18+ best PR tools every PR manager should consider
PR tools are nowadays a fixed element of public relations professionals’ daily routine. Why? Because they really make a difference in their work. PR tools create new opportunities and make working in public relations more effective and less time-consuming.
Let’s take a stroll down the memory lane and go back to times when there was no social media, knowledge of HTML was in the hands of few, and connecting to the Internet used to interrupt phone calls. There’s neither social media nor Web technologies.
PR practice involves making phone calls, writing letters, and meeting people face to face. PR tools at your disposal include: your brain, a piece of paper, a pen, a telephone, a fax machine, and your business cardholder.
These times are long gone.
Public relations changed as Web technologies and social media have developed. The landscape of public relations changed and so did the tools to harness it. Nowadays, PR tools are a part of every PR professional’s daily work and there is nothing wrong with using them to make your life and work easier, more efficient, and successful.
However, types of tools are many and everyone who works in public relations uses the tool that matches their personal needs, expectations, and preferences. That’s why there is no one, specific tool that would be perfect for all PR professionals.
In this blog post, I describe the 18 best PR tools for a few areas of work in public relations.
Click your way through the table of contents:
- Media monitoring
- Google Alerts
- Muck Rack
- Text editing
- Google Docs
- iA Writer
- Google Keep
- An article in New York Times
- Project management
What do you need PR tools for?
PR tools may be extremely helpful for PR professionals, who often need to be multitaskers and they need to keep their work very organized. There are different types of PR tools, that can serve for various purposes. Depending on your needs and personal preferences, you can use PR tools for:
- Media monitoring
- Text editing
- Tracking press releases
- Project management
While preparing a list of the best PR tools, we divided them into categories. They will make it easier for you to find the solution that is a response to your needs and problems.
PR tools for media monitoring
Media monitoring, social media monitoring, new media monitoring, or digital media monitoring. However, you call it, following what the media and online media say about your business is essential. This type of PR tools can help you:
- Protect brand reputation
- Get notified about industry media, experts, influencers competitors, and other publications talking about your business
- Get in touch with social media influencers
- Identify new media outlets and press releases
- Prevent PR crisis
- Conduct market research
- Identify new media opportunities
- Get hard data about the online presence of your brand
- Improve your media relations
Different media monitoring tools offer various media coverage, so make sure that the one that you choose monitors the sources that you want to keep up with.
Brand24 is our own Web and media monitoring tool that can easily help you monitor and analyze the online buzz about your brand.
It collects online mentions of predefined keywords from multiple sources. Brand24’s media coverage includes websites, blogs, online media, press releases, news sites, discussion boards, social media platforms, podcasts, newsletters, or video platforms.
Many PR professionals use Brand24 to not only track brand mentions across the web, but also to track the newest press releases, create PR clippings, analyze target audience and gather insights to improve PR strategy, keep up with news from the PR industry, or measuring the results of a PR campaign.
Brand24 is one of the public relations tools that can serve for multiple purposes.
Apart from collecting mentions, Brand24 offers a plethora of analytics to help you measure the performance of your online presence and the effectiveness of your PR efforts.
Some of the most important features include:
- Presence score
- Metrics of volume
- Metrics of engagement
- Metrics of reach
- Metrics of sentiment
- Metrics of influence
- Email notifications
- Slack notifications
- Mobile app
- Boolean search
Free trial, paid plans start from $49 / month.
-> There are a few other Web and social media monitoring tools you can try.
Without a shadow of a doubt, what makes Google Alert attractive is the fact that it’s completely free of any cost.
Is it, however, enough to get the job done? It depends.
Google says ceased developing and improving Google Alerts. In comparison to other Web and media monitoring tools, this one is entirely is devoid of analytical features.
When it comes to data collection, people report a lot of spam, serious delays, and a lack of mentions.
Nevertheless, it’s good to try it and see how it works. Who knows, it might be enough. If you are a beginner PR professional, it’s surely a tool that you can start with. Here’s what you can do with Google Analytics:
- Monitor multiple keywords
- Monitor multi-word keywords
- Set up the frequency notifications
- Set up email notifications
- Set up RSS notifications
- Monitor mentions in various languages
If you’d like to learn about the differences between Google Alerts and Brand24, have a look at the article “Google Alerts alternative“.
It’s one of the biggest players in the media monitoring market.
Brandwatch is powerful in data analysis and AI-supported features. The tool, however, is now changing focus from media monitoring only to consumer intelligence and insights tool. It can help you with your PR strategy. Brandwatch is a great fit for enterprise-size companies.
