Gini Dietrich

The 11 PR Tools You Absolutely Must Use

By: Gini Dietrich | December 21, 2016 | 
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PR ToolsOn the eleventh day of Christmas, Spin Sucks gave to you 11 PR tools, 10 PR prosnine business gifts, eight PR trendsseven professional development opps, six PR conferencesfive business books, four online courses, three productivity tools, two lies told about the PR industry, and a phrase to banish forever.

We are nearing the end.

Just one more day after this!

This has made my writing life so much easier. I wonder what the heck I’ll write about in January?

(Don’t worry. I have a gigantic list of ideas.)

In the meantime, I get to do two more days of the 12 days of Christmas.

Yay!

Today, let’s talk about your must-have PR tools, shall we?

The 11 PR Tools You Must Use

These are the PR tools we use every, single day around these parts.

There are other PR tools, of course, that we use less consistently (ActiveCampaign, Cision, Traackr, Zignal Labs) that didn’t make this list because they aren’t used daily.

  1. Basecamp. When I tell people we use Basecamp and we LOVE it, they look at me a little cross-eyed. After all, it’s not meant to be on a PR tools list. However, when we began using it consistently—and we added our clients to it—the “what are you doing on my account?” conversations disappeared. They see what we do on their business every day and, really, I think it might be a bit overwhelming to them. Which is exactly what we want. Get it. Use it. Command it.
  2. BuzzSumo. I’m going to be blunt: If you’re a communications professional and you’re not using BuzzSumo, there is something wrong with you. (OK, not really…but it is really good.) My team and I use it for different reasons. For instance, I know Erika Heald uses it to see who most consistently shares our content (lots of rewards coming for that in 2017!) and I use it to figure out what I should write about (see, I’ll be fine when the 12 Days of Christmas are over).
  3. Canva. I use Canva every, single day to create the images for my blog posts. The ones I’ve been using in this series? Created by me in Canva. It is one of those PR tools that makes even someone like me (I can barely draw a stick figure) create something that doesn’t look half-bad. And, really? Wouldn’t you rather have your own images than have to buy them from a service? I know I would.
  4. CoSchedule. Some of you are going to cringe when I tell you this, but CoSchedule is amazing for scheduled content. And I’m not ashamed to admit I schedule content. There are so many hours in the day, people! I have created templates for all of our blog posts and each are attached to the Spin Sucks Twitter account. That allows us to share content, particularly on Twitter, more than once without having to go in and re-share it for a month.
  5. Google Analytics. I was in Andy Crestodina’s office last week and he pulled up his Analytics to show me how many pages a person visits before they contact Orbit for a bid on a website project (it’s two pages—TWO). Our data doesn’t show us the same thing because our sales funnel is different, but I can tell you exactly what a person does when they land on our site and where they go to make a decision to buy. There is zero reason every one of you should not be able to do the same. And, if you can do that, you will prove you are driving sales for the organization.
  6. Iris. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you do media relations, you cannot do it without Iris. I wish I could see all of you when I ask this question—how many of you have your media pitching in a spreadsheet? I’m willing to bet the majority of you raised your hand. STOP THAT! With Iris, all you have to do is BCC an email address and it adds your pitch to the database. Then, when you go into your dashboard, you can see your results—how many journalists you’ve pitched and how many have accepted. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m serious. Get rid of your spreadsheet in 2017. Your media relations future depends on it.
  7. LeadPages. Hey, Gini! I thought you were recommending PR tools you use every day? Surely you don’t use LeadPages every day? In fact, I do. Remember how I said Canva makes it look like I have half a creative brain? You should see what LeadPages does! Not only can I (me, myself, and I!) create beautiful landing pages, they’re pages that convert. And that’s more important than pretty. I do them all in LeadPages.
  8. QuickTime. One of the things I have challenged my team to do in 2017 is make on video a week that teaches someone else how to do something they do every day. My goal for the entire organization is to get the work that can be replicated off of their lists and on to someone else’s. The way to do that is through QuickTime videos. You can easily share you screen (just a click of a button) and walk through the steps you take on certain things. Imagine the possibilities if you, yourself, aren’t doing work that can be replicated!
  9. Slack. I mean, really. Need I say more? I feel like they should hire me to be their spokesperson. And, while you’re at it, if you haven’t joined our Slack community, get to it!
  10. Wunderlist. Wunderlist is my tool of choice for tasks. I used to keep everything in a notebook, but you can’t move tasks around and reprioritize without rewriting everything. And, really, who has time for that? In Wunderlist, you can assign tasks, change due dates, and reprioritize your list with one click of a button.
  11. Zoom. We use Zoom for everything. If you suggest a Skype meeting, I recommend we try my Zoom room instead. And, if you are used to Skype, you are amazed at the usefulness of Zoom. If you have a paid account, you can have an assigned room (which is like having a phone number) and people can just show up to that. The only challenge with it is, if you’re in a previous meeting and it runs a minute or two long, your next meeting will show up. Which can be awkward. It’s like someone walking into your office, even though the door is closed. Other than that, I have zero complaints.

