Public relations professionals have access to countless tools that promise to improve campaign performance, increase productivity, and help them win more business. But which tools are the most impactful, and drive the best results for agencies and their clients? We’re breaking down the top five solutions that every PR professional should have in their arsenal.
Cision’s suite of media management tools are among the most highly regarded by PR practitioners around the world. With a database of nearly 1 billion media contacts and social influencers, Cision allows users to search for journalists by interest, outlet, or other demographics, and build media lists for active campaigns. Cision also has its own press release distribution service, PR Newswire.
Price: New users can get a free trial, but pricing varies based on number of users and access to specific features.
Pros: Cision’s platform is intuitive, and doesn’t require extensive onboarding. Over 20,000 media profiles are updated everyday, so users will always have accurate contact information, outlet details, and subject areas for every journalist in the system. Using Cision’s analytics tools, users can track earned media coverage across print, online, broadcast, blogs and social media sites. With unlimited searches and dashboards, users can create comprehensive monitoring reports that include metrics, like reach and share of voice.
Cons: Cision is the most expensive media monitoring tool and database on the market today.
Best used for: Building media lists, managing campaigns, and monitoring media coverage.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is within the Cision family and is a sourcing service that connects media contacts with subject matter experts, to help journalists find sources for their stories, and to help brands get media coverage. The service reaches more than 800,000 sources and 55,000 journalists, with inquiries from business, trade, and online publications.
Price: Basic subscriptions are free, and paid subscriptions start at $19 per month.
Pros: With HARO, PR professionals can reduce the amount of cold pitching they do. Users will find publications of all sizes, a wide range of topics, and different opportunities, such as podcast episodes or byline placements. HARO’s email alerts are easy to track, and it’s simple to skim through the full list of queries for a specific topic. HARO is a great networking tool for PR professionals, and allows users to build relationships with media after connecting through a HARO query.
Cons: Journalists that use HARO to source experts receive many responses to their queries, so the chance of being selected for a story isn’t guaranteed.
Best used for: Finding media opportunities, and building relationships with journalists.
Yesware is an inbox productivity solution that offers email tracking services, campaign management tools, templates, and more. Users can create email templates in Gmail and Outlook 365, reuse commonly sent messages, and track open rates. Yesware’s time-saving tools allow users to send emails at specific dates and times, with the option to automate replies for more efficient follow up.
Price: Subscriptions start at $12 per month after a free trial.
Pros: Yesware helps PR professionals improve productivity and save time when writing and sending pitch emails. The template feature allows users to save emails, store them, and reuse them in the future. With Yesware’s tracking tool, users can see which recipients opened an email, and clicked an attachment. The platform is great for pitching to large media lists, because Yesware allows users to automate email sending. Users can also see which emails are ready for follow up, instead of manually tracking response data in a separate document.
Cons: Users can’t see if an email was forwarded to another person, which is a common practice among journalists on deadline. Additionally, Yesware analytics are only held for 30 days after an email is sent.
Best used for: Tracking email opens, automating sending to large contact lists, and tracking follow up.
Grammarly touts itself as a writing assistant that helps people communicate more effectively. The platform currently has more than 20 million customers around the world, who rely on Grammarly to enhance their writing by scanning for spelling and grammar errors, and improving tone, style, and clarity.
Price: Grammarly’s basic model is free, and premium subscriptions start at $29 per month.
Pros: Grammarly offers a robust suite of writing, editing, and proofreading tools in the free version of the software. The platform can be downloaded as an application on iOS, used through the free Google Chrome extension, or used with Microsoft Office. Grammarly is compatible with a variety of popular platforms, such as Twitter, Google Docs, and Slack, so users can ensure their writing is clear and consistent across every channel. Grammarly is easy to use, with a seamless user interface, and doesn’t require in-depth onboarding training.
Cons: Grammarly can only be used to scan and edit documents in English.
Best used for: Proofreading emails, press releases, and social media copy.
BuzzSumo provides social insights that help PR professionals stay privy to industry trends, so they can broaden their understanding of current news cycles. Users can discover what content people are sharing in a certain industry, analyze what headlines are getting the most attention, and discover guest post or interview opportunities.
Price: Subscriptions start at $99 per month after a 7-day free trial.
Pros: BuzzSumo allows users to run content research and influencer searches, and get notified via alerts when a brand, competitor, or topic is mentioned. BuzzSumo has a simple user interface, and includes filters that let users get specific with their content searches. A trending news tab makes it simple to see which articles are getting attention across the web and social, so PR professionals can insert their clients into relevant conversations. Similar to Cision, BuzzSumo has a database of influencers that users can search through to find contacts covering certain topics.
Cons: For smaller PR agencies or freelancers, the cost of BuzzSumo can be expensive.
Best used for: Analyzing news trends, and finding timely topics to pitch media on.