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PR Tools That Don’t Rhyme with Focus or Vision

I’ve used products from Vocus, Cision, BurrellesLuce, PRNewswire, BusinessWire and Marketwire in the past, and they’ve all helped me get my work done faster and deliver stronger results for clients. There are also a wide-range of free products out there (HARO comes to mind) that deliver tremendous value to PR pros. Despite the popularity of HARO, I still regularly come across PR pros who’ve never heard of it. This got me thinking… what other PR tools are out there that people have never heard of?

Here are some alternatives I uncovered; let me know if you have any additions to the list:

Media Relations

  • MediaSync: mBLAST just launched a FREE media list service called MediaSync. While its price is reason enough to try it out, MediaSync has some great search features that enable you to determine who your influencers are in a particular market and find outlets and contacts that reach them. MediaSync has a database of more than 500,000 media contacts and 9 million articles and blogs. You can search for contacts or opportunities (including editorial calendars) using a simple search box.
  • NewsBasis – one of the newest players in the market, NewsBasis is targeted at helping journalists improve their targeting of sources. It turns the media relations model on its head. As a source, you can add your profile to the database and position yourself for more interview opportunities.
  • MatchPoint – here’s another start-up trying to approach media targeting in a smart way. MatchPoint lets you paste your pitch into a search box and find journalists who write about what you’re pitching. It’s intended to reduce PR spam and improve targeting accuracy. It’s a great concept and I look forward to seeing this one improve.
  • PressWiki: another FREE directory of media contacts and outlets. PressWiki is designed as a wiki, so everyone shares responsibility for the quality of information in the database. While it’s not as developed as MediaSync, its a great alternative for those with no budget for a media database.
  • HARO – everyone reading this should know about HARO (Help A Reporter Out), but every time I do a list like this, somebody comments with a HARO suggestion. HARO is a FREE service (recently purchased by Vocus) that emails you three times each weekday with information on journalists looking for sources to interview. If you have a source that fits, you reply with the appropriate information. It’s one of the easiest ways to get press. PRNewswire has had a similar service for years called ProfNet, but it’s not free.

  • ExpertTweet: Journalistics built ExpertTweet about a year ago. We did it for fun and it’s free. We are about to make some new changes to it that will make it even better, but it works now. Want some additional resources for a story you’re working on? Tweet your request through ExpertTweet. The message goes to ExpertTweet’s followers, so you reach a whole new audience with your request (granted, only about 3,000 people right now – but it’s growing). The more you use it, the better it will get. It’s a similar concept to HARO, but limited to Twitter – it works best for journalists looking for sources for immediate contact.
  • NewsCertified Exchange: NewsCertified Exchange (NCE) provides journalists with a searchable database of experts who have been ‘certified’ as interview-ready. Founded by a bunch of former journalists (an supported by a pretty impressive advisory board), NewsCertified is the most impressive pro-journalist offering out there. For a fee, experts can be added to NewsCertified’s database (though you have to meet the editorial board’s requirements). This service is ideal for experts looking to build a national (or international) personal brand.
  • Journalistics: It will be called something different, and we’ll eventually charge for some features, but the first version of our expert search engine is live. If you’re an expert, add yourself for free. We’ll be promoting to journalists in a few months, so hopefully you’ll score some interviews out of it. We really think there’s a lot of opportunity for an expert search engine (a ‘source’ search engine if you will), that helps journalists find great sources on-the-fly. While we’re planning to charge for things down the road, the first 1,000 users will get at least one year free (hint, hint).
  • PitchEngine: social media releases (SMR) help you package, distribute, manage and track your news across social media. If there’s one standout in the SMR sector, it’s PitchEngine. If you have content you want to share across social media, you may want to try PitchEngine for your next release.
  • Press Kit’n: in the social media newsroom category, Press Kit’n stands out as a solution worth checking out. While I tend to think you can build you can build a great newsroom with a good design and development team, I realize everyone doesn’t have this kind of access. In this case, a service like Press Kit’n might be the ticket.

