(& the Experts Have Their Say)
Time is sacred for PRs.
With so many details to capture, information to share, and stakeholders to please, time-consuming processes have always been a problem — until now.
Today, there are tons of tools that help streamline systems and optimise research to get more meaningful press materials out quicker than ever before.
These all help free up time that can be spent on important activities only humans can do. The challenge is that there are so many top PR tools out there that it’s difficult to know where to start (and leaves us in danger of spending more time trialling them all than actually doing the work).
We’ve narrowed it down to this selection of the best around at the moment and asked some leaders in the PR space to chime in with their favourites.
Great for… Brainstorming Content
Our free app, AnswerThePublic, combines industry-relevant topics with the most common questions asked on Google. All you have to do is plug in the subject you want to brainstorm and the app spits out all the relevant and most popular search terms people use on Google.
Not only does the tool generate loads of content ideas, but the results are based on solid search data that shows the real questions people are plugging into Google. This means you’ll garner ideas that are both meaningful for your info-hungry audience and great for SEO.
Try out AnswerThePublic for free with a limited number of searches, or opt for the Pro Plan at $99 for unlimited searches.
Great for… Getting Ideas Signed Off
Once you’ve got your meaningful and relevant idea, it’s time to get it signed off by various stakeholders — a process that can be a bit like herding cats. While the quickest way to get this done is to get everyone together for an hour-long discussion, it can be a nightmare trying to actually get everyone in the same room in the first place.
You can use Doodle to determine stakeholder schedules. It works like a poll, where the necessary people can mark the days and times they’re free. You can then see at a glance the best time for everyone and automatically sync it with your calendar.
Doodle has a free plan for family and friends, or you can try out a 14-day free trial before starting a premium plan for €43 per month.
Great for… Finding Journalists
If you do not have expensive database software, scouring publications and hunting for the right journalist to reach out to can be a real time-suck, which is why it can be dangerously tempting to send blanket emails to anyone and everyone.
PressRush starts at $49 a month with no contract and makes it easier to cherry pick the right journalists while also getting the information you need to make thoughtful, personalised pitches. The database lets you search relevant journalists and see all their information in a single glance. From there, you can send a pitch straight to their email and track opens and clicks from the built-in dashboard.
Great for… Finding Influencers
Influencers can help spread your story, but they can also offer great insights and quotes to beef up your press releases. Finding the right people can be tricky, though.
While BuzzSumo is also a great tool for figuring out what content is performing well within certain topics, it also helps you discover the most influential people in those spheres. Just plug in a topic you want to find influencers for and you’re instantly presented with a list of key people, along with how many social media followers they have.
BuzzSumo lets you run 3 free searches a day. If you want to run more than that, you can sign up for a free 7-day trial before joining a pro plan starting at $79 a month.
Great for… Managing Emails
Superhuman calls themselves the fastest email experience ever made, which is a bold statement but believable with the range of features they have for time-strapped PRs. You can work offline and sync emails, speed up writing with keyboard shortcuts, and set notifications for when people open your email, click on links, and download attachments so you know who to target first.
This all takes the pain out of having to remember to chase up journalists and clients. The app has taken read receipts from social messenger sites and brought them to email, providing insights into who’s read your email and when.
This means you can strike while the iron is hot and chase up at exactly the right moment. The tool also lets you “undo” sends and allows you to connect with respondents on other social and professional channels to build relationships.
You currently have to request to access Superhuman, which doesn’t have a free option at the moment.
6. Google Docs
Great for… Writing Press Material
When you’ve got your idea signed off, it’s time to knuckle down and write the press materials. Google Docs is completely free and lets you write content that can be stored and accessed by anyone you choose.
Unlike programmes that are built into your computer, Google Docs can be accessed anywhere. Once you’ve finished creating, the tool makes it really easy to collaborate with colleagues and stakeholders within the same document because every change is instantly made live. This means you can say goodbye to passing versions 1, 2, 3, and 20 around and keeping track of them.
Great for… Finding Statistics
Need to backup a story with solid figures? It’s easy to waste hours scrolling through reports and research to find the numbers you need, but Statista eliminates that.
You simply plug in the topic of your story and are presented with pages of statistics that relate to it, making it easy to handpick the most relevant and insightful data.
Though there is lots of data available for free on Statista, to access more detailed and industry-specific reports, you’ll need to get a premium account for $49 a month.
Great for… Managing Social Media
Having a bloated social media strategy that needs your attention at different times of the day on different platforms can be exhausting. Bring everything together with Buffer, where you can build your entire social media workflow into one central location.
From the dashboard, you can quickly schedule promotional content and map out a strategy that gets more eyeballs on your press content without you having to give up any more precious time.
You can schedule 10 posts across 3 social media accounts on the free plan, or you can pay for a pro plan that starts at $15 a month for less restricted use.
Great for… Reporting Coverage
CoverageBook’s main aim is to slash the time you spend collating coverage — one of the most boring admin tasks that still plagues PRs.
Simply throw in your coverage URLs, and the tool will gather screenshots and metrics and generate them into a compelling, easy-to-read report for you.
Try out a free trial before signing up for one of the premium plans that start at $99 a month.
Expert PRs Share Their Favourite Tools
Buzzstream, recommended by Bethanie Jane of SilverBean
“Buzzstream saves us a lot of time by being one central ‘hub’ for prospect contact details, email chains and visibility of campaign success. Scheduling emails and follow ups allows us to be productive at times when we’re less likely to get a response from a prospect, and the Buzzmarker allows us to quickly see any crossover through member’s of the team.”
SaneBox, recommended by Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks
“Sanebox is the biggest time saver. No longer do I have to deal with hundreds of emails in my inbox. Only the most important ones come in and the others are automatically filed in folders for my review when I have time.”
Canva, recommended by Lauren Force of Buchanan Public Relations
“Canva will make you feel like a graphic designer with its free stock photos and simple templates for creating beautiful images. Get your creativity on and start designing eye-catching graphics to accompany your social media posts.”
Todoist, recommended by Liz Cies of Idea Grove
“Todoist is my favorite task management app — it’s very clean, simple and straightforward, with enough sophistication in its features to be customizable without being overwhelming.”