Web 2.0 has made the daily nuts and bolts of PR work unrecognizable from a decade ago.
Now, every public relations team needs reliable tech tools for media monitoring, instant messaging, task management and media list building, just to name a few.
PR people routinely use apps for document design like BeFunky, the industry standard software Cision, and a wire distribution platform like PR Newswire. Some in our agency swear by sanity-preserving apps that have nothing to do with daily business, like Spotify and Calm. Apps and web tools come and go like Silicon Valley startups, and the choices can feel endless.
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Here’s a must-have list:
1. Wunderlist. Wunderlist is pleasing to the eyes and more user-friendly than Outlook’s “tasks” bar. It’s synched across all devices so it’s available at all hours. Plus, it allows you to separate work lists from others like travel and chores—whatever helps the user to keep life from spinning into chaos. You can toggle seamlessly your grocery list and the Q4 campaign. Also, if you’re collaborating on a project, you can share lists using the app.
2. Mailtester. Media contact information should never be taken as gospel, given that journalists, news outlets and email addresses are constantly in flux. PR pros can verify a reporter’s email address quickly by typing it into the single bar on www.mailtester.com. If the contact is elusive but you know the domain, you can test address combinations. Most domains allow access for this type of testing, although a few do not. Mailtester or a similar app such as EmailHunter, can be a lifesaver for PR people.
3. Techmeme. This is a favorite news aggregator website for tech PR people. A quick glance at Techmeme.com or its e-newsletter brings you up to speed on trending conversations from outlets including The Verge, ArsTechnica and Financial Times, as well as upcoming tech conferences and events. It’s a great place to get a real-time summary of what’s trending across the tech blogs. As a bonus, Techmeme launched a podcast this year, hoping to duplicate the roaring success of The New York Times Daily, a top podcast since 2017.
4. BuzzSumo. This remains a go-to tool to help PR pros keep track of who’s writing about what topics, along with the resulting engagement from each placement. This tool helps PR pros sniff out gaps in the conversation and find the right story angle to pitch. BuzzSumo pro plans allow one to identify influencers’ shared content, find backlink opportunities, and monitor brands and competitors’ content. A quick search returns a list of influencers on any given topic, along with several telling statistics, including domain authority and share percentage. Cost ranges from $79 to $499 per month.
5. Slack. While heavy hitters like Microsoft (Yammer) are racing to develop applications to compete with Slack, and competitors like BaseCamp and Trello offer solid alternatives, we see Slack as the best option for our internal collaboration. We have separate channels for each client, and we can swiftly share links, images and documents. Though Slack hasn’t yet unclogged email inboxes, it helps us make things happen faster.
6. UberConference. Remote voice and video communication are crucial to PR work, from client meetings to media interviews. Every PR agency needs a versatile solution for meetings. UberConference allows for easy connections without pin codes and app downloads, and it can be integrated with tools like Slack and LinkedIn. With the UberConference Business upgrade ($15 per month), participants from 50 countries can call in. Further, the cloud software enables meeting participants to collaborate on documents during the call.
7. Suvata. We encourage clients to tell data-driven stories that are media-worthy and verifiable. Survata is an affordable market research company that advises on and executes surveys using its network of publishers and partnerships with research panels. A smaller business can conduct market research with unlimited survey questions at a reasonable cost. We’ve found it a useful resource among the many options for customer surveys and news-making B2B opinion research.
A version of this post first appeared on the Crenshaw Communications PR Fish Bowl blog.