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 214 Articles
Jeremy Porter has been passionate about the intersection of public relations and journalism since studying both Public Relations and Journalism at Utica College of Syracuse University in the late 90s. Porter launched Journalistics in 2009 to share his ideas and insights around both professions and how trends and developments in modern day marketing, communications, and technology impact those working in these fields. Porter also values the traditions and history of both professions and regularly shares his perspective in these areas - and related topics geared toward the next generation of journalism and public relations professionals.


  1. 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
    – 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.
    – 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 🙂

  2. 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.

    • 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.

  3. Are these just for the US?

    I use 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

    • 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).

  4. 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!

    • 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).

  5. BloggerLinkUp
    (Similar to HARO, but for bloggers!)

    (Offering both free and paid campaigns, depending on how many poeple you are seeking to review and feature)

    Pitch It To Me
    (Pitch your products, and let the interested parties come to you!)

    The Product Review Place
    (Again – pitch your products, and let the interested parties come to you!)

  6. 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.

  7. 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. 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.

  8. Other FREE tools include Steve Harrison’s Reporter Connection and Wasabi Publicity’s – 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 – – their ed cal service “reminds” you 14 days prior to the pitch deadline and I find that enormously helpful.

    • 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. PRMediaSol – – 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.

    • 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!

  12. First of all, fantastic list – thanks for sharing, Jeremy! Love the title too 🙂 Great to see people looking beyond the same old expensive options out there.

    Potential addition: Signal Media – – is the latest tool on the market that uses machine learning to enable people to explore the world’s media, in real time and with unparalleled levels of accuracy. From there, you can extract deep insights and analytics about the companies, clients and topics that matter most to you, then quickly create and send a coverage report from within our app.

    Check us out if you get the chance (we offer a free trial). Would be great to connect and get your thoughts.

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