI-driven analytics tool that shows you trending topics so your story can finally have its moment in the sun.
- Finding your way into the top search engine rankings is crucial for any business, but it’s especially important when you’re working with startups that may not have deep pockets. For a chance to land on page one of the search engine, you need to be one of the first to latch onto whatever is in style. Exploding Topics helps you find trending topics that are just starting to take off, so you can jump on board and start making waves before it’s too late.
- The folks at Exploding Topics hunt down the buzziest topics, categorize them into functional categories, and send them straight to your inbox in an easily consumable format.
- Their analytical methods and proprietary technology make it possible to spot trends earlier than ever before. Here’s a look at a few of the emerging trends the team predicted up to half a year before they became mainstream.
Exploding Topics’s free weekly newsletter is super helpful for those who are new to the trend-watching game. But if you want the most comprehensive analysis on trending topics, you’ll have to go with their premium service, which includes:
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- List of three companies that are on their way to becoming the next big thing.
- A look at the products on the horizon just before they hit the mainstream.
- A thorough analysis of meta trends and topics.
Those who want their hands on the premium newsletter can do so at the cost of $97/month.
For Finding the Right Journalists and Bloggers
It’s a heart-wrenching feeling to pour your soul into a PR pitch and still feel you have no idea whether it’ll be a hit or a miss. You see, journalists receive dozens of pitches per day, so how can you ensure they’ll respond to your PR pitch? The key is to find the perfect fit. Search for journalists, reporters, bloggers, etc., who might be interested in covering stories like yours. If you don’t know who to send your pitch to, here are some tools for finding that perfect match.
Tool #3 Muck Rack
Muck Rack helps you find and connect with journalists who may be interested in what you have to say. It is a versatile platform that helps you build and maintain your relationships with the press. Muck Rack’s media database updates automatically, using smart algorithms to analyze the data surrounding your business and news stories about it. Thousands of data points are tracked around the web every minute to help you find the journalists who are worth your time.
- Muck Rack’s software efficiently syncs all of your team members to one another, regardless of location. This makes collaboration across your organization easier since no one is left out in the cold regarding important media outreach decisions.
- It’s essential to aim for personalization in your pitch if you want to escape the discard pile. You might have a great story to share, but if you don’t take the extra step of sending a tailored email campaign, your chances of getting published plummet. You can avoid all the friction with Muck Rack’s targeted email customizations. A great feature that allows you to automate your pitches without sacrificing their individuality.
- This nifty tool also keeps an eye on the news and social media, so you don’t have to. It enables you to stay abreast of what’s being said about your brand, clients, or competitors.
Unfortunately, Muck Rack doesn’t offer tier-wise pricing. You’ll have to get in touch with their team for a custom quote. That said, you can expect to pay in the ballpark of $4000 per year for their standard package.
Tool #4 Anewstip
Anewstip’s search engine indexes popular news sites, journalists, and mentions so that you can effortlessly discover who is talking about topics relevant to your business.
- Anewstip aggregates the mentions of any word, topic, or brand across the Internet. This allows users to see in real-time what the influencers in their niche are posting.
- You can filter by the type of journalist, their area of coverage, and the language in which they write. You can then sort by their relevance to you, how often they’ve tweeted about your keywords, and how much influence they may have if you pitch them.
- Users can track a list of keywords and find out what journalists are writing about them. Email alerts will be delivered to the user’s inbox whenever there are new results. You can use this intel to keep tabs on emerging trends and reach out to journalists who might be able to help you cover them.
- You can also use Anewstip to organize media contacts into separate lists that are continuously updated with the latest contact information. This makes it easy to keep relevant contacts in one place and streamline your media outreach efforts.
You can give Anewstip a test run for free for the first seven days when you subscribe to its Standard or Professional plans. After that, you’ll have to pay $200 per month for its standard package. The platform also offers customized services priced at $99 per month to eligible early-stage startups and solo PR pros.
For Tracking Down Contact Details
Finding the perfect journalist to pitch is hard. Finding their contact information? Even harder. Digging up journalist email addresses can be a herculean task, but thankfully there are a number of tools available to help you track down what you’re looking for. The following is one of the most popular tools for locating journalists’ emails.
Tool #5 Hunter.io
Hunter.io takes your input to identify the most likely email address for you to reach your target person with. The email finder function works by scanning the web for email addresses. It then uses a number of factors to determine the most likely email format and whether or not the address is a verified address.
