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The #PRstack toolbox of free public relations tools

prstack

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.

Planning

AnswerThePublic

A free consumer insight tool that pulls in all of the ways that people are searching and asking questions around a topic

Bluenod

Data visualisation of Twitter conversations. Enables you to pinpoint influencers and view the flow of conversation

Boardreader

A search and discovery engine for community forums and boards

BuzzSumo

Analyse which keyword related content performs best through major social media platforms

Echosec

Location based social media search and monitoring

Google Consumer Barometer

A tool to help you understand how people use the Internet in different countries around the world

Google Rich Snippets Tool

A tool to check HTML code for structured data. Useful to insure your web pages and posts are set-up for programmatic discovery

Google Search Trends

Search on any topic either nationally or worldwide based on Google’s search volume data

Google Webmaster Tools

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

MozRank

Moz metrics are indicators of how useful a website is to a search engine crawl bot, and usefulness to humans

Rapportive

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

RiteTag

Hashtag discovery tool to help identify relevant hashtags to your content

Content

Canva

Canva enables anyone to create images to account blogs or presentations

Copyscape

A plagiarism checker that lets you detect duplicate content and check if your content is original

Datawrapper

Easy to use embeddable interactive chart building tool

Govdelivery

UK public sector opt-in email system that pings you an email when services like school closures or leisure centres update their web pages

Hemingway

Checks copy for readibility, typos and other errors

LiveTweetApp

Search, moderate, and display tweets on a screen to increase social interactions during your events and conferences

Pexels

Find free and low cost stock photos. Also check Creative Commons for social content

PiktoChart

Make your own infographics with little or no design experience

Spruce

Edit and optimise pictures for use on Twitter

Storify

Compile and curate social mentions into sharable stories

Sway

Visualisation tool to quickly and easily create presentations

Management

Buffer

Simple-to use-social media post management/scheduler with basic analytics

Evernote

Note-taking platform. Great for moving to digital. Easy filing by business area or client. Also a business version for collaboration

Google Docs

A suite of online document tools for creating and sharing work online

Hootsuite

Social media management dashboard for managing social media profiles and scheduling content

Manageflitter

Tool to manage and clean up your Twitter account

Trello

Intuitive, group-based task management tool, great for approval workflows and assignments

Analytics and monitoring

Bit.ly

URL shorterner that provides analytics on click rates and opens. Can be white labelled for branded solutions

Google Alerts

Email alerts that you customise with the word or phrase that you want to monitor

Google Analytics

Web site analytics that enables you to track the customer journey and conversions for your properties

Mention

A tool that enables you to monitor for keywords and phrases selectively across different platforms

SocialBro

Twitter engagement and management platform

TweetReach

Find out how far hashtags reach

TweetStats

Useful tool for producing insight around activity for any Twitter account

Twitter Analytics

Reach and engagement data for your Twitter account

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Stephen Waddington

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University.

73 Comments

  1. Great list :) Moz PA and DA are one of the closest things the digital world has as far as a human to human “reputation” metric. And another thing that the PR world might be unaware of: Every Twitter account has a Moz PA score. The easy way to remember: MozRANK is a machine to machine score, PA and DA are human to human because they’re based on links which can only come from a human being.

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