Brandwatch as a monitoring tool will surely help you keep with media mentions and the newest press releases.
Apart from features typical for a media monitoring tool such as keyword monitoring, notifications, reporting, or sentiment analysis, Brandwatch offers also:
- Demographic data
- Image analysis
- Shareable dashboards
- Flexible displays
- + much more!
Over the years, Brandwatch certainly has made a name for itself.
Brandwatch is definitely the most expensive one out of all three monitoring tools that we mentioned.
It is starting from $1000.
PR professionals or business owners that can afford this monitoring solution will surely be satisfied with it though. If you are looking for cheaper Brandwatch alternatives, you may want to check out our article on this topic.
PR tools for outreach
After all, despite the development of technology, human relations are still fundamental to public relations.
Outreach is one of the most important aspects of PR. Years go by and it’s still about building relationships with people who can broadcast your message to a wider audience.
Some of the best PR tools for outreach allow finding journalists, influencers, bloggers, and experts you can reach out to and build relations with and expand your contact database. PR professionals who are constantly looking for media opportunities are willing to establish new media contacts or press contacts. PR tools make this a lot easier.
Muck Rack is a PR tool that offers plenty of features to manage your outreach efforts: media database, monitoring, pitching, collaboration, and reporting.
Muck Rack has a large database which makes finding journalists and collecting press contacts easier. Add to it the rest of the features and you get an all-in-one outreach tool with an intuitive dashboard.
It’s sort of a search engine that looks for keywords on Twitter. It reminds Google search engine.
The tools returns relevant content in chronological order of tweets.
There are also filters to narrow down your search criteria and find only the most relevant journalists or media outlets.
Free, paid plans start at $200 / month.
Outreach brings us again to media monitoring.
Media monitoring tools like Brand24 can help you identify sources talking about your niche: industry media, experts, and influencers active in social media. Brand24 will be useful to strengthen your media relations and to expand your network by gaining new media contacts.
Three of the tool’s features come in handy here:
- Influencer score filter – The tool assigns influencer score from 1 to 10 to every social media profile mentioning your keywords. Then, you can filter from most to least influential social media profiles mentioning your keywords. Below you can find out how influencer score is calculated.
- Top public profiles – The score is calculated on the basis of a few metrics combined:
- Number of followers a profile has
- Volume of mentions it produces
- Visibility percentage specific to particular social media platform
Free trial, paid plans start at $49 / month.
PR tools for text editing
Whether it’s a long email, an article, or a press release, writing is an essential part of the job in PR.
Make sure you do yours in a text editor which fits your needs, be it on the usability, or aesthetic side of things.
Do you need a clean, typewriter-like experience? Or complex text editors you could use to write books in?
I don’t know about you, but I grew tired of typical text editors. Maybe it’s my distractedness, but I feel as if they were screaming at me with thousands of buttons, tabs, and options. That’s why I’m a fan of plain text editors.
But let’s see what’s in store.
This editor is somewhere between simple and complex.
Then, apart from Google Docs, you get access to other tools which will surely come useful – Google Sheets, Google Slides, and others.
I myself write a lot and there are at least two Google Docs’ features that are extremely helpful to me:
- Sharing – Few clicks and you can share and invite to your document other collaborators within your organization
- Commenting and suggesting – Very useful when it comes to sharing feedback, proofreading, or brainstorming ideas with teammates
Google Docs can be useful to plan out your PR campaigns or collecting ideas for a PR strategy.
Google Docs is a part of G Suite – a cloud of tools from Google. All you need to access it is Google’s Gmail account.
iA Writer is ideal if you’re looking for a distraction-free and minimalistic text editor. To me, it also gives some kind of typewriter feel.
With its modest design and very few, yet powerful features, you can fully immerse yourself in writing. It’s only you, plain background and letters. Some of the useful features include:
- Focus Mode
- Reading Time mode
- Syntax highlight
- Content blocks
- Various fonts
iA Writer is available for iOS, OS X, Windows, and Android.
This PR tool can be useful for marketing professionals as well or content managers.
Note-taking is text editing, too.
To capture all important ideas before you lose your train of thought, use Google Keep.
Apart from being an accessible and simple notepad to write down your ideas on the run, Google Keep is a part of Google Suite and stored in the cloud – it means you take your thoughts, notes, ideas, and things to do everywhere you go.
Like other Google products, Google Keep is easy to embrace. You can use it on your smartphone, on your desktop, or as a Chrome extension. And it’s all in the cloud.
Google Keep can help you keep in mind important topics, collect ideas considering PR campaigns or PR strategy.
