Although public relations remains a relationship-based profession, automated tools can help PR pros do their jobs faster and perhaps better. The tools improve mainstream digital tools, reduce menial tasks, improve efficiency and generally make life easier for PR. Even if automated tools were not designed with PR in mind, PR pros can still apply them to their common tasks. Of course, while automation helps, PR people need to create content and develop relationships.
Most PR staff are familiar with online tools such as media databases, press release distribution services and media measurement services. These are some of the very helpful, but less well-known digital PR tools recommended by experts.
Boomerang. Boomerang is a Gmail plugin that helps PR and communications professionals manage their email inboxes. PR pros can schedule emails so they reach journalists’ inboxes at the best times — for instance first thing in the morning or just after deadline.
GoVideo. Sometimes it’s easier to show a reporter how something works rather than explaining it in text. In those cases, use Vidyard’s GoVideo to create videos of you explaining the topic through a series of actions on your computer screen. You can then share the videos vial email or social networks. The tool notifies you when someone watches the video, enable you to follow up with timely pitches. The tool also helps you connect with team members and others through video.
“This tool is super easy to use and our sales team at AirPR recently began using it for more personalized outreach and interactive demos,” writes Rebekah Iliff, AirPR chief strategy officer, in Inc. “Because, you know, who wants the same boring email?”
GoToMeeting. For live online demos, our staff at the Glean.info media monitoring and measurement service favor GoToMeeting. It’s easy to use, reliable and relatively inexpensive. It has many valued features including the ability to record the audio. A new feature enables attendees to join virtual meetings without access codes or audio PINs.
Trint. If you need a transcript of a video or audio file, try Trint speech to text software. It’s inexpensive for $15 an hour (25 cents a minute) under the pay-as-you-go plan, and it’s surprisingly accurate. Online transcripts of audio and video programs are essential for gaining SEO benefits, but do make sure you have a quality audio file and carefully proofread the resulting transcripts.
Bananatag. Bananatag tracks email opens, read times and other email metrics. It integrates with email clients like Gmail and Outlook, and is ideal for PR as well as internal communications. You can measure how many employees read your new PTO policy or see if a reporter opened your pitch. It’s similar to Yesware, which offers a free trial.
Tubechop. Tubechop makes it easy to edit YouTube videos. The tool is ideal for selecting humorous or interesting sections of videos to share on social media. Instead of sharing short clips of cats playing, PR and other communications professionals can select short sections of long videos to illustrate a case history or enhance a presentation. Add the link to the YouTube video and use a sliding bar to “chop” the piece you want.
Evernote. Evernote is a useful tool for writing and organizing. You can use it to keep a running list of ideas, take notes, store inspiring articles or ebooks, or plan your editorial and social media publishing calendars. Its mobile, desktop and web apps sync automatically with an internet connection. “From to-do lists and research notes to writing entire chunks of articles, it’s proven helpful at every step of the writing and editing process,” says HubSpot marketer Lindsay Kolowich, an ardent user of the product.
Atlas. Atlas bills itself as the new home for charts and graphs. Powered by Quartz, it’s loaded with graphs, charts and data visualizations. A search function lets you find data on almost any topic. “This is a great tool to get background information on a topic you’re researching, or to find fresh data to use in a project you’re working on,” Kolowich says.
Pocket. Pocket is an online reading list that allows you to easily save and share articles. Tagging and archiving tools make it easy to organize the online reading list. Because you can read articles directly in Pocket, you can read them even if they’re deleted from the web. At Glean.info, we use it to curate content for blog posts.
Hemingway App. Besides finding misspellings and grammar mistakes, the Hemingway App spots overly long sentences, unnecessary adverbs and types of writing shortcomings. Users can easily copy and paste documents into the free online tool. Color-coded highlights of sections needing attention make it easy to review content. The tool advocates an extremely terse writing style, similar to the prose of its namesake, and PR writers may wish to reject some of its recommendations. Still, it’s a useful tool during reviews of drafts.
Bottom Line: These automated tools can improve media pitching, save time and generally increase efficiency and make life easier for PR pros. In addition, they’re easy to use, even if you’re not technology savvy.
This post was first published on Feb. 17, 2017, and updated on Nov. 9, 2018.
William J. Comcowich founded and served as CEO of CyberAlert LLC, the predecessor of Glean.info. He is currently serving as Interim CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Glean.info provides customized media monitoring, measurement and analytics solutions across all types of traditional and social media.