The public relations industry is often characterized as fast-paced, stressful and always-on. With the proper tools, however, many day-to day tasks that are traditionally time-intensive or seemingly mundane can be simplified, freeing up time for the more strategic, creative and intellectually stimulating projects that we’re always hungry for.
The six tools below can help PR professionals increase efficiency, speed and productivity on things like creating media lists or tracking client coverage. This way, we can spend more time focusing on the fun stuff — like brainstorming fresh storyline ideas or strategizing an upcoming launch.
Google Alerts: Notifications for client and competitor coverage
If you’ve ever worked at an agency you know how important it is to be on top of everything, all the time. But staying on top of client and competitor coverage while you’re busy writing a Pulitzer-winning press release or creating a frame-worthy media list (with all the reporter Twitter handles updated!) can be tough. Often, client stories we’ve secured or major competitor announcements publish while we’re heads down in other work. As a result, sometimes clients flag coverage before we’ve even had a chance to read and analyze the story. Google Alerts can ensure you get near immediate access to relevant coverage — across all of your accounts, without having to search for it.
Google Docs: No more attachments titled “Client name release — version 29”
Speaking of press releases, if you’ve ever written one, you know how many revisions it has to go through before it’s ready to go live. And even after it’s ready to cross the wire, you still may get one or two last-minute edit requests. If you’re working on a Word doc, each revision means a new attachment and email. At some point, there are so many attachments and versions that it’s hard to know which is the most up-to-date. With Google Docs, all the parties involved can collaborate, suggest edits and update a single doc in real time.
HARO or HARPO?: Help A Reporter Out
HARO may be a service aimed at helping reporters get great sources for their stories, but it could just as easily be called HAPRPO (Help A PR Person Out) because it’s a great way to quickly get clients into articles reporters are already working on. The best part is that the reporter requests come straight to your inbox, along with their contact information. It’s a win-win service for journalists and reporters.
Cision: Find contact information on reporters and publications
How did we ever build out media lists before Cision? For those constantly pitching reporters and creating media lists, Cision — if it’s not already — will quickly become your best friend. You can use Cision to look up contact information on specific journalists and publications, and even find out which reporters cover your client’s industry area. Bonus tip: Even if the specific reporter you’re looking for isn’t listed, you can find out the template form particular publications use for their employee email addresses.
IT Database: Find out who covers various industries
Another great tool for those who frequently pitch media is IT Database. If you’re looking for a reporter who covers a specific topic — like mobile payments or enterprise security — IT Database can help you quickly find relevant reporters who cover the space.
Twitter: Build relationships with the media
Whether it’s a reporter you frequently work with, or a new journalist you’re reaching out to for the first time, it’s important to be up-to-date on the articles they’ve recently written before reaching out. Journalists are far more likely to read and respond to personalized pitches. Instead of going to each individual blog or publication to find out what articles reporters have recently written, you can follow them on Twitter and get updates across journalists and publications straight in your Twitter feed. Plus, you get the added bonus of getting to know things like a reporter’s interests outside of work, or how they like (or don’t like) to be pitched, which helps you build a stronger relationship with the reporter.