Other features include:
- Photo upload
- Voice recording
PR tools for mind-mapping
Mind mapping is a good way to brainstorm ideas and visualize information about the project you’re working on.
Sure, you can do it on a piece of paper, but it’s getting complicated when you have to attach files, share with collaborators, or present them to someone else.
With good mind mapping software, you can:
- Draw infinite map
- Attach files
- Collaborate with others
- Export your boards
One of the tools I personally like is Draw.io.
Theoretically, Draw.io isn’t strictly a mind mapping tool – it’s a diagramming tool. Therefore, it might lack some features typical for mind mapping. Practically, it works miracles in mind mapping. You can draw basically anything you want.
Also, you can access it without registration – you just install draw.io Chrome extension and there you have it.
This one is particularly interesting because it had been developed in collaboration with Tony Buzan, the inventor of the mind mapping technique.
People say it adheres more closely to Buzan’s concept of mind-mapping than other tools.
What makes iMindMap stand out, is the ability to present your mind-map in a few different ways – not only in the shape of a tree.
Milanote is more of a concept map maker than a mind-mapping tool. Still, you can completely map out your project.
You can fill up the infinite pinboard with notes, links, images, and files. The tool is very simple in use primarily because it has only the most necessary features.
Some say it’s the most easy-to-use concept mapping tool out there.
One of the cool things about Milanote is that it has a web clipper. It means that the tool displays the content from a link directly inside the pinboard.
Free, paid plan starts from $9.99 / month.
PR tools for productivity
It’s so easy to lose focus these days and come into focus!
What’s even more worrying, with the abundance of distractions people experience these days, they don’t even realize anymore they’re distracted – dozens of tabs, notifications from all over the Internet effectively keep you disturbed and overstimulated.
A few years ago, Cal Newport came up with the concept of “deep focus” which seems to be the response to the above-mentioned problems.
You can learn more about “deep focus” from this article in New York Times.
Here are a few PR tools that can help you achieve sharp focus.
This free productivity tool generates ambient sounds of your choice.
You can choose any from over a dozen soothing sounds of the environment, combine them, and set their intensity to sound just right for you.
I sometimes play it with electronic music in the background.
Additionally, Noisli comes with:
- Simple text editor
- Timer to help you motivate.
An article in NYT
Productivity is invariably connected to procrastination.
When the chips are down, there’s no magic tool that can help you overcome writer’s block or suddenly find motivation.
We must realize that, at its core, procrastination is about emotions, not productivity. The solution doesn’t involve downloading a time management app or learning new strategies for self-control. It has to do with managing our emotions in a new way.
Learn more about it from this great New York Times reading.
OK, I know it sounds a bit overblown.
Nevertheless, Freedom ensures freedom at least within your digital life.
Freedom is a focus app that can eradicate every single distraction you get either on your desktop or your smartphone. You can even block the Internet if you wish.
Importantly, Freedom works across many devices ranging from Windows, Mac, Android to iOS. Here’s what Freedom can actually do:
- Mute particular applications
- Mute particular websites
- Set up recurring modes
- Progress tracker
- Many views
- Use Locked Mode
Free trial, paid plans start at $6.99 / month.
PR tools for project management
At some point, a pen and a notepad are not enough to keep track of your projects.
Add to it the impossibility to collaborate with your teammates and other departments in your organization and you’ll see the need for a project management tool for your PR responsibilities.
Everyone talks about Trello, Asana, or Basecamp – no wonder as they are, undoubtedly, battle-tested and appreciated across the industry.
Here are some, as I hope, uncommon time and project management apps you might become interested in.
Monday is both a project and time management app. Apart from some typical features for this type of software, such as boards, timelines, time tracking, due date tracking, activity logs, and more, it has a few which catch the attention of many:
- Huge base of project templates for all sorts of job types
- Great features for project overview from a wider perspective
- Eye-friendly and intuitive interface
- Lots of integrations
Free trial, prices start at $25.
Asana is one of the top players in the game – well-known, proven, and appreciated across the board.
What’s great about it is that you can use it for free and still get reasonably satisfactory experience – just fine to manage your PR responsibilities.
Free, plans start at $9.99 / user / month.
ClickUp is said to be one of the best free project management tools out there.
The tool has been praised for customizability which is limited in some of the more popular tools. In other words, you can tune the tool the way you want, what your team wants, or what a task requires.
Some even say there’s too much to customize.
Thanks to many features even in the free version, the tool is very competitive.
Free, paid plans start from $5 / month.