Tools No PR Pro Can Live Without

Working in an industry that can evolve in a day, a great arsenal of tools is your best defense. PR pros have to deal with technology changing as well as the transition of new media. There are many tools that PR professionals use on a daily basis, but everyone has their go to tool when faced with a dwindling deadline.

Social Media

What did we do before Twitter? Twitter has been around since 2006 now and most PR folks can be found tweeting everywhere. But what Twitter client is the best around? When you start reaching a good amount of followers, you need to filter out how to get the information you are looking for on a regular basis. Jamie Floer, a Senior Account Executive at Wragg and Casas Public Relations, says her favorite tool to manage social media is TweetDeck.

The great thing about TweetDeck and other similar platforms, is you can integrate your updates to Facebook as well. Making it a one-stop-shop instead of manually signing in and updated multiple sites. You also can track more than one Twitter accounts if you have to tweet for your clients. Byron Gordon, Vice President, Social Media Marketing Programs at SEO-PR, says the one tool he can’t live without is Twitter, and uses Tweetdeck because, “[he has] discovered more using this app than just about anything else!” [Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

10 Reasons Media Relations Will Get Easier in 2010

It’s that time of year again. Time for making predictions for the year to come. As I look back on 2009, I’m amazed by all the progress I’ve seen with regard to the evolving news industry, and the practice of media relations. Sure, some of it is negative, like all the layoffs and dying publications, but beyond all that, there’s a lot of optimism in both industries. For this post, I’m focusing on my 10 reasons media relations will get easier in 2010. [Read more…]

What Press Release Distribution Service Should You Use?

twtpollThere are a lot of press release distribution services out there. When I ran my agency, I used several different services based on the varied preferences of our clients. Not to avoid picking a favorite, but I generally liked all of them. The services I used most for clients included PRNewswire (the most popular), PRWeb (favored by the SEO-minded crowd), BusinessWire (most often larger clients), and Marketwire.

Over the course of the past five years, I’ve used PRWeb (owned by Vocus) the most. PRWeb is one of the most cost-effective services out there for tech startups – and it was really the first press release distribution service to embrace SEO, without charging a ton for these extra features. I also like the analytics provided by PRWeb, which are on par with the stats packages offered by others. [Read more…]

MediaOnTwitter Wiki 2.0

As announced on this morning, the MediaOnTwitter wiki is getting an upgrade. The new MediaOnTwitter wiki will be powered by TrackVia’s online database, and will be the “first shareable media database available to Twitter users.”


To generate interest for the database, the MediaOnTwitter team is giving away a Kindle 2 to on lucky winner on April 13. Anyone can enter by completing two simple tasks:

  1. Enter a media contact through the form found here.
  2. Post a tweet before April 13th that references MediaOnTwitter and the tag #mediatweet

The new MediaOnTwitter database will launch after April 20th. Some of the new improvements will include:

  • Improved Data Entry – rather than relying on editors to update the wiki, anyone can submit media contact information through a convenient Web form. Editors will review submissions and approved entries will be populated across a shared database.
  • Improved Organization – users will have more options for how they can browse media records across the international database, making it easier to find contacts by country, media outlet, name, beat, etc.
  • Enhanced Collaboration – the database will be open to more users in more places, encouraging more mass collaboration and peer production to maintain and expand the database across the globe.

[Read more…]

Why Journalistics is Using Skribit (And What Skribit Is)

If you’re on the Journalistics Blog right now, you’ll notice a nifty little widget over on the right column that says “Skribit Suggestions.” Skribit is an application (or widget) bloggers can install on their blog that enables their readers to suggest topics for them to write about. It’s a great tool for engaging your audience and learning more about your readers’ interests.

It’s also a great tool – as their tagline states – to help cure writer’s block. If you’ve ever struggled with trying to decide what you’ll blog about next, Skribit is for you. For example, Skribit suggests “Why are you using Skribit?” as the first suggestion by default when you signup for the service – which is what made me decide to write this post.

Where Did Skribit Come From?

In case you’re wondering, Skrbit launched in November 2007 at Atlanta Startup Weekend. The company’s founders – a bunch of smart Atlanta entrepreneurs – have recently started to dedicate a lot more time to building out the product, and you can expect to see even more features and functionality soon. If you blog on a regular basis, we’re sure you’ll love Skribit as much as we do.

Skribit is free and easy to install on most blogs (check out the Skribit FAQs to see if your blogging platform is supported – most of the major platforms like TypePad, WordPress and Blogger are). If you’re interested, visit the Skribit website today to learn more.

While you’re here, why not suggest a topic for us to blog about? Just type your suggestion in the Skrbit widget to the right and let others vote on your suggestion. Who knows, your suggestion just might be the topic of our next post.

What We Like About HARO – Help A Reporter Out

If you haven’t heard of HARO yet, you probably aren’t a journalist, blogger or public relations professional. HARO, an acronym for “Help A Reporter Out”, is a wildly successful and FREE service designed to help journalists request expert interview sources for the stories they produce. Approximately 9,000 or so journalists use HARO to request sources via an email blast that is distributed to more than 56,000 sources and PR professionals three times per day.

How HARO Works

Similar to PR Newswire’s ProfNet service, reporters can request suggestions for sources or ‘pitches’ from the PR community using the HARO service – but HARO service is free for everyone. Users of ProfNet have to pay an annual subscription fee to use the service. Though it’s fair to point out that ProfNet also enables sources to create expert profiles in a database that can be searched by journalists looking for sources.

In a little over a year, HARO has become the most popular service for connecting journalists with sources – quickly growing from 1,200 followers in a Facebook group, to the more than 56,000 email subscribers today. In comparison, PR Newswire claims to have 14,000 ProfNet users via its website.

I think the main reason we like HARO so much, beyond the highly-entertaining emails written by HARO creator Peter Shankman three times a day, is that it was built to literally help reporters out. Many journalists have complained about how frequently they receive off-topic pitches from PR folks – pitches that have nothing to do with their coverage area or the stories they write. Peter Shankman designed HARO with this reality in mind, requiring all users of his service to promise not to send off-topic pitches or “PR spam” to the journalists issuing queries. [Read more…]