Speaking & Awards

It’s challenging to keep up with all the speaking and awards opportunities out there. I’ve found very few PR databases that include accurate awards and speaking opportunity information. If awards and speaking opportunity pursuit is a significant portion of your PR program, you might want to look into one of these solutions:

  • AwardSync – AwardsSync is a FREE database of awards opportunities. It’s one of the most comprehensive databases on awards I’ve found, which is good and bad – there’s a lot of information to sift through. A little tweaking of the search results and you’ll save hours of work using this product.
  • PRSourceCode – specific to tech and telecom industries, PRSourceCode has been one of my favorite products for a while. It’s a paid service, but well worth it if you have a bunch of clients you’re working for. You pay by the categories you want, and PRSourceCode’s research team sends you alerts on a daily basis (similar to how query services work). They also have a great editorial calendar product worth looking into.

I know there are a lot of other PR products and services out there that I probably missed. What should I add to this list?

About Jeremy Porter

Jeremy Porter is co-founder and editor of Journalistics, a lively blog about public relations and journalism topics.

  • http://www.newsforce.com Dana Todd

    Fantastic list – there were several on here I hadn’t heard of. Thanks for compiling and sharing! I have some to add…
    Two products from Press-Feed.com:
    – Hosted RSS feeds for your own announcements and releases (one SEO technique is to make sure that your own RSS version hits Google just slightly before a wire service, so that your domain gets the credit as original source). Monthly fee.
    – Turnkey hosted social media newsrooms (Software as a Service), get it live in a day rather than begging your IT team for a year. Contains aforementioned RSS feeds plus other nifty features, and can be customized to your site look/feel. Monthly fee.
    Also:
    – PRGenie is a startup to watch; it’s got a free press release distribution option, with step-up pricing to use their media contacts database. Comparable in price to PRWeb, uses PRN for multimedia distribution plus its own database of contacts. Not sure how fresh/accurate the contacts are, would love to hear from a user. Single-use and monthly pricing.
    – If you link to or blog about your releases and you use WordPress, install the Zemanta plug-in and allow your entries to be part of their database. What happens next is that other bloggers who are using Zemanta will potentially see your entry or news article as a suggested “related link” in their admin dashboards – contextually suggested as they write a post. Zemanta is free.
    – Outbrain’s pay-per-click model is interesting: you put in links to either your own stories or press mentions that you want to get extra coverage, and they run it in a contextual widget on their news partners. You pay only for clicks (this is a new change – used to be flat monthly fee for inclusion).

    And of course you can always just bypass journalists altogether and use our Newsforce sponsored headline service :-)

    • http://blog.journalistics.com Jeremy Porter

      Nice. I love the additions. I hope things are going well with Newsforce.

  • http://www.twendzpro.com Julee Bean

    Great post!

    Check out WE twendz pro by Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. This Twitter monitoring and measurement platform locates a brand’s influencers, gauges tweet emotion, analyzes trends, tracks conversations and measures campaign outcomes.

    WE twendz pro reveals where influence begins and how it lives. Our consulting and Insights and Analytics services deliver targeted reports and strategic insights to help brands optimize communication plans.

  • http://www.theprcoach.com The PR Coach

    Excellent list Jeremy. How about these three?
    StockTwits http://stocktwits.com/ir New service for IR & PR pros.
    DropBox http://www.dropbox.com/ Handy free/paid tool to send large video or audio files to colleagues.
    Picnik http://www.picnik.com Terrific free/paid photo editor that is utterly simple to use; works great
    Regards, Jeff

    • http://blog.journalistics.com Jeremy Porter

      Good suggestions – not exclusively related to PR – but handy tools for professionals. Thanks.

  • http://pitchengine.com Jason Kintzler

    Thanks Jeremy, always a pleasure!
    Jason Kintzler,
    PitchEngine

  • Press Junkie

    Jeremy, you should check-out Mediahound. It’s not just PR, but broader marketing with pr integrated.

