PR Software: Ultimate Guide to PR Tools 2018

What is in your PR toolkit?

I have been saying that public relations is the new the new SEO for years. Among old school online marketers, this has mostly fallen on deaf ears.

It is essential to develop a clear online marketing strategy, goals, and expectations.

Your online presence can make or break the fortunes of your personal brand or the company you represent.

Online PR uses a variety of software to build, monitor, and manage your brand reputation.

It establishes your authority as an industry expert, helps clients relate to you, and increases visibility to your brand.

Online PR software can reinforce these goals, provide direction, and help you achieve success with your online marketing and brand recognition. 

Effective Public Relations Techniques

Digital Public relations requires social, creative, technical skills, and of course the right tools. 

The market is filled with programs to help you manage your strategy as communications professional. It is vital to have the right applications to do the job in the most successful and efficient manner possible.

Public relations tools and methods include outreach, blogs, search engines, press releases, social networks, client reviews, feedback, and other online communication tools.

We are going to review 41 of the best public relations software solutions, tools, and techniques as suggested by some of the top PR Experts.

The Tools of PR, Management & Collaboration

An image of a screenshot of the Rep Warn tool home page

Rep Warn

Changes in your reputation can happen suddenly and without warning. Rep Warn is an application that’s designed to help you stay on top of things.

Think of Rep Warn as your first line of defense against negative publicity. You can use it to set up alerts using a variety of parameters. These include keywords, your brand name, and the names of your employees.

You can use their free online calculator to determine the value of your reputation. You might be surprised to learn how bad publicity can cost you. The same is true of negative reviews.

This is a comprehensive monitoring tool that keeps an eye on social media. It can also monitor Yelp, Trip Advisor, and other sites where you might be mentioned. You will know in an instant what’s being said about your brand. You will be able to respond immediately instead of letting a bad review get ahead of you.

Other top features:

  • Monitor your competitors by entering keywords, brand names, and other metrics, so you know what people are saying.
  • Track down leads by jumping on positive mentions as soon as they happen.
  • Track unlimited keywords and phrases to make sure you do not miss anything.
  • Get direct links to every conversation that mentions you.

Pricing: $97 per month or $997 for an annual subscription

A unique tool I used that helps me with online PR is RepWarn.

Even the best PR in the world needs a safety net. Businesses and any brand can use RepWarn to alert you about any mentions – whether it is good or bad. It also pushes you to take action – whether it is a possible lead sale, a potential bad rep or a great way to amplify your product.

It is a great engineering program when it comes to finding out what your competitors are up to. Like a security guard that NEVER sleeps.

RepWarn scans the web every 5min, so you will always be one of the first to know when someone posts a review of your business or product. There is no better option than a secured one so you can plan your marketing campaign better.

Walt BaylissCEO & Founder at Universal Media Online
An image of a screenshot of the Autoinsta chrome extension

Autoinsta

Using Instagram for public relations makes sense. Managing your account can be time-consuming.  Autoinsta is a Google Chrome extension that can manage the legwork for you.

Autoinsta uses your browsing and follows history. It learns how you like to use Instagram. Then, it will automatically “Like” content based on what it has learned. You can set daily limits and intervals for your activity on Instagram.

It can help you follow and unfollow other Instagram accounts, too. You can set parameters to follow people who follow you. You can specify daily follow and unfollow limits if you wish.

Autoinsta provides you with trend charts to keep track of your Instagram success. Its customizable features make it a real stand-out among social media bots.

Other top features:

  • Relies on Google Chrome cookies. You do not have to provide your Instagram username or password to use it.
  • Whitelist friends, current followers, and desired followers, so they are not blocked or unfollowed.
  • Filter users based on post numbers, word counts, and a variety of other metrics.
  • Detailed statistics and analytics will be coming soon according to Autoinsta’s creators.

Pricing: Free, 10-day trial, then $5.99 per month

An image of a screenshot of the home page of BuzzStream

BuzzStream

This is comprehensive PR software that comes with an array of useful features. BuzzStream has applications for SEO. However, it is a tool that any public relations professional will love.

Using BuzzStream allows you to research influencers easily. It takes your previous contacts into consideration. You will get an analysis of each influencer’s social reach and authority. You can use it to decide which influencers you should pursue.

Once you have established relationships, BuzzStream helps you track them over time. You will not have to worry about losing a conversation or mention. This tool tracks them for you. It even sets reminders to help you remember to follow up.

If you are working with a PR team, it can be hard to coordinate with them. It offers an array of features to help you stay in touch. They include ways to share notes and progress among team members.

Other top features:

  • Spreadsheets to help you track the status of each influencer and request.
  • Online tools for segmenting your list based on the metrics you choose.
  • Templates to help you track open, click, and response rates.
  • Scheduling so you can set up outreaches and follow-ups in advance.

Pricing: From $24 per month

Having tested countless email tools throughout my time in the e-commerce world, one application has stood out from the rest, BuzzStream.

It is a fantastic digital PR tool that acts as both a CRM and email marketing tool. Buzzstream drastically reduces time and effort when it comes to email marketing.

Whether it be scheduling emails, tracking open rates, keeping a record of Twitter conversations, or follow-up reminders, BuzzStream has all of the assets a marketing team could want in an email resource.

Marketing success is all about gathering data, analyzing the numbers, and then changing your approach accordingly. It is helpful with gathering data by providing click tracking numbers and open rate percentages, allowing a marketing team to test different subject lines, email copy, and other metrics to yield the best results for an email marketing campaign.

Yvette La-Garde Chief Operating Officer at VitaMedica
An image of a screenshot of the MozBar homepage

MozBar

MozBar is a plugin or extension. Its versatile features can help you with PR and SEO. It is an easy-to-use toolbar for Chrome. Adding it to your toolbox can help you manage your online reputation.