A word of warning, though, apps designed to extract contact information are by no means foolproof. So, always do the needed due diligence before you email any new contact. You don’t want to jeopardize your reputation, after all.
- Hunter.io analyzes brands and domain names to figure out trends in email usage for those domains and informs you of the most common email address construction.
- The platform can perform an ‘Email Finder’ to find thousands of email addresses in bulk. Just upload your prospect list to the dashboard, and watch it get automatically enriched with email addresses.
- Hunter also offers a Chrome plugin that lets you find the email addresses behind the websites you’re browsing. The minute a visitor lands on a particular web page, Hunter’s extension will start working by capturing their email addresses.
There’s a free plan if you’re going to need up to 25 searches a month. Beyond that, however, you’ll have to opt for a paid plan. The tiers start at $49 per month for 500 inquiries and go up to $399 per month for 30,000 searches.
For Media Opportunities
There are several websites and apps that will grant you media opportunities if your press releases are unique and worth covering. Here’s one that can maximize your chances of getting syndicated broadly.
Tool #6 HARO
Help a Reporter Out, also known as HARO, is a community that connects journalists seeking sources with businesses looking to get in the news. With little effort on your end, a journalist will contact you about your expertise and provide a platform for your company to tell its story.
- Journalists looking for sources can post their requests on HARO, and if you happen to be one, the service will reach out to you three times a day with media opportunities. Once you have identified the right opportunities, respond quickly and detail the scope of your knowledge on the topic. But make sure to only react to queries where you are an ideal source.
- If you subscribe to HARO’s paid plans, you’ll get alerts the instant that media opportunities become available. This way, you won’t have to wait for the daily email like everyone else and can start crafting perfect pitches before other users even get started.
You are welcome to sign up for daily HARO email updates free of charge. But if you want to receive more keyword-specific alerts or want to get a jump on media opportunities before anyone else, you should consider getting one of their paid plans. These start from $19 per month.
For creating press releases that stand out
Bland, text-only press releases are no longer enough to grab the attention of editors. Many people will ignore your PR if you don’t make it as relevant as possible. To really make a splash with your pitches, you should strive to be innovative in how you present them. You need to put together a press kit containing high-quality personalized copy and visuals that ‘steal the show’. Here’s a tool that helps you design killer press releases.
Tool #7 Prezly
Prezly is the only tool of its kind on the market and gives you all the bells and whistles you need to craft beautiful, professional press releases. You can easily insert a variety of multimedia assets to jazz up your stories with an easy-to-use interface. For a taste of what Prezly can do for you, check out this stunning example from one of their clients.
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To get started, you need to simply copy and paste your Google or Word doc into Prezly’s story. The platform supports most multimedia embeds, so any images you’ve included in your post will be carried over to the site. All you have to do is give it a quick edit to remove any errors, and Prezly will take care of everything else.
- Prezly specializes in crafting custom press releases for companies looking to make a splash. The tool supports embedding media of any kind – images, video, and audio – into your releases.
- Going from the production of a press release to distribution is a simple process that can be done in a few clicks.
- If you need to make your press release available in a language other than English or maybe target a specific audience, Prezly has you covered. The tool can handle a whopping 60+ languages and even more locales. So, you can toggle between different translations and localize the contents of your press release without breaking a sweat.
- Prezly helps you keep your content consistent by putting it all in a Newsroom that looks just the way you want it. This feature is beneficial for businesses that need to share their content in a cohesive way. Plus, with a highly customizable theme builder, Prezly gives you the option of creating a Newsroom that suits your vision and mission.
Looking to try out Prezly before you commit? You can give its premium package a whirl for 14 days without divulging your credit card info. The platform’s pricing starts at $50 per month, with the flexibility to scale up depending on the number of users and newsrooms. However, if your company needs a specialized enterprise-grade plan, you can talk to Prezly about curating something perfect for your team.
Keep Your PR Game On Point
PR is a fast-paced field, which means your to-do list can get really long, really quick. In other words, you’ll need all hands on deck if you want to make a good impression, efficiently evaluate your results, and stay organized. This list of tools will help you do just that. They’ll save you time, money, and sanity, enabling you to build successful campaigns without being bogged down by an avalanche of emails and reports.
Ahmad Benny is the Founder of Bengu, a site that helps people cut through the noise on marketing software and online training courses. On the site, you can find helpful reviews and how-to guides on a variety of marketing topics.