And now it’s your turn.

What are the must-have PR tools on your list?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • OK, so I took your advice and downloaded Wunderlist. Playing with it and I kind of like it. Thank you for that.

    • Oh! I’ll add you to mine so I can share tasks with you. 🙂

    • Lou Draper

      Turn up the sound on your computer when you tick a thing off. It makes the most satisfying ‘ding’ ever.

  • I would add Buffer, because I LOVE it! But you already knew that.

    And the new shiny toy from Adobe: Adobe Spark.

    • Do you like Adobe Spark better than Canva?

      • No. They are not there yet. I like it for the video feature and the possibility to create landing pages.

        The app is still at the beginning (it just turned one). However I think it will catch up quickly and it can be a good competitor for Canva.

  • Matija Martek

    Love the list. For those working in PR teams, any type of collaborative cloud (e.g. Google Drive) should be a must (and I’m always surprised when it isn’t). + Mediatoolkit (either free or paid version) for online monitoring and analytics. Because we’re doing it great. 😀

    • Oh my gosh. Yes on the cloud tool. I guess I assumed everyone is using Dropbox or Drive (or both). I don’t know Mediatoolkit. I’ll have to check it out!

  • Travis Peterson

    Will circle back around to CoSchedule. We’ve used it with some success in the past but not lately. Buzzsumo will be my holiday toy. Canva is like air, can’t breathe without it!!

    • You might really like it for the editorial calendar function. Especially for what you’re launching next year.

  • I couldn’t live without Buzzsumo. I’m in there every day looking at topical sources, getting post ideas, and seeing who’s sharing what. The ability to save outreach lists within the tool is SO AWESOME.

    The only other tool I use this much and am a passionate about is Evernote. I have one of the Moleskine Evernote notebooks, and am constantly saving research, articles and notes in Evernote that I use in my blogging.

  • Katie W

    I would add Pixlr.com (easy, free version of Photoshop) and definitely the Noun Project! I feel the same when it comes to my lack in drawing skills, but the Noun Project has an icon for ANYTHING you can think of. Great for blog posts, content pieces, newsletter, reports, proposals – and so on!

  • Lou Draper

    Coveragebook, and Answerthepublic are A+

    • I’ve played around with Coveragebook, but haven’t used it to its full potential.

  • Edward M. Bury

    I’ll offer two: Honesty and integrity. All the digital tools current and future will not work without the aforementioned — in public relations and every profession.

    • Aren’t honesty and integrity the same? And are they really tools? Shouldn’t we all have that, no matter what?

      (I’m just yanking your chain because it’s fun.)

      • Edward M. Bury

        Be careful, Gini: I might report you to Santa for being naughty and not nice. (And, Merry Christmas!)

  • These are great! I might have to check out Iris since I’m planning on doing more pitching for freelance writing to different publications in 2017.

  • Oh my goodness! I’m glad I’m not getting over to this post until late because I have the benefit of reading all the suggestions in the comments too!!

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