MozBar can help you make quick judgments about which media outlets to pitch. Its rapid authority evaluations will save you time. Using them can help you raise your company’s profile. Instead of wasting time pitching the wrong people, MozBar enables you to focus on the right ones.

MozBar is also helpful for tracking your backlink building efforts. Backlinks have a more significant impact on your Google rank than anything else. Monitoring them is a good way to track your reputation over time.

You can also use MozBar to keep an eye on your competitors. Tracking their link metrics and page authority is a must. Reviewing the data you gather allows you to see how your efforts are measuring up.

Other top features:

  • Link differentiation so you can track follows, no-follows, internal and external links.
  • Compare link metrics between pages while looking at any SERP.
  • Track your competitors’ domain and page authority. Find out if you are falling behind.
  • Track your backlink quantity to measure your PR efforts.

Pricing: Free, 30-day trial, then from $99 per month

pitch bloggers with mustr

Mustr

Mustr helps companies manage their journalist and blogger relationships. Instead of tracking an extensive network of PR contacts via Excel, Mustr consolidates these lists into a single source of information. Your team can spend less time managing media lists and more time managing relationships.

Mustr allows you to keep track of your team’s history with this contact by adding notes, so no matter who contacts them next will have a detailed recap of the history of the relationship. You can tag, label, and categorize your contacts so the next time you need a project completed, you have a list of the most qualified journalists at your fingertips.

With multiple points of access, anyone on your team can update and use this information at any time, requiring less back and forth, and eliminating confusion.

Other top features:

  • Send press releases directly from the application to media outlets
  • Integrated ress release distribution
  • Tablet and iPhone compatible
  • Share PR projects with clients
  • Attach high res photos with notes
  • Attach files to emails

Pricing: From €49/month with a 15-day free trial

great web app for influencers

Prezly

When it comes to robust online marketing and public relations software, Prezly tops this list with a variety of features that make it the ultimate PR CRM.

Getting to know your brand’s stakeholders is easy with the ability to build profiles for your contacts. You can add contact details, areas of interest, and track your engagements with them like when they opened your email or replied.

You can organize and filter your contacts using many different segments, allowing you to keep an overview or identify who your biggest influencers are, and making it easy to reach out with the click of a button.

Prezly also helps you track communications by building multimedia emails, managing bulk distributions, and tracking opens, clicks, and replies.

Other top features:

  • Intuitive and Ready to use out of the box
  • Create and manage online newsrooms
  • Optimized for search engines
  • Shareable on social media

Pricing: From $150/month

cision press release service

Cision PR Software

This software is a media intelligence platform that enables more profound insights and performance management. Cision offers social performance monitoring, measuring the engagement of your brand so you can make informed business decisions.

With more understanding of the performance of a particular campaign, you can reevaluate your entire online marketing strategy and make the right decisions for the future.

Cision also offers enhanced government and investor relations, helping you communicate with local companies or officials, ensure PAC compliance, and engage with a single software PR solution.

Other top features:

  • View real-time pitching opportunities to connect with media outlets
  • Map upcoming editorial coverage
  • Track sentiment across media content platforms
  • Benchmark results against competitors
  • Identify relevant social conversations in the Cision communications cloud

Pricing: Customized per package, request a demo

Here at the International PR department of SEMrush, we stick to using Cision. To be more specific, it helped us promote our study on cryptocurrencies that went viral. We looked up the contacts of the journalists who are into cryptocurrencies and send them out our full study along with the pitch.

The study was eventually published by major media such as Business Insider, Bloomberg, Reuters, and had a significant number of publications by smaller media.

So, yes, Cision does save a lot of time by granting access to a database that includes contacts of thousands of top-tier media journalists. Most of these emails are virtually not available anywhere on the internet as they are not on open access.

To monitor whether the study was published, we keep track of mentions with the help of SEMrush brand monitoring This feature allows to monitor mentions of SEMrush, track backlinks and hottest industry trends to follow and reach out to opinion leaders quickly.

Konstantin FedorovInternational PR Specialist at Semrush

Planning and Research PR Software Tools

An image of a screenshot of the TechNews tool home page

TechNews (formerly IT Database)

TechNews is a public relations tool designed for tech companies. Each industry has unique PR challenges. Public relations pros will find it helpful to have a PR solution that addresses them.

It provides professionals with researched based on tech industry workflow and models. Having access to industry-specific data gives you an advantage in a competitive world.

Their searchable database makes it easy for you to find the authors and influencers you need. Search by keywords, topics, company names, and competing products to locate your perfect match.

Using TechNews gives you an easy-to-follow feed where you can track journalists. You can monitor companies, industry trends, and more. The up-to-date information allows you to stay on top of tech industry developments in real time.

Other top features:

  • Coordinate with team members using time-stamped notes and a collaborative format.
  • “Clip” your victories and store them using TechNews’ online filing system.
  • Eliminate background noise by focusing on data specific to the tech industry.
  • Prioritize targets and laser-focus your team members on what matters.

Pricing: Free trial, general pricing unavailable

I’m a HUGE fan of IT Database which currently has two products of notable importance: TechNews and EventTrak.

I’ve used IT Database for years, primarily for TechNews, which enables me to use keywords to search through millions of pieces of editorial coverage dating back five years across thousands of tech-focused publications. I can search for industry terms, company names, executives, products, and more — all of which help me identify the publications and journalists who are most applicable to a particular type of pitch.

I can sort, rank, and add notes to fields for each publication and journalist for a complete picture of the editorial ecosystem. Technews goes further by providing full contact information, which enables me to pitch using the information I’ve collected. 

Unlike other PR software (which encourages people to spray and pray indiscriminately), it helps me find the best media targets and get the news that matters to them.

Aaron EndreiHead of Marketing Communications
An image of a screenshot of the PitchRate tool home page

PitchRate

PitchRate gives public relations professionals an easy way to connect with journalists. For those looking to build connections, it is an ideal resource to have on hand.

