As PR pros, we rely on our understanding of the media landscape to drive our day-to-day activity. But without the right tools in our “toolbox,” we would be at a loss for how to implement these strategies into tactical activities. From queueing social media to bolstering our media smarts, to keeping our team organized, below are some of our favorite PR tools that keep us at the top of our game.
Staying Ahead with Sprout Social
Over the last few years, the centrality of social media to our daily life has grown, whether that is in the form of connecting with others or promoting a brand or product. While social media allows you to share your thoughts whenever you want, did you know that you don’t always need to manually type out a social media post? Social media management tools, such as Sprout Social, allow you to schedule out content in advance to publish on the channels of your choosing.
As a PR agency, Sprout allows us to schedule our clients’ social media content on various channels all in one place. You’re able to choose what account and social channel you want to post to, and in some instances – depending on the Sprout plan – the tool will even tell you what time of day is an optimal time for a post to be published. In addition to scheduling content, Sprout integrates any messages, comments, and interactions on various channels – all in one place! Sprout Social and other publishing platforms are key when it comes to managing multiple accounts more efficiently and with clients in time zones across the globe, we would be lost without access to this tool.
Monitoring the Media through MuckRack
Media relations is at the heart of what we do in PR. Every day, we are always thinking about how to connect our clients to local, national, and industry media targets. That’s why it’s imperative to have an easy-to-use tool that can provide useful information on journalists and publications in seconds. While many platforms exist to provide these services, our favorite tool of the moment is Muck Rack.
The website itself is incredibly straight forward, prompting you to type in the name of a journalist, publication, or topic into a large search bar – you can’t miss it! From there, the search will provide you with information on the specific journalist – including past articles and topics of interest – details on the publication, and social listening on the topic. Muck Rack is not only amazing to use for pitching efforts, but the social listening tool is a key differentiator to other tools on the market. This allows you to find journalists not just by what they’ve written, but also topics they are talking about on Twitter. The publication info is also essential as we develop briefing books and present media opportunities to the client. All in all, Muck Rack is here to stay at NSC.
Using GSuite To Collaborate Across the Globe
Coordinating and collaborating with our clients around the country – and even world – would be nearly impossible without the help of the Google’s G Suite. Although certainly not unique to public relations, these cloud-based programs are fundamentally important to our daily activities here at NSC. Unlike the go-to Word processor of our childhood (and still reigning leader in the space – no shade to you, Microsoft), “Docs” and “Sheets” have replaced the Word Documents and Excel Spreadsheets of yesteryear and allow us to work collaboratively no matter where we, or our clients, are. Arguably one of the best new features is the ability to edit Microsoft Documents directly in Google without converting the file. This function allows for instantaneous collaboration when quick edits need to be made.
Our small business account enables us to not only store all of our work in the cloud and never skip a beat on work-from-home Fridays, but easily create project aliases and custom email addresses for our interns to make sure everyone is working efficiently and on the same page. As the saying goes, “teamwork makes the dream work,” and having technology at our fingertips that makes geography a non-issue is a game-changer in today’s round-the-clock PR world.
Creating Compelling Visuals on Canva
As anyone who’s been on social media lately knows, visual content is king. And this spans beyond social – incorporating compelling content into blogs, email newsletters, and webpages is essential to capture and maintain your audience’s attention. One of our favorite tools for creating visuals is Canva. The platform offers both a free and paid subscription, and is used by companies spanning from mom&pop shops to major corporations.
Their templates include your typical social layouts, but also event flyers, powerpoint presentations, and even t-shirt designs. All you have to do is pick the template that fits your needs, drop in your own images and texts, then download your new custom graphic. It seems like they are adding to their layout library daily, helping us stay at the top of our game while putting the client’s best foot (or message) forward. For newbies, the platform also offers a free online design school to learn how to use the tools and review some design basics, which is incredibly helpful for onboarding new employees. Overall, Canva has allowed us to quickly adapt when new visual trends break, and is an essential part of our day-to-day tech toolkit.
Collectively, these tools allow us to readily adapt to changes in the PR field, and stay on the cutting edge of new communication trends. Have a tool that we should add to our arsenal? Let us know on Twitter or LinkedIn!