Best Free PR Tools For PR Professionals And Business Owners

List of the best free PR tools currently available online. Includes news syndication, free media lists, social sharing apps and methods of sourcing media opportunities.

By Rachel WildGoogle+ ♦ Twitter.

Free PR Tools

The interactive list of 50+ Free PR Tools can be found at the end of this article.

Best Free PR Tools For PR Professionals And Business Owners

With a well constructed PR strategy, that ties in neatly with an ongoing social media strategy, it is possible to achieve tremendous audience reach for a modest outlay. The equivalent level of exposure via advertising would be cost prohibitive for most small to medium sized enterprises, (SME”s). But, press coverage will not only save businesses a considerable amount of money, it is also preferable to advertising for other reasons. Third party opinion is much more trusted than advertisements, and the placement of features and news items within a publication is usually much more prominent than paid content, which is often consigned to the periphery.

One of the key reasons why a well conceived PR strategy is so cost efficient is that there is a wealth of free online PR tools and resources that can support the PR process.

Finding Related News And Creating Archives

Google Alerts is one of the most commonly used tools for sourcing news items. An alert takes seconds to set up and conveniently delivers all of the breaking news, related to the search term specified, in a collated email. News items are listed with a brief description alongside links to the news source pages.

I love the simplicity of Google Alerts, but this service is not without its drawbacks. No images are provided and so the presentation is not particularly compelling, and, aside from setting up a custom label in Gmail, there’s no efficient way of archiving the material in a truly straightforward way. Gmail labels are great in many respects, but they are not ideal for storing research material or for building of compendiums of news coverage.

This is where content curation and syndication platforms come to the fore, something that is especially true since the recent decommissioning of Google Reader, (July 2013).

Content Curation

There are a good number of free content curation tools, but the one that best suits the purposes of creating an ongoing archive of news items is Scoop.it. This powerful platform allows users to create topics and curate relevant material over time. There is an option to write an editorial introduction to each published item and social sharing to the major social media networks is supported. It is also synched with Buffer so that the sharing of material can be scheduled.

Perhaps one of the best features of the platform is the level of control that users have in presenting and modifying the content. Another is the way it is displayed. All of the items are presented in a magazine format and prominence is given to related images and headlines. News is dealt with chronologically, with opening paragraphs displayed alongside headers and stills. This means that information retrieval is a breeze. It only takes a matter of seconds to scroll down through the pages to locate a specific piece.

These features make a compelling case for using Scoop.it on their own, but when this is coupled with the fact that topics can attract followers, and suggested related material is also offered, using Scoop.it is a no-brainer!

This is a link to the compendium of Crowdfunding articles that I have been compiling using Scoop.it so that I may complete a major industry report on the subject over the next couple of months. It has been put together using the results of three Google Alerts that have been running for approximately three months.

The Listly platform can also be used for content curation purposes, but I prefer to use it for constructing lists of great online resources, like the one I’ve published at the end of this post. The list has been incorporated into this post using the free Listly WordPress plugin. Note; Listly is itself a fantastic free app and so it is also featured within the list.

No list of digital resources can ever be exhaustive, and this one certainly isn’t. Technological advancements and innovation are increasingly disruptive, regularly offering new solutions to old problems. One of the real benefits of Listly is that it is a fluid format that permits regular updates over time. In addition, existing content can be edited to reflect new developments.

One of the best features of Listly is that new items can be added to lists by anyone. This avoids the potential for a duplication of effort. Instead of creating a new list for a topic that already exists, users can search for preexistant topics which they can then track by opting to follow the list. They can also contribute to it. Another great feature is the voting up system that allows featured items to rise to greater prominence based on the collective opinion of all that view and interact with the lists.

***If you would like to add a new resource to the list featured in this post then you can do so here. If you would prefer to make your suggestions without leaving this page, please add your well loved free PR tool in the comments section at the end of this post.***

News Subscriptions

Subscribing to news feeds is an excellent way of staying informed about vital developments.    This is why the decommissioning of Google Reader has caused so much consternation and panic. In fact, there is some speculation that RSS feeds will ultimately become redundant. Google’s decision to withdraw support for several RSS dependent services is being seen, by some, as a death knell. There are, however, several free alternatives that more than adequately replace it that do not rely on RSS.

My preferred option is the very wonderful Feedly. This feature rich platform, that organises the material from preselected news sources in a much more convenient way than Google Reader ever did, is a joy to use.

Twitter, The Safe House for Print Media on the Net

Twitter is the most obvious social media platform to attract journalists, PR professionals and news consumers alike. For this reason it is an invaluable tool for developing media relations, monitoring what is topical, and finding media professionals that are researching their stories. Journalists are adept at tracking down their sources. Using hashtags such as #JournoRequest means that they can publicise their requirements in an highly targeted way. Locating and responding to an appropriate #JournoRequest is a very straightforward process. Prospective contributors can key the hashtag into the Twitter search query box followed by a specific topic. For example; #JournoRequest Crowdfunding. This delivers all of the relevant requests in chronological order allowing individuals to respond to current queries and using older posts for research purposes.