Think of it as a matchmaking tool for public relations. It offers free sign-up and the ability to offer yourself as a source to journalists.

Pitchrate’s website has an extensive database of articles created and sourced by its members. You can use it to find journalists. It is easy to focus on those who might be useful to your PR efforts. Journalists may also use it to find and connect with you.

Basic services are free, but there’s a way to become a verified source. If you pursue it, you will get an online press kit from Wasabi Media.

Other top features:

  • The searchable database allows you to research journalists by keywords.
  • Specify the topics and keywords that will help journalists connect with you.
  • Connect with major media outlets like CNN and The New York Times.
  • Raise your profile by becoming a verified source.

Pricing: Free, or $500 to become a verified source

I like using PitchRate, a service similar to Haro that sends email queries that PR professionals can answer.

Haro is excellent to talk with journalists, but PitchRate is a really an interesting alternative to connect individually with bloggers who review products, offer giveaways and give businesses the opportunity to publish a guest post on their blog.

PitchRate isn’t US-centric only. It helps you connect with influencers from different English speaking countries, which is great too.

Gregory GolinskiDigital Marketing Executive at Your Parking Space
An image of a screenshot of the SourceBottle tool home page

SourceBottle

SourceBottle is a public relations tool designed for use by PR pros and influencers. You can use it to seek opportunities you want. You can also make yourself available as a resource for journalists and bloggers.

Companies in search of giveaway opportunities will like SourceBottle’s FindGiveaways subscription. It is helpful if you want to include free product samples or vouchers in a gift bag. It is also useful for identifying contests where you might offer your products as prizes.

SourceBottle allows you to search for case studies to use in a pitch. You can select topics and countries and send out a request. Each call-out lasts 24 hours and can save you time and effort. Instead of doing the legwork yourself, SourceBottle does it for you.

Signing up for their “Drink Up!” alerts is a great way to connect with journalists and bloggers. Just list your call-out topics. Then, wait for influencers to contact you.

Other top features:

  • Review requests for sources from bloggers and journalists.
  • Offer yourself as an authority or expert on any topic.
  • Choose whether you wish to include social media in your call-outs.
  • Specify the method people should use to contact you.
  • Create an expert profile to help potential influencers find you.

Pricing: Free for most users, $25 per month to create an expert profile

I respond to journalists’ queries on Sourcebottle because it is free and works.

When you are given a small to none budget, the price tag for each PR effort becomes a pain point during a marketing plan discussion. When a tactic is free, it’s a lot easier to act upon it.- quick.

No one is expecting an essay from you. All you need is to share your expertise on a certain topic and make it a newsworthy few sentences. – It’s relevant.

You only respond to the queries that are relevant to your expertise, therefore, cementing further your thought-leadership position in the industry.

My hard results are 11 quality backlinks within a month which increased our domain authority, ranking position in search as well as drew traffic to the website.

Ksenia NewtonDigital Marketing Manager at CrossCap
Answer-the-Public

Answer the Public

When you search for something on Bing or Google, the suggestions are the result of the most common recent searches and provide great insight into the emotions of the person behind the search.

Answer the Public is a tool that aggregates this data into easily readable charts and graphs so you can digest the information you need quickly to make valuable decisions about your online marketing and PR. This is a great resource for content marketing.

Other top features:

  • Enter multiple search terms
  • Visualizations of important data
  • One page reports on specific topics

Pricing: Free

Doing SEO, I also often mind myself doing public relations for my clients. I really love Answer The Public for learning about prospective audiences.

Answer The Public gives the user long tail questions centered around a head keyword.

One of my current clients wanted to expand his line of jewelry specifically to people who were a fan of the brand, Nike. We started by putting Nike into ATP and finding common questions to center our campaign around.

We validated the importance of these questions by looking at each one’s monthly search volume using Moz’s Keyword Explorer. With this, we tailored our landing pages, social media content, and Facebook ads to our new audience. We also made aesthetic changes to the jewelry to best suit this new cohort.

The client’s aggregate bounce rate on these new pages is 6% less than what it normally is with his similar low funnel pages, which is saying a lot as his bounce rate is already low.

Edward SturmOwner at Edward Sturm SEO Services
social media monitor by mashfeed

Mashfeed

Mashfeed is a social media aggregator but is excellent for public relations. You can gather feeds and hashtags from all of the social networks you love. It eliminates the clutter and brings the most critical content to the surface, so can quickly see who is promoting your hashtags and what they’re saying about your brand.

Other top features:

  • Social campaign tracking
  • Build collections
  • Browse feeds you don’t follow

Pricing: Free

Meltwater

Meltwater

The Meltwater application helps you to be more relevant in your industry by measuring your online mentions, analyzing your share of the voice in the market, and understanding your influencers. Through an intuitive dashboard, you have media mentions, reports, campaign performance, and ROI all at your fingertips.

By optimizing your efforts and monitoring your brand, you can keep tabs on the competition and improve your strategy based on the online movement in your industry.

Other top features:

  • Competitive benchmarking tools
  • Real-time alerts
  • Forecasting and revenue models

Pricing: From $199/month

We use Meltwater for media coverage tracking, reporting, and newsletter creation. It is super user-friendly and has a clean design that is easy to read and understand the metrics.

We can set up a certain amount of login accounts (depending on the price you choose) and create tags of keywords
(like our clients’ names and locations) to track when they are featured in an article, online publication or in the news. We can also create newsletters to send to our desired list of contacts.

Lastly, we can generate reports to show how many times the media mentioned our clients, if the sentiment was positive, negative or neutral, where that media person is located and much more.

