But to get started and get yourself out there, these high-powered tools may be overkill or too expensive. Below I’ve compiled a list of inexpensive and free tools that will help small businesses with their PR needs.
It’s separated into four sections:
- How to find the right reporter to send your news to
- How to find the reporter’s requests for articles/interviews
- How to approach the reporter
- How to keep track of your brand
How to Find the Right Reporter
Price: Free for a list of 3 reporters or $45/month
If you aren’t signed up for the monthly subscription, you get a list of the 3 most recent articles on your topic.
A big drawback is that you can’t access a reporter’s contact information unless you pay.
2.) Hey Press
Price: Free unlimited searching. Exporting a list can be pay-as-you-go ($10) or month-to-month (“Earlybird” special starts at $15/month)
Hey Press allows you to do unlimited searching for keywords. The service then prioritizes reporters by the number of recent articles they’ve written on the topic, which really helps to identify who is really interested in a topic.
In addition, any contact info they have for the reporter is listed above their recent articles. For a small business this is a great resource! Their paid plans allow you to create lists which you can then export contact information in a CSV file for easier use. For businesses just starting out, the free version is perfect.
How to Find Press Requests
Journalists are always looking for resources and they advertise their requests through a variety of channels. The resources below allow you to answer press requests and to pitch what you’re interested in. What better way to get press than to be identified as an expert in your field?
Price: Free / Premium (starting at $19/month)
Everyone should know HARO at this point. HARO is short for Help A Reporter Out and is a great way to harness media opportunities.
The free version is distributed via topical email lists. The paid version allows you to search their database, get alerts for specific keywords, receive text alerts and get early notice of opportunities. HARO has Facebook, LinkedIn and a YouTube page where they post tips. On Twitter, they post alerts and urgent alerts.
Price: Free /Premium (“EarlyBird” of ￡15/month)
JournoRequests is like HARO or ResponseSource for Twitter. But instead of having journalists sign up, JournoRequests follows journalists’ tweets. This allows journalists to save time and helps small businesses receive more relevant requests. JournoRequests also filters out irrelevant tweets and has human curators to ensure quality leads. The Premium version provides topical, keyword and instant alerts. It’s also worth noting that JournoRequests is created by the same team that offers Hey Press.
How to Approach the Reporter
5.) Crystal Knows
Price: Starting at $19/month
This is an amazing tool. One of the key components of PR is to make pitches tailored and personal. And Crystal Knows lets you do just that. It will provide a “Predicted Personality Profile” that gives pointers on how and what to communicate to your reporter. This is priceless information that can really impact your PR.
How to Keep Track of Brand Mentions
After you’ve done all the work in making a pitch, press release, or response, you will want to keep track of the results. These tools are also good to use regularly to catch any mentions or trends that you can capitalize on.
Price: Free / Premium (Starting at $59/month)
SumAll lets you compile and compare data across networks. This helps you to see where you are performing well and where you need to reassess.
The premium versions add pdf reports that are automatically generated and emailed to you. The highest tier adds analysis with actionable steps to improve your reach.
Price: Free 2 week trial, plans start at $29/month
Mention allows you to monitor keywords (like brand or personal names) across the web. It provides some analytic tools that measure perception, frequency, and location data. You can also identify key bloggers, websites, tweeters, etc. who mentioned you.
Price: Free/Premium (custom pricing)
The free version of Tagboard allows you to monitor your #hashtags across different networks. The Premium version allows you to embed and moderate a hashtag on your website.
9.) Google Alerts
A great free tool to monitor keywords across the web is Google Alerts. You can get either daily or weekly digests for the keywords you are interested in. If you don’t need the metrics provided by Mention, this is a great alternative.
We hope these resources help you to harness your PR potential and grow your business.
What are your favourite PR tools? Have you used any of these resources before?
Edward Alonzo is currently interning with Elena Verlee at Cross Border Communications. He’s finishing his Masters in Web Design and Online Communication. He runs a small digital design business TheNewE.com and you can follow his blog at Grad.Sirhair.com.
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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