***It is not possible to explain in detail why Twitter is such an ideal format for PR within this post. Instead, I will be publishing a dedicated piece on this topic in the near future. If you would like to notified when this post is available please subscribe to this blog by submitting your email address in the top right hand corner of this page.***

Post Update: We’re currently experimenting with BlogDash, a tool that allows users to search for content marketers based on specific criteria such as demographics and influence etc. Have you used this tool? Please let us know what you think of it in the comments.

Best Free PR Tools

Best Free PR Tools

50+ Free PR Tools / Media Resources Please note, some of the items listed have a free trial period, hence their inclusion.

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  1. 1
    3 Voting...
    Intweetiv: The Content Optimization Engine for Twitter

    Intweetiv: The Content Optimization Engine for Twitter

    Intweetiv is an online marketing service allowing businesses and influencers to plan and optimize their content marketing strategy for Twitter.

  2. 2
    2 Voting...
    Mynewsdesk - Search, Monitor, Subscribe and Publish Press Releases.

    Mynewsdesk - Search, Monitor, Subscribe and Publish Press Releases.

    Mynewsdesk matches and distributes company news such as news releases, photos and video with important influencers - on their own terms. The press material - all visible in a social media newsroom - is instantly search engine optimized and automatically published and shared on social media platforms such as Twitter, Flickr, Word Press and Slideshare.

    14 day free trial available for this powerful platform, with paid and a free restricted version thereafter.

  3. 3
    2 Voting...
    Media Diplomat - Connecting reporters with news sources internationally

    Media Diplomat - Connecting reporters with news sources internationally

    Connecting industry experts and PR professionals with reporters internationally

  4. 4
    1 Voting...
    SumAll

    SumAll

    SumAll is a connected data tool that helps thousands make better decisions.

    Fantastic analytics from this powerful platform - don't think it will be free for long!

  5. 5
    1 Voting...
    Tagboard

    Tagboard

    Tagboard. The social media hub for hashtags.

  6. 6
    2 Voting...
    Swayy

    Swayy

    Swayy gives you the content that engages your audience

    A brilliant tool!

  7. 7
    0 Voting...
    Muck Rack - Journalists on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and social media

    Muck Rack - Journalists on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and social media

    Muck Rack provides a free media directory. It is becoming more of a paid service these days, but is great for newspaper lists and tech / marketing outlets. Also shows trending topics oat each publication along with a list of journos that work there with their Twitter follower count.

  8. 8
    1 Voting...
    Followerwonk: Twitter analytics, follower segmentation, social graph tracking, & more

    Followerwonk: Twitter analytics, follower segmentation, social graph tracking, & more

    Free and paid versions: very useful!! Followerwonk helps you explore and grow your social graph. Dig deeper into Twitter analytics: Who are your followers? Where are they located? When do they tweet? Find and connect with new influencers in your niche. Use super-actionable visualizations to compare your social graph to others. Easily share your reports with the world.

  9. 9
    1 Voting...
    Alexa - The Web Information Company

    Alexa - The Web Information Company

    Alexa provides information about websites including Top Sites, Internet Traffic Stats and Metrics, Related Links, Online Reviews Contact Information and Search Analytics for SEM and SEO optimization. The Alexa Toolbar is a browser add-on that shows data about sites as you surf the web

  10. 10
    1 Voting...
    journalisted.com

    journalisted.com

    Search Journalists and Articles - great UK resource developed by Martin Moore of Media Standards Trust.

    Over 100k journalists listed - search by subject or by journalist.

    It is independent, non-commercial and non-partisan, and is intended to make the news media more transparent and accountable on behalf of the public.

  11. 11
    1 Voting...
    Twellow

    Twellow

    Twellow is a directory of public Twitter accounts, with hundreds of categories and search features to help you find people who matter to you. Great for finding Twitter accounts that have large followings that mention your search criteria in their bio.

  12. 12
    1 Voting...
    Flacklist

    Flacklist

    Founded by a group of PR professionals and journalists and designed as a tool to help media quickly and easily identify and connect with the right PR pro or expert... Enhance visibility of yourself and your brand, company or organization by creating an expert profile that is searchable by media. Share latest studies, reports and news on expert profiles and connect with others in our community.

  13. 13
    2 Voting...
    Listly - Lists made easy + social + fun!

    Listly - Lists made easy + social + fun!

    Lists = Ranking. List Posts = Traffic. We help bloggers & brands curate, crowdsource, and engage readers via live embedded list content inside blog posts.

  14. 14
    2 Voting...
    Mention - media monitoring application

    Mention - media monitoring application

    Media monitoring made simple. Work smartly as team. Community management, wherever your are. Analyze your visibility. Alternative to Google Alerts

  15. 15
    0 Voting...
    Seek or Shout - Cision

    Seek or Shout - Cision

    Seek content, expert sources, research and other support for stories. Shout to let the community know you have a story to tell. Join Seek or Shout today and see what a difference the right connection and the right time can make.