Margearet HoynesPublic Relations and & Social Media Account Executive at The Brandon Agency
pr software solutions for companies

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo helps you analyze which trending topics perform best for any niche or competitor. You can discover the most used content, find influencers, set up alerts, or track your competitors. It also displays share activity across social media platforms and allows you to filter by data types such as video, infographic, interview, and many others.

Other top features:

  • Content curation
  • Data exports
  • Analysis reporting
  • Competitor research
  • Question analyser

Pricing: From $199/month

Writing and Grammar

Hemingway-App

Hemingway App

The Hemingway App helps you to write more clearly by editing text, suggesting changes to overly complicated words, and displaying the reading level of the content. Using this application will ensure that you communicate correctly and efficiently. You sound more educated when your writing is concise and grammatically correct.

Other top features:

  • Desktop app
  • Write directly in the app
  • Discovers 5+ types of writing errors
  • Great for writing SEO copy

Pricing: Free

Headline-Analyser

Headline Analyser

Headline Analyser is a PR tool that does just that: analyzes your headline. Catchy headlines provide meaning to your online content and help search engines find you. The right headline can mean the difference between being ignored, and being noticed.

Analyse headlines for:

  • Blog post titles
  • Email subject lines
  • Social messages

Pricing: From $40/month

Grammarly

Grammarly

Grammarly is an online editor and proofreading software. This software ensures your writing is free of grammatical and spelling mistakes. It identifies overused words, makes suggestions for how to improve your grammar, and scores your writing.

Full detailed review of Grammarly here.

Other top features:

  • Chrome extension
  • OS X desktop app
  • Paid version offers plagiarism checker

Pricing: Free with upgraded features available

Everyone knows that writing is a big part of any PR job. Whether it’s writing press releases, emails, or responding to reporter request, in PR, you’re going to do a lot of writing.

What many people fail to consider is that writing is often a reporter’s only impression of you and your business, so it’s important to do it correctly, every time. When I’m firing up a pitch email or my latest release, I rely heavily on Grammarly.

The free version is excellent at catching the majority of my silly mistakes (like typos), but to get into the nitty-gritty, you’ll need the paid version. My favorite part is the weekly progress report I get that tells me how productive and accurate I was, plus how my vocabulary stacks up against other users.

Madelene RogersSearch Engine Professional at CanIRank

Outreach

Pitchengine

Pitchengine

Pitchengine helps you to tell success stories. Create pitches and share them with your audience. With this generator, you can create content in the editor, publish and share it, then measure what resonates and track metrics.

Other top features:

  • Integrate multimedia
  • Embed videos
  • Smartphone optimization

Pricing: Free with upgraded features available

MailTrack

MailTrack.io

MailTrack.io helps you track your Gmail or Google Inbox without interfering with the experience you love. You can track messages delivery and open rates to make sure you sent the email, and that your recipient read it. If your contacts are also registered with MailTrack.io, tracking is enabled for group messaging as well.

Other top features:

  • Browser extensions
  • Notifications when emails are read
  • Enable tracking of multiple emails

Pricing: Free with upgraded features available

Followupthen

Followupthen

Followupthen is an easy way to schedule a follow-up reminder. Your clients will always receive a follow up at precisely the right time, you’ll never forget your boarding pass again, and you can clear out your inbox until it’s time to worry about the next task.

By sending emails to [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected], you’ll get reminders in your inbox exactly when they are relevant to you. You can send reminders to yourself or others by using To:, CC:, and BCC: fields.

Other top features:

  • Works on any device
  • Nothing to install
  • It’s just an email address, so it always works

Pricing: Free

Email-Hunter

Email Hunter

Email Hunter is a media relations tool that allows you to search any domain for the contact information of the people working there. It’s a useful tool to connect you with the people who matter most within an organization and get you directly to who is going to hear and care about your pitch. You can also verify deliverability, save a lead, or filter contacts.

Other top features:

  • Displays most common email address format for each organization
  • Includes public sources to help verify contact information
  • Chrome extension

Pricing: Free with upgraded features available

HARO

HARO / Help A Reporter Out

HARO is a database of media journalists can use to find opportunities for daily media coverage from expert sources. With a robust list of references, this program allows you to find the most recent information for upcoming stories.

Sources can also add information about their expertise, industry, or experience to the database at any time, keeping it accurate and up-to-date. In my opinion, it is one of the best pr tools you can use to become a news source. Remeber, building relationships is what PR is all about.

You can read my full review of help a reporter out.

Other top features:

  • Direct queries from journalists looking for sources
  • Query for tips on any subject
  • Email alerts
  • Build query templates

Pricing: Free with upgraded features available

Working in Digital PR to improve organic search visibility, it’s crucial that you create content which is not only engaging but also original and provides the journalist with something unique to utilize.

I find that HARO is my most crucial tool in terms of creating excellent quality content which will interest the press. For example, for our client instantprint, we recently created content around International Business Etiquette, and I used HARO to discover influential people in this sector.

I then worked with instantprint to create an infographic utilizing this information and a blog post. From this piece of content marketing, we generated 14 high-quality links from the likes of SmallBusiness.co.uk, Business Leader, and insider.

Hannah MooreSEO Campaign Executive at Intermarketing Agency
Anewstip

Anewstip

Anewstip allows you to search media contacts by what they’ve written or tweeted. With the world’s most extensive media database, Anewstip can index online news articles, tweets, media contacts, and more.

You can also monitor news articles by setting up alerts, so you always know what’s happening with your influencers, brand, competitors, or keywords.

Other top features:

  • Build lists
  • Organize contacts
  • Send targeted pitches

Pricing: Free with upgraded features available

Ninja-Outreach

Ninja Outreach

Ninja Outreach gives you the tools you need to find your influencers throughout the world and automate your outreach by using effective contact management software. Ninja Outreach searches thousands of bloggers, business leads, and other industry experts based on the keywords you enter for your link building campaign.

