#PRstack: 12 new PR hacks and plans for another book

#PRstack: 12 new PR hacks and plans for another book

prstack Here are 12 new hacks from the PRStack community that you can use immediately to modernise your public relations workflow.

The raw data tells the story of the success of PRstack.

The database contains 250 tools, the app has had 7,500 visits, the PRstack ebook containing 18 hands-on articles has been downloaded 1,500 times and viewed on Slideshare 1,700 times.

We’re publishing a chapter from the book every day on the PRstack site. Today is Adam Parker on using Lissted and Nuzzel for targeted content discovery and monitoring.

I typically close down projects once they’ve either been successful or failed, bank the lessons, and move onto the next thing.

But I reckon PRstack may still have some mileage.

We’re working on a print edition of the book. And the community is planning to produce a second edition of the ebook in the second half of 2015.

We’re looking for people to write practical how-to articles about the application of public relations tools or modern public relations workflow.

If you’d like to contribute to the next phase of the project I’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime 12 of the contributors to the original PRstack book have shared their favourite public relation hacks in a bid to inspire you and make your life a little bit easier.


#1 Google Documents for data collection and analysis

Ditch online survey tools such as SurveyMonkey and use Google Forms to collect data and format it in Google Sheets. Visualise the data using charts or explore open source Add-on tools. Share your data openly or with a small group of collaborators. Your network will typically add huge value by exploring the data or building applications to create insights and understanding that you hadn't ever begun to consider. That's the story of #PRstack.

Stephen Waddington @wadds

#2 Twitter lists for real time content listening and monitoring

A Twitter list of the key voices in a relevant community is a powerful discovery and real time monitoring tool. In apps like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck create a column based on a Twitter list, put in a keyword (or string) you care about, filter on “tweets with links”, and you’ve got a real time alert system for relevant content that a target community is sharing. If your list is public you can also create bespoke curated search queries. Here’s one for mentions of #PRStack by members of Lissted’s UK Public Relations list.

Adam Parker @AdParker


#3 Use Canva to enhance content sharing through images

We all know the stats about how using images on social media platforms greatly improves the amount of likes, shares, retweets and click throughs so building communities for our brands. Offerings like Canva make it a cinch to create memorable images presized for each social media platform. No design skills needed. It takes about five minutes to create an image. Whoa there cowboy – haven’t got five minutes to spare? Use Buffer’s Pablo.  Design engaging images for social media posts in 30 seconds.

Scott Guthrie @sabguthrie

#4 Sharpen written content with a historical mentor

Hemingway Editor helps make your writing bolder and clearer. Cut and paste your copy into the browser window or type straight into the browser. The software identifies where different verbs can add force and highlights where the use of the passive voice weakens your message. It suggests where you may need to shorten or split complex sentences and also provides a readability grade - 10 is good for bold, clear writing. Anything less suggests your copy is difficult to understand and requires a higher level of education by the reader.

Sarah Hall @hallmeister

#5 Use Statplanet to visualise cross-border data via heat maps

To visualise country or region data on a heat map use the free Excel add-on Statplanet. It sucks in a spreadsheet of data, allowing for scaling of categories and options for colour schemes. It’s either hosted internally or available online and I often use it in combination with a snipping tool such as Snagit. After a bit of playing it can generate some pretty good looking maps. The main restriction with the free version is there are only two maps - a world and US map. The paid version allows you to upload and annotate your own maps.

Michael Blowers @michaelblowers


#6 Rapportive to find any LinkedIn user’s email address

I recently approached more than 70 public relations, SEO, content marketing, social media influencers for a collaborative blog post. Many didn’t have email addresses on their blogs/websites. And my usual go-to media database didn’t help either. Cue the Rapportive Gmail extension. Press “Compose”, find out the domain of the company they work for, then play about with the email address until their LinkedIn profile appears top right. Paydirt. The smaller the company, the more likely a simple firstname@domainhere will do the trick or try this.

David Sawyer @zudepr

#7 Sniply to share and track links

When someone clicks on a link shared using Sniply link they’ll also see a message on the page you’re sharing that alerts them to a piece of your own content. For example if you click on http://snip.ly/9vC0 that links to my PRstack chapter, you’ll also get a message on the page pointing you to my Future of PR Flipboard magazine. Install it on your toolbar to make it really easy. One way to use it is if you share an interesting article, use it to promote a message linking to a similar article you’ve written. You also get analytics and it’s free.

Stuart Bruce @stuartbruce

Project management

#8 Slackbot is a personal assistant

Slack is the hot new team collaboration tool on the block. One of its many nice features is the in-built robot assistant called Slackbot. And one of its most useful hacks is to use Slackbot to remind you to do things - after a certain amount of time or at a specific point. Simply enter the command /remind me in [time] to [message] or /remind me to [message] at [time]. Slackbot will dutifully prompt you at the time you choose. On any device you have Slack loaded. Don’t forget there are now over 700 IFTTT recipes using Slack now too. Hack Slack to your heart’s content.

Andrew Smith @andismit

#9 See all the moving parts in your organisation with Slack

Slack = team chat + search + tools integration

My favourite integrations:

  • Social: see buffered updates so you don’t overlap. Track interactions and discuss replies.
  • Content: see reminders from the content calendar in Google Calendar.
  • Support: see customer questions and collaborate on solutions.
  • Project management: progress from Trello.
  • Revenue: see a history and prognosis straight from our database.

It's simple to set up. Give it a try.

Frederik Vincx @fritsbits


#10 Use Talkwalker to keep track of brand mentions online

The free version of Talkwalker Social Search offers insight into brand mentions on social media, forums, online news and blogs across the last seven days. Talkwalker showcases reach, sentiment and influencers, amongst others on a dashboard that’s easy to navigate and data is showcased in an accessible format without the need for immediate analysis on days you find yourself a bit short on time. I also use Talkwalker Alerts in conjunction with Google Alerts to be sure I never miss an online mention as I’ve found no one tool captures everything – yet!

Angharad Welsh @Welsh_PR

#11 Use IFTTT to make a free media coverage tracker

Google Alerts is a great way to keep on top of the coverage you are generating if you can't afford to use an expensive tracking solution. However it's still a pain copying the alerts into a central spreadsheet to keep track of it all. With IFTTT Short for If This Then That, you can build a recipe to automate boring tasks like copying those alerts into a google spreadsheet. This ready made  If This Then That recipe automatically pushes the coverage google alerts finds & puts it into a google spreadsheet for you.

Gary Preston @garydpreston


#12 Automatically export Google Analytics data into Google Sheets

How are you really going to measure the value of your PR work without a beady eye on Google Analytics? To make this easy, you really want to get the data out of Google and into pure spreadsheet form so you can then juggle it around to your heart’s content. Google’s official Analytics Spreadsheet Add-on provides the easiest way to automate this task and make sure your sheets and reporting always have the latest evidence on how your PR campaigns are affecting website traffic and conversions.

Max Tatton-Brown @MaxTB

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