  16. 16
    0 Voting...
    Free Publicity - Connecting Reporters and News Sources - Help a Reporter Out

    Free Publicity - Connecting Reporters and News Sources - Help a Reporter Out

    No such thing as free publicity? There is with HARO. Help A Reporter connects news sources with journalists looking for their expertise.

  17. 17
    0 Voting...
    Free publicity for expert sources and PR professionals - connecting journalists, reporters, bloggers and writers with...
  18. 18
    1 Voting...
    Media Sync Online

    Media Sync Online

    A little unprofessional in appearance, but it has a database of more than 500,000 media contacts and 9 million articles and blogs. You can search for contacts or opportunities (including editorial calendars) using a simple search box, and it's free!

  19. 19
    1 Voting...
    MatchPoint

    MatchPoint

    Looks like a paid service these days...? An attempt to verify this failed due to the email address provided by the site receiving the following error message: Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently: sales@engage21.com

    MatchPoint is the first communications tool designed exclusively for the PR Professional to help you identify and interact with the journalists and bloggers who may actually care about what you have to say.

  20. 20
    0 Voting...
    ProfNet from PR Newswire

    ProfNet from PR Newswire

    ProfNet from PR Newswire is similar to HARO but is a PAID service

  21. 21
    0 Voting...
    MediaOnTwitter

    MediaOnTwitter

    MediaOnTwitter is a wiki of media contacts who use Twitter. It’s been around for a while and is a pretty comprehensive list.

  22. 22
    1 Voting...
    ExpertTweet

    ExpertTweet

    Once you're satisfied with your ExpertTweet request, click the big blue Tweet It! button. Once you click Tweet It, we'll send your tweet to the ExpertTweet community (everyone following ExpertTweet on Twitter. ExpertTweet automatically adds (via @yourusername) to the end of your tweet.

  23. 23
    0 Voting...
    News Certified Exchange

    News Certified Exchange

    Founded by veteran journalists, NewsCertified provides the global news media with a searchable database of credible, interview-ready experts and story ideas that are accessible 24/7.

  24. 24
    0 Voting...
    PitchEngine : Get the Word Out

    PitchEngine : Get the Word Out

    PitchEngine is excellent for social media releases (SMR). It helps you package, distribute, manage and track your news across social media.

    Sharing with your customers has never been easier. Publish news, promotions and more to all sorts of mediums using a Pitch™.

  25. 25
    0 Voting...
    Twitter Search - BackTweets

    Twitter Search - BackTweets

    BackTweets enables you to search through an archive of old tweets and find tweets that link back to your site.

View more lists from Rachel Wild
About Rachel Wild

Rachel Wild is the Creative Director at Wild Digital. She's been a writer for digital publication and a Marketing and PR Consultant for more years than she cares to remember. Being committed to quality, sustainability and originality in all things, she passionately supports creative endeavour and independent business. "The future, if it's good, will see a triumph of quality over quantity, substance over style and give rise to truly inspired thinking born of fearlessness and compassion." Connect with her on Google+ and Twitter.
 

Connect with Wild Digital on Google+, Twitter and Pinterest.

Comments

  1. Adam Cranfield says:

    Hi Rachel
    Thanks for including us! I should just clarify that Mynewsdesk is not actually a free product for brands. We’re exceedingly good value, but not free ; )
    Cheers
    Adam
    CMO, Mynewsdesk
    @adamcranfield

    • Hi Adam, I really appreciate your comment. I’ve included Mynewsdesk as it is such a powerful platform and a free trial is offered. I’m aware that differing trial periods exist within different countries. Perhaps it would be useful to outline the differences either within a new comment or perhaps by editing the product description within the Listly list itself?

      I am very much looking forward to a full product demonstration with Heather next week. I am keen to deepen my understanding of the Mynewsdesk platform. A guided tour will be invaluable. Your service levels are impeccable! (Something that would be unfeasible without Mynewsdesk being a paid service!)

      Have a great weekend.

  2. Adam Cranfield says:

    Thanks for the kinds words Rachel! Heather is looking forward to demoing Mynewsdesk for you next week.
    We offer a 10-day free trial in the UK.
    Speak soon!
    Best
    Adam

  3. Great list Rachel. PR and small business people should take a look, test drive some of these great tools and add the best ones to their toolbox. When I get a bit of time I will add a couple of suggestions.

    • Hi Jeff, I’m so glad that you found the time to check out the list, and I’m thrilled to hear that you will be adding to it. I have found a number of fantastic complimentary tools and platforms courtesy of your prolific contribution to quality online reference material relating to all things PR. I’m sure that whatever you add will be brilliant! Thank you.

      Please note, the list is compiled chronologically and so anything that you input will appear at the bottom. However, you can vote up the items that you add in the list by simply clicking the upward arrow to the left of the listing.

      Hope you are having a great weekend.
      Best,
      Rachel

  4. Rachel, great tools, thank you for sharing!

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