Once you gather contacts, you can manage them with notes, tags, email history, and RSS feeds, then target your next campaign to the most relevant online contributors. With filters, you can drill down to what’s working and fix what’s not.

Other top features:

  • Chrome extension, great for blogger outreach
  • Personalized templates
  • Email outreach campaigns

Software Pricing: From $69/month with a 14-day free trial

Hey,-Press

Hey, Press

Hey, Press is a lot like the other outreach programs, but it helps you find journalists in tech. All you have to do is enter a keyword, and you’ll instantly be connected with the most relevant journalists, their contact information, and the articles they’ve written.

Other PR Solutions from the makers of Hey, Press:

  • If No Reply
  • Upvote
  • JournoRequests

Pricing: From $15/month

Design

An image of a screenshot of the Foter home page

Foter

It is a challenge finding high-quality images to use with your clients’ content. Using stock photos is risky because many of them look posed. That is where Foter comes in.

Foter is a massive online database of royalty-free photographs that are yours for the taking. Its creators have taken pains to streamline usage. For example, the attributions are included in the embed code. That means you do not have to worry about complex attribution requirements.

When you sign up, you can use your Facebook account to register and log in. Once you are in, you can browse their suggested categories or search for what you need.

Once you have a group of potential photos, you can narrow your search. Foter is useful for PR professionals who do not have money to spend on pricey stock photos.

Other top features:

  • More than 335 million free stock photos are available, including Creative Commons.
  • See trending categories on the homepage.
  • Find everything from modern photos to vintage images.
  • Filtering and sorting options help you find what you need quickly.

Pricing: Free

Canva

Canva

Canva helps you create beautiful designs and documents quickly and without the use of an expensive editor. Choose from an extensive database of stock images or upload your own. Create in any style or size, or use the templates provided to build Facebook banners, Twitter profile images, or business cards. With all of these tools at your disposal, it’s simple to use, and everything will always be just the right size.

Other top features:

  • Photo editor
  • Color palettes
  • Font combinations
  • Shapes and icons

Pricing: Free with upgraded features available

This is a great tool to generate graphics for blogs, social media, Facebook ads, pitches, etc. I am not a designer, so this makes my life easy while still maintaining a professional look. I have requested my clients to use it as well.

I can create something from scratch or pick from one of their designs…then my creative juices take over, and I tweak until I force myself to stop. But I always feel confident with the result without hiring an outside source. They are expensive and the turnaround time takes too long.

Jackie BerlowskiOwner & Founder at GreatHerGood
Stencil

Stencil

Stencil is another media relations software that allows you to quickly create images for online marketing, social media, or newsletters. It saves time with templates, images, graphics, icons, and more. You can save your favorites, choose from high-resolution images, and build custom sizes or choose from the presets provided. You can also live preview your images before you share.

Stencil saves time by allowing you to share directly to multiple media platforms without leaving the page, or schedule your images for sharing at a later time, so you don’t forget.

Other top features:

  • Chrome extension
  • Quotes
  • Logo storage

Pricing: Free with upgraded features available

Pexels

Pexels

Pexels is a media relations database that provides a repository of free stock photos. By using stimulating images in your online marketing materials, you can engage with and relate to your customers. The selection of images continually grows as users contribute their own for others to use.

Other top features:

  • Chrome extension
  • Mac & Windows app
  • MS Office add-in
  • IFTTT recipe for Android
  • Photoshop plugin

Pricing: Free with upgraded features available

Media Monitoring Tools – Social Listening Tools

An image of a screenshot of the Notify tool home page

Notify

Notify is a comprehensive mention-tracking software that’s ideal for public relations. You can use it in several ways. It is designed to help you stay on top of your brand’s online reputation.

Use Notify to set up notifications using a variety of terms. You can monitor your brand or company. You might also track your competitors, keywords, and events. You can even watch an entire industry if you choose.

Notify allows you to select the sources you wish to monitor. The options include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Reddit, blogs, and more.

After you have selected your sources, you will receive immediate notifications of any mention. You have a choice of getting notifications in Slack or HipChat.

Other top features:

  • Get up to 50,000 mentions per month so you can monitor as many terms as you want.
  • Piggyback on your competitors’ PR strategy by tracking what they do.
  • Stay on top of industry trends and changes as they occur.
  • Track your press coverage and build relationships with journalists and authors.

Pricing: Free

Notify would be at the top of my list, it is a free social media monitoring app.

It collates and delivers mentions of your client across dozens of sources like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Medium and more and delivers straight to your slack channel. It enables you to keep on top of your exposure and share amongst your community for further impact.

Katie Olver CEO & Founder of CryptolandPR
Mention

Mention

Mention gives you the ability to monitor your customers, brand, industry, or competitors, making it easy for you to stay in touch with your online marketing efforts. This media observation management tool provides real-time monitoring of all of your keywords so you can organize them, filter out what’s not essential, and engage in the conversation with favoriting, retweeting, or responding.

Compare critical metrics against your competitors to see where you outperform and where you need to focus your energy. The intuitive dashboard helps you easily organize influencers, insights, and reports.

Other top features:

  • Summary alerts
  • Data sharing
  • Report creation

Pricing: From $29/month

Critical-Mention

Critical Mention

After setting up keyword searches, Critical Mention displays media coverage in as little as one minute after it appears online. The intuitive interface gives you what you need when you need it, allowing you to spend less time finding mentions and more time responding to them.

The Critical Mention app automates everyday tasks with alerts, daily email digests, and saved searches. You can share directly from the platform, and with mobile-friendly views, you can engage with Critical Mention from wherever you are. 

Other top features:

  • 24/7/365 live support
  • Reporting and analysis 
  • Social Media Networks Monitoring Service
  • API integration with Social Media Analytics

Pricing: Customized per package

Google-Alerts

Google Alerts

Google Alerts are basic and to the point. A favorite of many public relations managers.

