In this article, the SparkAmpLab team will be delving into the intricacies of PR tool usage. We’ll cover what PR tools consist of, why they are important, and how to select the right one to utilise at the right time for your business to take off.
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PR itself is a strategic communication process that builds communication bridges between organisations and their target audiences. PR tools are what constructs these bridges and communication channels. Some examples of PR tools include releasing press releases, partnering with media companies, effective social media usage and even employee communication.
It’s no secret that we live in a world where much of communication has been moved online. Whether we’re talking about digital marketing or just communication, all of this is done online now. And this is where PR tools come in! They allow users to navigate through databases to find the right people to broadcast their content effectively. For example, companies utilise such tools to search for specific journalists to publicise related content. PR tools will also help you discover the proper strategy to target clients and help you stay head and shoulders above the competition.
Before we start, we’d like to emphasise that the tools we’ll be talking about below are crucial for PR purposes, but they also are necessary to shape one’s overall marketing strategy.
This is the gold standard to monitor website analytics. Every company should have Google Analytics incorporated to some extent into their arsenal of tools.
At a basic level, Google Analytics will show who is entering your website, from where and on which pages they spend most of their time. At an advanced level, you can utilise it to set up goals for conversation tracking, building an enhanced ecommerce set up and track events to monitor user engagement. What’s even better is that Google Analytics is free, so honestly, what are you waiting for?
Another useful PR tool is Ahrefs. It’s a comprehensive SEO tool that assists you to increase your website traffic. Their data bank is huge; with information for around 150 million keywords in the U.S. alone, and even more for 150 other countries.
Ahrefs can help a great deal if you’re into competitive analysis. It allows you to find out who’s linking to your competitors, what their top pages are through the Top Pages tools, their content ranks and more. They also have a Content Gap tool that allows you to identify crucial weaknesses in the content you’re pushing out. Ahrefs operates with tiered pricing and its features and applicability to the modern PR landscape definitely justifies the cost.
Another tool that operates on tiered pricing is Mailchimp. It’s an email marketing and social advertising tool designed to help you automate and orchestrate campaigns. Users can track website traffic garnered from campaigns too. Mailchimp also offers multiple integrations with other SaaS companies. If you’re looking for a tool to engage and boost engagement with your target audience, Mailchimp is the one!
While achieving results outside the company is important, it’s equally crucial to prioritise communication within the company. This way, optimum results can be achieved. Asana is a key player in streamlining communication, information flow, and goal setting between teams. It’s a collaborative workflow management system that arranges tasks visually so users are able to better grasp the flow of things.
Asana allows one to record and visualise projects, map out deadlines, prioritise tasks, assign tasks to team members, report on projects quickly and publicly, and much more. This erases any confusion regarding tasks and allows for a much smoother workflow between teams so work can be completed in a timely manner.
Lastly, Google Adwords is one of the most popular tools used by companies to advertise their businesses on Google's search engine results pages. Adwords runs on a pay-per-click model. Budget caps can also be set on how much the company wishes to spend. Google Adwords also hosts Google Keyword Planner where one can research which keywords they'd like to include in their content.
Adwords is a great tool for agencies to publish their clients’ products and services on Google for specific inquiries. While using SEO may be effective for organic searches, focusing on keywords can allow one’s content to appear at the top of the page, thus funneling more prospects into your site.
When it comes to cutting edge PR technology, SparkAmplify is one of the leading startups in the field. Focusing on data-driven global media outreach, the company enlists the power of AI to unleash press overage potential and help businesses take flight. By analysing various media influencers in its comprehensive database, SparkAmplify is able to use AI recommendations to pick out those who will fit your brand best and organise a press kit for you. All you have to do is focus on crafting your brand story. The platform works on a subscription-based service without the need for long term contracts.
Cision is a PR and earned media software company and services provider. It provides web-based PR and has a SaaS suite - the Cision Communications Cloud. The company also owns various publicity and media services such as PRWeb, Bulletin Intelligence and PRNewswire. Most PR releases are done through PRWeb. In terms of pricing, the company allows for the creation of tailored packages to best suit each client’s needs, but packages start from around 7200 USD per year.