    • http://blog.journalistics.com Jeremy Porter

      How did I forget about Mediahound? Where’s the love for the other Atlanta-based companies? Thanks Press Junkie for pointing out the oversight. Mediahound has some great products – particularly if you care about monitoring or quantifying the value of the marketing or PR work you do.

      • http://Www.mediahound.biz @Edw3rd

        Jeremy & PressJunkie – thanks for mentioning MediaHound. Always happy to talk marketing metrics and, yes, even the statistical relationships between unpaid and paid media! Everyone is welcome to play with http://tradeshowmetrics.com/nokiaworld for a free slice of our work

  • http://www.twitter.com/liyywln Joey

    Are these just for the US?

    I use journalisted.com quite a lot in the UK to search articles with key words or look up recent articles for specific journalists who write for national press

    • http://blog.journalistics.com Jeremy Porter

      Most of the work I do is limited to the US, so I tend to sway that way on lists like this. That said, I checked out Journalisted (I share an affinity for their name) and it looks like a great tool for those in the UK (couldn’t find some of my favorite US journalists in there).

  • http://www.michiekgaasterland.com Michiel Gaasterland

    I think Pressitt is a great tool.
    A social media news release format.
    Really easy to read.
    All the info there.
    Ranks high in search engines.
    et al.

    Thanks for the list Jeremy

    • http://blog.journalistics.com Jeremy Porter

      Thanks for the suggestion Michiel, I had forgotten about Pressitt.

  • http://www.prtini.com Heather Whaling

    Hi Jeremy, this is a great resource! I’d heard of some of these tools, but many are new to me. Can’t wait to dig in!

    One resource I’d add to the list isn’t exactly a tool, but it’s really helpful. Sarah Evans publishes #Commentz, a daily e-newsletter. For people looking for a quick overview of tech, journalism trends and PR, it’s a great way to get a bit-size snack of what’s going on in the industry. Plus, Sarah always shares helpful research on Fridays, which I often find myself referring to. :)

    Great list!
    Heather
    @prTini

    • Jeremy Porter

      Thanks for stopping by Heather. #commentz is more a resource to keep up with the information than a tool itself (but I recommend it regularly – it’s on my “must read” list each day).

  • http://www.tinygreenmom.com Mom at Tiny Green Mom

    BloggerLinkUp
    http://www.bloggerlinkup.com
    (Similar to HARO, but for bloggers!)

    Business2Blogger
    http://business2blogger.com/
    (Offering both free and paid campaigns, depending on how many poeple you are seeking to review and feature)

    Pitch It To Me
    http://pitchit.ning.com/
    (Pitch your products, and let the interested parties come to you!)

    The Product Review Place
    http://productreviewplace.ning.com/
    (Again – pitch your products, and let the interested parties come to you!)

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  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ Davina K. Brewer

    Jeremy, Great list of resources. I’d only discovered PressWiki and a few others recently. Checking out MediaSync, Pressitt. As a solo PR for small businesses, the FREE tools are invaluable; PR Coach already mentioned DropBox. Allow me to state the obvious: Google Alerts. Easy to set up and customize, great for brand monitoring, targeting specific keywords, etc. FWIW.

  • Nicole

    MatchPoint is collecting names and then seems to deactivate your account once they provide you a password. Wonder what’s up?

  • http://www.mynewsdesk.com Charlotte Ulvros

    Great read!
    But I also like to mention – if it’s ok – MyNewsdesk the News Exchange Site – free/paid service for companies. Free for journalists and bloggers.

    http://www.MyNewsdesk.com was born out of the quest to find a faster, more effective way to exchange press releases, photos, videos and social media content – between companies, journalists and other interested users – on their own terms.

    We are the first new-exchange site on the market and have existed for some time, but now have an English version of the site. Companies publish their info into their social media newsroom and it gets automatically uploaded on social media platforms like Twitter, Slideshare, You Tube and Word Press , search engine optimized and sent to interested journalists who have themselves requested the info.

