The Ultimate Guide to Digital PR Tools
A PR pro’s working day is a full one: from writing press releases and building media lists, to pitching journalists, monitoring brand mentions and measuring campaign results.
Fortunately, there are lots of handy digital PR tools to make our lives that little bit easier.
PR in the digital era
Technology provides a wealth of options to help PR pros navigate, generate, initiate, automate, and communicate faster and more efficiently.
Gone are the days where the top PR tools at your disposal were a phone, typewriter, and a little black book of contacts. We’re living in a digital world now. Digital PR tools are all about high performance, productivity, and efficiency.
Now, don’t get us wrong. You don’t need digital PR tools to do the job. You can still do it all the old way – albeit with a smart phone and a laptop instead of a typewriter. But the tools are there and can be incredibly useful, especially if you’re a one-person public relations team with an agency-like calendar full of work.
From writing and pitching to monitoring and measuring, here are the best PR tools available to help you get the job done.
Best PR writing tools
Before delving in, let’s clarify something. When talking about the best PR writing tools, we’re not talking about AI software that writes the press release for you. That’s lazy PR and the quality won’t be worth the money. We’re talking about tools that can enhance the end product and help you ensure it’s pitch-ready before you send it out into the world.
Let’s start with press releases.
What makes a great press release? First and foremost, a great story – a hook – something that resonates with your audience. Something worth the reader’s time and effort. If you don’t have that, you have nothing.
Aside from that, a great press release is free from typos, spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors.
Here are some handy public relations tools to help you tick both boxes.
Grammarly – Grammar and spelling checker
Even the most adept at the English language can make mistakes. Whether it’s an absent apostrophe, a misplaced full stop or an additional ‘the’ that has no right being there, it can happen to the best of us.
Grammarly is one of the most popular online grammar and spelling checkers available. It finds those pesky typos and brings them to your attention. You may have missed them, but Grammarly won’t.
Scribens – Free English grammar check
Another grammar and spell checking tool, Scribens doesn’t receive the attention Grammarly does, but it’s simple to use and good at what it does – namely, ensuring your writing is error-free.
CoSchedule – Headline 100
How would you score your press release headlines out of 100? Don’t spend too much time thinking about it, because CoSchedule’s headline analysis tool will do it for you.
Simply type in your headline and it scores it out of 100 for elements such as sentiment, clarity and reading grade level.
It also gives you a separate score for SEO, offering insight into keyword density, search competition and the average number of monthly searches.
All in all, it’s a cool pretty cool piece of software.
Best PR SEO Tools
I’m often asked, what has SEO, or search engine optimisation got to do with public relations? The answer is, a lot.
In the digital age, SEO is as vital to a successful PR campaign as having your full stops and question marks in the right place. Maybe even more so.
It’s all about keywords, readability and a variety of other factors that get your story high up in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
For more, read: How PR and SEO Work Together to Build Your Brand.
Here are the best tools to help get your PR SEO game on top form.
Semrush – Keyword research royalty
When it comes to keyword research, Semrush is right up there with the best of the best.
It helps you find the best keywords and tells you how they rank in terms of value, based on factors such as search volume, number of results, competition level and intent.
You can use this tool to work out where your clients stand in search rankings in comparison to their competitors and use the information to create PR content capable of bumping them off Google’s first position.
Ahrefs – Backlink kings
Ahrefs is the go-to solution for backlink analysis.
For the unfamiliar, HubSpot defines backlink analysis as ‘a comprehensive review of a website’s backlinks to analyse the site’s performance and identify issues that could affect its search engine ranking.’
Okay, but where’s the PR value in that? A good question.
Backlink analysis helps you find relevant blogs and news publications that are covering your industry and talking about the things you want to talk about – linking back to authoritative content on that subject area.
Armed with this information, you can get in touch with relevant journalists and offer your content to them in hopes of getting a backlink of your own.
If you find high authority backlinks leading to a competitor’s website, you may fancy nabbing that link for yourself by offering up better, more valuable insight.
Best PR distribution tools
After all that spell checking and search optimisation, it’s time to distribute your press release.
There’s an innumerable amount of news sources to be found on the internet. You likely have a list of publications lined up to distribute your press release to. But it’s always good to have an extensive and varied media list at your disposal.