Meltwater is a media monitoring and social listening platform. They focus on helping clients stay on top of their digital strategies and marketing performance. Meltwater has an Engage function that simplifies the process of scheduling content, community engagement and performance measurement across all social media channels. This helps clients save time and better manage their brand. Meltwater runs on annual contracts and starts from 4000 USD per year.
When it comes to a fast and reliable media suite, Critical Mention is a name that pops into many people’s heads. The company understands in order to properly manage one’s earned media, one must understand the value of coverage and find effective ways to grow the brand. Critical Mention’s latest update is a sophisticated tool that provides real-time alerts and in-depth analytics from a platform built on modern, cloud technology. Their fast and accurate results can be presented in the form of shareable, customisable reports that will allow clients to identify sentiment and trends within the content they’re pushing out. The company encourages clients to let them know what their earned media needs are before they work together to put together a specific package to meet those requirements.
Like Critical Mention, Brand Watch is another company that focuses on digital consumer intelligence. The platform provides a deeper insight into consumer behaviour so clients are able to better target their content to their specific target audience. By providing billions of customer views, the company is able to come up with propositions and strategies for clients to better reach their intended audiences. Brand Watch was also the leader in the 2020 Forrester Wave for social listening platforms and is an official Twitter partner.
HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a service which allows journalists to submit requests seeking contributions, interviews, and quotes for pieces they’re working on. When signing up, one can select topics most relevant to one’s company. Journalists on HARO are actively seeking stories to feature so users can respond to relevant queries and contribute relevant experience and expertise to increase their chances of being featured. HARO is actually a free platform, but it has premium plans that start at 19 USD a month that come with additional features. The free plan gives users access to HARO’s database of requests and basic support.
Another platform which allows users to search for journalists is Muck Rank. One of the newer public relations software, Muck Rank also allows users to monitor news and build reports. The platform’s search engine aids users in discovering and pitching relevant journalists in a much more targeted way as compared to legacy media databases. Building and sharing of media lists also becomes much easier and they’re automatically kept up-to-date. Muck Rank also produces reports on PR campaigns in a professional, easy-to-digest form for users to understand key business metrics. Based on the features users choose, Muck Rank will cost around 5000 USD a year.
Anewstip allows users to connect with global media influencers. It promotes itself as a one-stop solution to monitor news articles and tweets from media influencers and even monitor competitor’s performance. Anewstip Database indexes have over 200 million news articles and 1 billion tweets from more than 1 million media contacts. By consolidating information from databases and media lists, users can send highly targeted pitches to various media entities and monitor their outreach performance. Anewstip has both free and paid plans which allow access to various portions of the platform. Paid plans range from 200 USD to 400 USD and the site also caters for customizable packages.
NinjaOutreach focuses on finding Instagram and YouTube influencers most suitable for one’s brand. It prides itself with possessing the most powerful social engine on the web and creates effective influencer marketing campaigns by filtering through millions of influencer insights to finding the one best suited to your brand story. The platform also has built-in CRM that allows for easy management of influencer marketing and outreach campaigns. Users can juggle multiple projects comfortably and track all conversation histories, email opens, clicks and replies. The platform offers free trials and is billed monthly or annually based on the plan users select.
Prezly is a PR software that emphasises on better, faster communication. It allows users to speed up communications workflow by having all sites in one place. Users can manage contacts, create newsrooms, send campaigns, and report on coverage all through the platform. Prezly allows for as much multimedia content insertion into brand stories as needed, and is accessible and easy to use. Users need only focus on creating their brand stories while the platform takes care of all the technicalities. Prezly’s pricing plans start from 50 USD per user per month and as the plans increase in prices, so does the array of features included.
Subject Line is a free writing tool that allows users to evaluate their email subject lines. The website focuses on email marketing and allows for users to also find out what their email open rate is with their iOS 15 tool. The platform also provides ideas and inspiration for one to spruce up their email marketing and newsletter campaigns in order to increase customer retention.
There are plenty of different PR tools out there for companies to tackle every business strategy they can think of. With a dizzying amount of choices, the few we’ve helped shortlist above are heavyweights in the marketing and communication game. You just need to focus and decide on a particular area of your strategy that you wish to tackle first, find the tool that best suits it, and everything will be smooth sailing.
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