Third-party tools investment in public relations has traditionally been limited to media databases.
Much of the business runs on Excel spreadsheets for tasks ranging from tracking influencers to editorial calendars, and from managing projects to reporting results.
Proving the business case for tool investment
Investment in tools is a challenge as we shift from publicity to new forms of engagement using digital and social media.
Budget isn’t set aside in many organisations or it’s limited. Practitioners are expected to build an investment case by demonstrating the business benefit.
I’ve filtered the #PRStack database and curated a list of more than 30 freemium tools in a bid to tackle this challenge.
#PRstack is a crowdsourced project that I kickstarted in a bid to characterise the third-party tool market and help understand modern practice and workflow. It now lists almost 250 tools.
Prezly has built a web app to help interrogate the list across different areas of public relations practice and workflow
There is no such thing as free
A word of warning: free or low cost tools are never as sophisticated or robust as commercial tools. There is no guarantee of the quality of the output or continuity of service.
If a tool is free vendors are typically using it as the basis to sell a service or are collecting data. I make no guarantees whatsoever for the quality of the tools listed.
What’s your #PRstack?
Over the coming weeks I’m inviting people to guest blog about their personal #PRstack. If you’d like to contribute please drop me an email. If there’s enough interest we’ll make an ebook.
Update 6 April: 20 people have offered to get involved and we’re well on the way to creating an ebook called My #PRstack: a practical guide to modern PR technology and workflow. We’re aiming for an early-May publication date.
In the interim I hope this list of free tools is useful. If you spot anything that’s missing please feel free to add it to the #PRstack Google document.
A free consumer insight tool that pulls in all of the ways that people are searching and asking questions around a topic
Data visualisation of Twitter conversations. Enables you to pinpoint influencers and view the flow of conversation
A search and discovery engine for community forums and boards
Analyse which keyword related content performs best through major social media platforms
Location based social media search and monitoring
A tool to help you understand how people use the Internet in different countries around the world
A tool to check HTML code for structured data. Useful to insure your web pages and posts are set-up for programmatic discovery
Search on any topic either nationally or worldwide based on Google’s search volume data
Allows site owners to monitor their site and see what keywords Google has discovered, look for crawl errors, and check the health of a site
Moz metrics are indicators of how useful a website is to a search engine crawl bot, and usefulness to humans
Gmail plug-in that provides a photo of your contact, an overview of their LinkedIn profile, company, title, location, Twitter, and connections you have in common
Hashtag discovery tool to help identify relevant hashtags to your content
Canva enables anyone to create images to account blogs or presentations
A plagiarism checker that lets you detect duplicate content and check if your content is original
Easy to use embeddable interactive chart building tool
UK public sector opt-in email system that pings you an email when services like school closures or leisure centres update their web pages
Checks copy for readibility, typos and other errors
Search, moderate, and display tweets on a screen to increase social interactions during your events and conferences
Find free and low cost stock photos. Also check Creative Commons for social content
Make your own infographics with little or no design experience
Edit and optimise pictures for use on Twitter
Compile and curate social mentions into sharable stories
Visualisation tool to quickly and easily create presentations
Simple-to use-social media post management/scheduler with basic analytics
Note-taking platform. Great for moving to digital. Easy filing by business area or client. Also a business version for collaboration
A suite of online document tools for creating and sharing work online
Social media management dashboard for managing social media profiles and scheduling content
Tool to manage and clean up your Twitter account
Intuitive, group-based task management tool, great for approval workflows and assignments
Analytics and monitoring
URL shorterner that provides analytics on click rates and opens. Can be white labelled for branded solutions
Email alerts that you customise with the word or phrase that you want to monitor
Web site analytics that enables you to track the customer journey and conversions for your properties
A tool that enables you to monitor for keywords and phrases selectively across different platforms
Twitter engagement and management platform
Find out how far hashtags reach
Useful tool for producing insight around activity for any Twitter account
Reach and engagement data for your Twitter account
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