Set up keywords or phrases and get emails with relevant news articles and stories delivered straight to your inbox. Google will even suggest alerts based on your preferences, making it easy for you to set it up with just a few clicks.

Other top features:

  • Manage alerts
  • Edit or delete alerts as needed
  • Link additional email addresses

Pricing: Free

My favorite PR tool slightly falls out of the traditional boundaries, as it is Google Alerts. It’s entirely free and allows PR and SEO specialists to find great opportunities to share their news and content.

Here’s one example of how we placed our images and got a great link back to our website. Chateau Margüi, a French vineyard, recently got acquired by George Lucas, as I had an alert on the term with Google Alerts I saw a lot of buzz going on.

The good thing is my client had done a photo report of this incredible location a year before. Therefore we were in the perfect
position to offer newspapers and magazines with exclusive images. This ended up earning a featured placement in Architectural Digest with links going to our original article.

Victor MichellPR Specialist at Digitak

Analysis

Simply-Measured

Simply Measured

Simply Measured analyses awareness and engagement across all social channels, compiles data from every major social network, unifies business metrics, and enriches data to make analysis straightforward and concise.

After listening to key influencers, industry trends, and your competitors, Simply Measured brings awareness to competitive benchmarks and social media database data. This gives you the public relations tools you need to build and automate reporting, share messages, and track conversions

Other top features:

  • Traffic measurements
  • Website activity tracking
  • Hashtag and keyword tracking including influencer engagement
  • Multiple Social Media Analysis Tools

Pricing: Free with upgraded features available

Air-PR

Air PR

By having access to the best data, you have better insights into your brand reputation, what your competitors are doing, and what people are saying about you. This drives better decision making and response times. If you are interested more in brand reputation software, I wrote a blog post with my top picks.

Air PR is software that compiles market data and helps you block all of the noise, uncovering the most meaningful insights.

Air PR’s reporting tool allows you to generate reports, schedule email alerts for key activities, understand what resonates in the market, and benchmark progress. By understanding your power of voice against competitors, you can develop better online marketing strategies.

Other top features:

  • PR measurement and attribution
  • Content analytics software
  • Media monitoring tools
  • Brand insights and reputation
  • Crisis management tool

Pricing: Free with upgraded features available. Request a demo.

An image of a screenshot of the Ahrefs tool home page

Ahrefs

Most people know Ahrefs as SEO software, but it has applications for public relations. When you are wearing many hats, it is helpful to assess your PR needs on an ongoing basis.

You can use Ahrefs to check the authority of a site. Before you respond to a blogger or journalist, you can prioritize your responses. That is information that’s useful when managing your reputation online. It can help you communicate with the sites that are mostly like to give you a boost.

It is also an excellent tool to help you monitor your authority. It can help you monitor your competitors, too. Ahrefs can help you stay abreast of new backlinks, allowing you to build your authority over time. You can even use it to piggyback on your competitors’ backlinks.

The content you post has a significant impact on your company’s public profile. Ahrefs allows its users to analyze content in any niche. You can start by focusing on what works for others. Then, use what you learn to maximize your online reputation.

Other top features:

  • Easy to use software is accessible to everyone
  • Comes with SEO toolbar Chrome extension
  • Content analysis with detailed social share information to help you track your results
  • Detailed metrics to help you with competitive media analysis at every level

Pricing: From $99 per month

Being used mostly by SEO pros, Ahrefs is still great time-saver for a PR specialist. 

Here are my three typical PR routines where Ahrefs comes in handy:

Getting Alerts for New Brands Mentions

Monitoring brand name mentions is what every PR pro does on an everyday basis. The most popular solution for it is Google Alerts, but I prefer Ahrefs for its extended functionality. It tracks not only brand names, but also domain mentions. So if someone links to my site without mentioning a brand name, I’ll still get notified.

Estimating the Influence of Third-party Sites

Ahrefs has several metrics that show how big and strong is backlink profile of a given website. When can it come in handy?

Building Media Pool

Analysing the number and “weight” of backlinks of a given media helps me understand its impact and authority. So I can quickly decide whom I should send pitches first.

Working with Public Opinions

Being a growing startup, Yolla gets a bunch of reviews in blogs and social media on an every-day basis. As a PR pro, I should react them all, but I just have no time for this. Ahrefs shows which of these reviews are most viewed and shared, so I need to react them first.

Getting New Content Ideas

Looking through the backlinks of competitors, I always find something worthy – a new topic that can be covered, an idea for media campaign a, and so on.

Olga AlpCEO at Yolla Calls International

Presentation

Coverage-Book

Coverage Book

Coverage Book automates reports based on your brand’s media coverage. Understanding how your coverage map compares with your competitors gives you the ability to focus on increasing your coverage to make sure you have enough brand visibility.

Coverage Book is accessible on a variety of platforms, so it’s available wherever you are. On your way to a meeting, waiting for a flight, or last-minute follow-ups before bed, Coverage Book is there.

Other top features:

  • Search for coverage by clients, times, or trends
  • Customized reporting
  • Measurable metrics

Pricing: From $99/month

Promotion

social media tools for business by Hootsuite

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media aggregator that consolidates all of your accounts into one stream. With only one platform to manage, you save time by posting to all of your social media accounts at once. You can quickly identify trends without going to each account separately.

Hootsuite is also a media relations tool that allows you to track your ROI and brand mentions, giving you the ability to protect your reputation and respond to posts.

Other top features:

  • Scheduled posts
  • Follow topics
  • Team assignment workflows
  • Run contests
  • 250 app integrations

Pricing: Free with upgraded features available

I would say that my go-to and essential online Public Relations Software HootSuite, a platform that enables and enhances the ability to schedule, monitor and track social media activity on Twitter, FB, LinkedIn and the like.

