There’s an arsenal of digital tools and services PR pros use to stay on top of the news, identify trends, research the right media for targeted story ideas, and manage accounts.
For me, there’s a dividing line between the sites and services I use often and those I depend on to get my job done every day.
Within that list are some lesser-known but very valuable tools that I depend on every day. The following list helps me share clients’ stories with the right audiences that you might not know about yet:
1. Spike: Spike is a service that helps you spot trending stories in real time. It’s paid, but I recommend giving the free trial a try.
2. MuckRack: MuckRack should already be on your devices by definition: Where journalists and sources connect.
3. Quora: On Quora, you can post questions and get answers from people with real experience. I use it as inspiration for story ideas and angles.
4. Tumblr: Tumblr is the best social network for finding, telling, or sharing visual stories.
5. Flipboard: Flipboard is the best mobile news aggregator and reader, period.
6. Techmeme: Techmeme is a tech news curation site that will keep you up to date on breaking tech stories.
Of course, you’re probably already using a lot of the following key sites, apps, and tools:
1. Digg: Digg is my go-to RSS reader and social bookmarking tool.
2. Facebook: I often find that my Facebook news feed is where I see conversations evolve into story ideas.
3. LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the best and most up-to-date network to see where people are coming from and going to. It’s also a great news source for strong thought leadership posts.
4. TweetDeck: TweetDeck is the Twitter dashboard that I keep running all day. (I recommend using the Chrome plug-in).
5. Google+: This is an important network to be a part of because it’s Google—conversations happen here.
6. Google news search: Google not only gives you a broad view of the news, but it also gives you a way to identify the most recent stories from media and reporters.
7. Google Drive: Google drive offers real-time collaboration and account management.
8. Google search: Google is still the best source of what’s indexed on the Web.
9. Reddit: This online community is a rising source of news. It’s unique because users vote on content.
10. BuzzFeed: BuzzFeed is where I go for breaking social news, see what’s trending around the Web. I also refer to it for entertainment and business news.
11. Popurls: Popurls is a dashboard for the latest Web buzz.
12. ITDatabase: I use ITDatabase to find out which themes, companies, and products the media are writing about.
13. Topsy: Topsy provides Twitter and other social searches as well as analytics.
14. Compete: Compete gives you a quick, comprehensive read on a blog's or website’s traffic.
15. WhoSharedMyLink.com: This site lets you find out how many times a URL was shared, as well as the journalists and bloggers who shared it.
16. SimpleNote: I use this app for note-taking on all my mobile devices, because it syncs across them.
17. Chromecast: I use this when streaming and projecting (almost) anything from my laptop to the TV screen in my office.
Yes, it takes this many digital tools to stay on top of the news, uncover trends, find conversations, manage accounts, and identify the right stories and the story tellers. Because this business is ultimately about relationships, the technology helps to create new ones and strengthen existing ones.
[RELATED: Master can't-ignore social media tools with Mark Ragan's one-day social media boot camp.]
What about you? Which sites and tools are you using for PR, media relations and social media? Please tell us below in the comments.