    Unlimited free positings of news releases, blog posts and photos is posisble, or upgrade for a fee and get a social media newsroom etc.

    • Jeremy Porter

      Of course it’s okay Charlotte – thanks for the addition.

  • http://www.writebrainmedia.com Denise Dorman

    Other FREE tools include Steve Harrison’s Reporter Connection and Wasabi Publicity’s PitchRate.com – both work similarly to HARO. I also wanted to mention that a lower cost media list solution is through the folks who also do my favorite editorial calendar service – http://www.myedcals.com – their ed cal service “reminds” you 14 days prior to the pitch deadline and I find that enormously helpful.

    • Jeremy Porter

      Thanks for the addition Denise. MyEdCals is a great resource for editorial calendar research.

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  • Rick Weber

    You missed the obvious. VMS, the leader in integrated media intelligence solutions!

    • Jeremy Porter

      Clearly… I’ve put myself on probation until further notice.

      Honestly, I’ve never used VMS. If you’re affiliated with the company (assuming you are), drop me a line.

  • http://www.scglegalprnetwork.com Paramjit L. Mahli

    Hello Jeremy, There is SCG Legal PR Network, connecting lawyers as sources with reporters. We’ve been doing this two years. Traditionally only large law firms could afford pr now we have small law firms getting pr without breaking their budgets. Cheers.

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  • Sebasitan

    A great list of tools, thank you for that!!

    Does anybody know an open source saas-database to manage your own media-contacts online and to generate your press media-lists and manage your follow-ups? I know PressFile and some others, but they are paid services. I am looking for a simple and free online-service for startups & small business. Thanks a lot for your help!

    • http://www.mynewsdesk.com Charlotte Ulvros

      Hi Sebastian,

      I mentioned MyNewsdesk below already. But we have a new networking feature where you – in our free account – can upload your own media contacts and invite those contacts (could be bloggers, journalists, or other influencers) to follow your company directly ie anything your company does they will – on their own terms – get information about. They can also choose to opt out if they aren’t interested. Of course you can also distribute your news releases, blog posts, photos etc as normal to your list – for free.

      Read more if you are interested:
      http://www.mynewsdesk.com/us/pressroom/mynewsdesk/pressrelease/view/mynewsdesk-launches-network-504569

      Good luck! Regards Charlotte

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  • http://www.mediakitty.com Heather Kirk

    Hi,
    Active online since 2001, our Media Kitty service http://www.mediakitty.com unites travel and lifestyle journalists with PR pros worldwide. We have about 8500 members. Hope you’ll check us out.
    Thanks!
    Heather

    • Jeremy Porter

      Meow. Thanks for the addition.

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  • Tim Bradley, Writer

    News Basis closed on 12/11/11 due to lack of funding.

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  • http://www.prmediasol.com/US_Outlets.htm Sean Moore

    PRMediaSol – http://www.prmediasol.com/media-directory.htm – is for PR professionals who can’t afford the big $3,000 (or more!) media list services — but who need precisely targeted press release distribution and pitching lists. PRMediaSol’s US Media Directory costs $599 per year, while the Global Media Directory costs $699. Our media directory, puts you in touch with the who’s who, so you can pitch your news and gain the coverage you deserve.

    With PRMediaSol Media Contacts, you can:
    – Be sure to reach the right journalist. Create, edit, save and distribute to media lists 24/7 Learn more.
    – Effortlessly distribute traditional and multimedia press releases to the journalists, bloggers, and media outlets that matter to you.

  • http://dicomgrid.com Dana

    Hi! The awardsync.com link doesn’t work anymore. Is there another website that is similar?

    • http://blog.journalistics.com Jeremy Porter

      Hi Dana, thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, tools come and go pretty fast these days. I’m hoping one of our readers can chime in with some suggestions. What type of tool are you interested in? Are you trying to research awards for a specific industry category? Thanks for reading!

  • jinxer

    http://www.pressat.co.uk is not bad either similar to my news desk.