Online Tools for DIY PRBy Gini Dietrich

Running a small business isn’t easy. You wear the hats of many: Chief executive, intern, janitor, dishwasher, trash emptier, receptionist, bookkeeper, and more.

Life has recently become a little more intense because you now also have to be your own publisher.

This is both good news and bad news. It’s good news because you no longer have to rely on influencers and media to tell your story for you. You have the opportunity to manage that yourself. But it’s bad news because it definitely increases your workload.

As well, it used to be you had to hire a PR professional because of their relationships with those influencers and journalists. Today you can build those relationships yourself and can hire a PR expert as you grow.

Now, I know I just said you no longer have to rely on those people to help tell your story…and that’s true. But you still want them to talk about you. It always serves you well if a third-party says something positive about you.

All of this can be managed—and your day-to-day life won’t seem so hectic—with a few online tools.

DIY PR with These Eight Tools

  • Canva. This is a fairly new tool that allows you to design your online properties as if you are a pro. Need a professional image for your business’s Facebook cover photo? Canva to the rescue! Need a presentation that looks like you spent hundreds of dollars to make it look professional? Canva to the rescue! You can do social media graphics, blog post images, business cards, flyers, invitations, and more.
  • Feedly. Feedly is a user-friendly place to store your blog and news subscriptions. Anytime a new article is published, it appears in your account. One place to go to read everything of interest to you. This is where you will house all of the journalists and bloggers who are important to your business. When they publish something new, you’ll see it in your Feedly page and can read and share from there. I always recommend people take the time to comment on articles, where they have expertise. This begins to build a relationship with the influencers who can add credibility to your business. DIY PR, in a sense.
  • Google Analytics. I’m always shocked when I ask someone if he or she reviews their analytics, and I get a blank stare. It happens more often that not, which is why it’s on this list. Analytics is the tool a business owner needs to make important decisions about their website, even if it’s not used for sales. It’s free and there are tons of tutorials online to teach you how to get the data out of it that matters to your business. If you use only one tool in this list, this is the one.
  • Hootsuite. If you use any of the social networks, Hootsuite is the tool for you. It not only provides an easy way to update your social networks with the touch of one button, it allows you to create lists based on different influencer profiles. Have a group of industry trade reporters you want to follow? Put them in a list so you can easily find the information they are sharing without having to go through all of the updates everyone you follow shares. This will make it exceptionally easy to engage and build relationships with the people who can help your business grow. And PR is all about relationships, which this allows you to create quite easily.
  • HARO. HARO—or Help a Reporter Out—allows you to connect with journalists who are looking for experts to help them source stories. Their tagline is “free publicity” and that’s pretty much what it is. For instance, if you are an expert in ways to deal with insomnia, you can search HARO for journalists who are looking to talk to experts on the topic. You then send that person an email, “pitching” your expertise, and leave it to them to follow-up. It’s a great way to build your own PR, from a media relations perspective, and get yourself some local or national visibility.
  • SlideBatch. SlideBatch is the solution for “making web content visual and powerful.” They say a buyer will view eight media items before making a decision and where they find those can be scattered across the web. Now you can control what people see and how they see it. Drag files from your desktop, from Dropbox, SlideShare, or Flickr. Or you can add items from Google, YouTube, Vimeo, news, blogs, and even the social networks. You create the batch, design a customized player, select a template, and choose color theme, and voila! You now have a visual PR slideshow for your newsroom or other page on your website.
  • Talkwalker. If you only use two tools in this list, Talkwalker Alerts is the second. Set up alerts for your name, the company name, and your brand or product names. Once a day, you’ll receive an email with links to articles that mention your search terms. For instance, if the alert is for your name and someone mentions you online, you’ll receive an email with the link so you can read what was said. This is a great way to not only monitor what is being said about your company online, it allows you to find the right influencers to build relationships with because they’re the ones already writing about your industry or category.
  • WordPress. WordPress is a content management system that makes it easy for you to update your own website, without having to pay a developer every time you want to make a change to one sentence on one page. The tool was built for the small business owner and is as easy as using Word or PowerPoint.

While you certainly have to think about things from a PR perspective, such as your reputation and how others view your brand, these tools make it a lot easier to manage your time and still make it home for dinner with your family.

A version of this first appeared on the Jimdo blog.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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