The great thing about HootSuite is that for businesses that such as ours, which are somewhat limited regarding marketing manpower, we can schedule our posts ahead of time in a convenient and organized way.

It also offers excellent tools for keyword monitoring and analytics tracking which allows us to easily and efficiently evaluate the success of our content and
campaigns.

In the month after we began using Hootsuite, we saw a 40% boost in engagement on our Facebook statuses. More so, using the analytics tools we learned that our Facebook fans were twice as likely to click on our Amazon product links as they were the product pages on our own website.

We’ve since begun focusing on Amazon links through social media, which has helped significantly increase sales and conversions.

Caleb BackeMarketing Director at Maple Holistics
Adaptly

Adaptly

Adaptly energizes campaigns across social media platforms. The Adaptly media relations app provides campaign optimization for different social media, boosting your campaign efficiencies specific to each platform.

Other top features:

  • Dedicated support
  • Tailored media plans
  • Campaign performance reviews

Pricing: Contact for pricing

Pr-Newswire

PR Newswire

PR Newswire helps you achieve your communication goals with the most extensive news distribution network in the promotion industry. You can securely manage and distribute your content with this PR tool by using their Online Member Center. Multimedia management builds engaging content, and proofreading services help you check your content for accuracy before you send it.

Other top features:

  • Most extensive press release distribution network in the industry
  • Media Studio
  • Editorial Services
  • Press Releases

Pricing: From $129/release

PR Experts Share More Actionable Advice

This will sound odd, but my favorite PR tool is Twitter. It’s a great way to follow conversations, trends, and niche reporters. I’ve even used Twitter to pitch, and it’s worked out really well.

Not all journalists like you to reach them via Twitter, but it’s a more personal approach to sending emails.

And best of all? It’s 100% free.

Chad ReidDirector of Communications at JotForm

While it may not be the obvious media database or monitoring service answer, my favorite is Twitter.

Twitter is an essential social network for PR professionals to be active on if they want to stay ahead of the game. The online social network takes you back one of the most basic public relations best practices – media relationships. Journalists are encouraged by their employers to be active on Twitter, and thus the platform creates additional space for connecting with them.

While sending a pitch email is still necessary, sending a tweet in addition to your pitch can make you stand out and lead to your email being opened among a flooded inbox of outreach from PR professionals. It allows you the chance to connect with a journalist in a more personal way.

Also, Twitter is great for maintaining strong relationships with media.  I like to go in and interact with media and influencers by retweeting,  favoriting or commenting on their tweets so they will keep me top of mind. Twitter lists is an excellent function for building lists of journalists in specific regions or who cover specific beats, and the search function is super accurate for finding journalists and influencers who may be talking about a specific topic on Twitter already.

I’ve had a simple tweet following an email pitch lead to coverage for my clients in top national publications that they wouldn’t have received otherwise.

Maggie Robert PR Director at Online Optimism

Gorkana is a fast and easy tool for finding relevant contacts for your story; it allows you to search with ease for the best-fitting publications and journalists thanks to its bank of thousands and thousands of names, newspapers, websites, blogs, and magazines.

It has been a real time saver in terms of finding the best people for our news stories and has helped us to gain coverage in the likes of The Huffington Post and The Times.

James Nuttall Content and Outreach Specialist at IT Works Agency

We love using Buzzstream to find prospects, perform outreach, and to build relationships. The tool with its constantly evolving features allows us to promote our content with increasing efficiency.

We can reach out to hundreds of qualified professionals or websites – without resorting to automated email blasts -and expect strong response rates (20% or higher).

Raj ShahSenior marketing manager of SEO at Take Lessons Live

Two of my favorite PR tools are Cision and BuzzStream.

We just recently started using Cision, and it has been much easier to identify influencers and find their contact information. Our process of building media lists has been shortened by several hours for each project we do. Cision makes it so easy to organize contacts, search editorial calendars, and focus email campaigns.

Buzzstream has also been valuable in producing large lists of media contacts quickly, but it’s been more helpful in streamlining media outreach and email marketing campaigns. BuzzStream recently introduced “sequences,” which allows you to schedule emails, monitor response and open rates, and send all of the followups that you might need, depending on whether or not your audience responds.

The members of my team have saved several hours per project as a result of BuzzStream sequencing, which results in a massive boost in our productivity and potentially thousands of dollars collectively saved a month.

Harrison BradyCommunications Specialist at Frontier Communications

One of my favorite PR tools is Source Bottle. Source Bottle is similar to HARO in that it is an online service established for journalists and writers to quickly and easily receive feedback from the public.

The main difference between HARO and Source Bottle is that Source Bottle does not require an Alexa rank of one million or less to sign up as a journalist, writer, or blogger and begin submitting queries. This means that it is an excellent way for beginning bloggers and small businesses to receive quotes and input from people around the world to add depth and expert knowledge to the content they publish.

I recently submitted a query on Source Bottle for a roundup post on Link Building Tips and Tricks from the Experts and received numerous responses which I then turned into a list post and published on my site. The post has received over 180 social shares and a 199% increase in my site’s traffic.

James MilanOwner at James Milan SEO Consultant

I have two big favorites, Meltwater and HARO.

Meltwater is excellent because it lets me create search options for different categories. Personally, I combine the use of tags and searches to create dashboards that make quarterly reporting a breeze. As long as I keep tagging relevant articles, reporting is automated.

On the other hand, HARO is great when you are trying to look for new pitches or want to help journalists out.

I say, look for new pitches because reading through the reporter requests sometimes makes me think of information a different way and helps me keep creative.

Diana VillegasInternational PR Manager at InnoGames

My favorite tool by far is helpareporter.org. I secured PR with the Wall Street Journal and other publications using pieces of apple pie, beers, and nearly anything I could do to make friends with reporters. Help a reporter has made it far easier to connect with reporters and build relationships.

I also use LinkedIn which posts automatically to Twitter which I have set up to post to Facebook. Together across the platforms, I reach 9,000 people including 450 CEOs, 1,100 Directors, and over 1,000 VPs. The reach is amazing. I frequently get leads from posting. Saying happy birthday on LinkedIn has led to national media mentions.

Google Alerts keep me on top of topics I care about and alerts me to them.

I look at who people I admire follow on Twitter so I can be first to hear about important stories.

John Paul EngelCEO at Knowledge Capital Consulting

I have had great success with Haro, both from bloggers and magazines such as Men’s Journal andShape.

However, it’s a volume and consistency effort. You’ll reply to a lot more than you will get coverage out of, so you need to decide how to spend your time.

Haro Tips:

* When working with a client, I keep a template prepared for use for Haro, but customize it to the approach that the journalist requests.

* I try to include everything they may need and respond promptly.

* I never respond to a query that doesn’t apply. It won’t get you anywhere, and the journalist won’t like it.

* I do not follow up after the initial request in this case because if they are interested, they will contact you.

Mary CochranCofounder at Launching Labs Marketing

My number one PR tool to use is HARO (Help a Reporter Out).

This has been a truly terrific service for both my clients and for myself. The top-notch exposure and free media coverage has been worth its weight in gold.

Also, there are various web-based technologies that I like to use as another back-up. Namely, I distribute client press releases to newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations online through PR Newswire, PR Web, and EIN Newswire services. These are very cost-effective media distribution tools that a lot of companies rely on.

They also provide valuable and detailed analytics reports. As an independent PR expert, having this back-up to get the word out about my clients, their products, causes, and services has been very worthwhile.

Rhonda Rees CEO & Founder at Rhonda Rees Public Relations Company

Since I run a boutique agency, I try to find tools that cut some of my overhead costs. A few of my favorites are Google Alerts, HARO, and Canva.

I love Google Alerts because it allows me to monitor client news and mentions in real time. Not only does this tool save me time on research, but it is also entirely free!

One of my clients was mentioned in an article with Beyonce wearing her swimsuit, and Google Alerts notified me before the journalist.

HARO is an amazing tool to utilize. It is the perfect matchmaking sight because it pairs the story with the narrator. This tool helps alleviate some of the cold calling! Thanks to HARO I have garnered a few placements for my clients and company.

Canva is marketing and PR haven. This tool helps the create beautiful graphics for both social media and presentations! Many of my company Instagram posts are created with one of the 1000s of templates they provide.

Tiffany CadoganCEO & Founder at Sapphire Ink PR

I’ve had a lot of success using Help a Reporter Out. It’s free, and in addition to the PR value, you often get a link back to your website, which is nice little SEO bonus – especially if the link if from an authoritative site. I’ve used HARO to acquire links for not only clients but also for my own site.

Over the years, I’ve gotten links from major sites such as TechCrunch, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc, USA Today, and the New York Times, among many, many others. In addition to getting a link back to your homepage, you can also pitch specific products or services that you offer, and get links to those pages as well.

In my experience, it’s easily the most cost-effective PR tool.

Brandon SeymourFounder at Beymour Consulting

My favorite digital PR tool is the Sendible Dashboard.

It can be used for many things:

  • Monitoring mentions and keywords
  • Managing posts
  • Managing responses and assigning tasks to team members
  • Creating content and posting content  (it integrates with Canva)
  • Finding influencers (really good for this)
  • Tracking results
  • Reporting

I find it to be far and away the best of all the management dashboards. It saves time and money, and it definitely gets me better results and engagement. I use it for myself, my agency and my clients

Sally FalkowCEO at Meritus Media

I prefer a non-traditional PR tool for pitching and outreach to get a good feel for what will and won’t work for an individuals personality.

Crystal Knows has a breakdown of people’s  personalities and what will work with outreach (sales, meetings, etc.) based on their personality profile. It’s handy when writing (and has a Gmail plug-in). When I use it for outreach, I see an increased and more attentive response rate

Jeremy PepperFounder at Communimatic

Summary of Public Relations Tools and Techniques

With so many pr software solutions available on the market today, it’s hard to make sense of what they all do and which ones are the best.

Management & Collaboration – This software helps you manage your relationships by providing a deeper understanding of contact media profiles. Boost brand engagement by collaborating with the contacts who are most interested in a particular industry problem or solution.

Planning – By aggregating data, these relational tools provide insights into the emotions of the consumer, helping you to prepare a more effective online marketing strategy. By understanding your key influencers and your voice in the market, you can target the correct channels to increase your brand reputation.

Writing and Grammar – Perhaps the most valuable of all programs, these resources edit your content for readability, reading level grammar, and spelling. They can even help you develop engaging content to interest your readers and optimize your blog for search.

Outreach – A wide array of media relations tools exist for outreach including sharing, publishing, tracking email, following up, searching for media sources, gaining additional contacts, and finding primary influencers.

Design – Without the help of an expensive photo editor or knowledge of photo editing, these applications can build banners, profile pics, online marketing campaigns, and more with just a series of clicks. They’re always the right size and format, and they’re easy to use.

Monitoring – Public relations tools for monitoring help you monitor your brand reputation, influence, industry, and competitors. By knowing what people are saying about you and how your competitors are performing, you can develop a strategy to outperform, and you will know where to focus your energy.

Analysis – This software gives global insights into brand reputation, competition, and industry news thru all different types of pr. They drive better decision making, help you understand your power of voice, and enable you to be proactive by building crisis management plans.

Presentation – How your brand is presented online is critical. These presentation tools report your media coverage and what people are saying so you understand how they feel and can present your brand accordingly.

Promotion – These aggregate all of your social media platforms into one feed so you can promote easily, quickly, and efficiently to all of your followers across all channels.

While there is no single public relations tool that is right for all PR professionals, hopefully, this list gives you a great starting point.