Luckily, there are some great PR tools out there to help you reach reporters and influencers around the globe with ease.
Roxhill Media – Journos everywhere
Roxhill boasts a vast database of journalists from news publications across the globe. Whether you’re searching for national editors, regional reporters, international journalists, or niche blog owners, you’re likely to find them on this platform.
It enables you to access emails, phone numbers and social media profiles of journos through multiple search options, including topic, sector, keyword, and organisation.
You can also take advantage of ready-made lists or create your own custom contacts folders.
It’s a comprehensive database with plenty of cool features. It’s also simple to use, which is a big plus with anything, right?
Business Wire – One-stop shop for PR distribution
Ever heard your PR person use the phrase ‘over the wire?’ If you didn’t know, they were talking about a newswire.
A newswire is a service that distributes news to editors, journalists and agencies working in various forms of media. And they don’t come much bigger than Business Wire.
If you upload your press releases to Business Wire, your news gets sent out to over 100,000 media outlets across more than 200 industries in 162 countries.
But beware, Business Wire’s services – like all the big wire services – come with a pretty hefty price tag. But if you have the cash, it’s worth the investment.
Best PR Monitoring Tools
So, we’ve looked at writing and distribution tools. Now let’s turn out attention to monitoring landed coverage and brand mentions.
Here are some monitoring tools to help you find out who’s talking about you.
Google Alerts – News direct to your inbox
Want an easy and free way to find out which publications picked up your press release?
Google Alerts is for you.
Just add the keywords and phrases you want to keep an eye out for, and the service sends you an email alert when it finds a match.
But be careful, it’s not foolproof. You’ve got to think carefully about your keywords. If you go too broad or vague, you’ll be getting hundreds of results pinging your inbox that have nothing to do with the release you sent out. Be too specific and you may miss out on landed coverage that doesn’t quite fit your narrow search.
The good thing is, you can set up as many alerts as you want and choose whether you want the results individually as they happen or thrown together in a daily digest.
And you get all this for zero pence.
Meltwater – Big time monitoring
Meltwater is a monitoring tool that tracks mentions in print and online news, broadcast channels, social media and review sites.
It monitors 300,000 online news sources and 300 million blogs, making it one of the best PR tracking tools around.
Unlike Google Alerts, it’s not free, but you can request a free demo on their website.
Best PR measurement tools
Measurement tools are essential if you want to know if your PR campaign was successful.
Here are some of the better ones to consider.
Google Analytics – Powerful analytics for free
Another feature-rich product from Google that’s free.
Google Analytics lets you track the number of visitors to your website, where they came from, what device they used and so much more. All essential insight for measuring the impact of your public relations campaign.
One thing to note: It’s simple to use with a bit of practice, but you need to set things up properly to get the most accurate results. Seems like an obvious thing to say, but you’d be surprised how many businesses don’t have their analytics set up correctly. Thankfully, there’s plenty of content online designed to help you navigate the platform.
Coverage Book – traditional reporting, transformed
Ditch the spreadsheets and save valuable time on reporting with Coverage Book.
With this tool you can track the ROI of your public relations activities with detailed reports on landed coverage, earned links, readership numbers and various other titbits of data.
Coverage Book takes all the useful elements of traditional PR reporting and brings them into the 21st century in a lovely digital package.
Best B2B PR Tools
B2B PR is all about building relationships and earning the trust of business owners and decision makers. Establishing your business as an industry leader and an authority in your sector.
Want to know more about what B2B PR is and how it works? Read: What is B2B PR?
Some of the best tools for B2B public relations include:
LinkedIn – The business end of social media
Like Facebook, but for businesses. A social media platform for business owners, entrepreneurs, industry leaders and trade professionals around the globe, it enables you to connect and share knowledge, advice, and services.
It’s an effective channel for generating leads, building authority, and growing brand awareness with its numerous business-focussed tools. LinkedIn Sales Solutions, for example.
It’s also a great place to share press releases and thought leadership articles.
With more than 800 million active members, the potential reach is huge.
B2B News Publications
Want to establish your business as an authority in your field?
One of the best ways to do so is by landing coverage in the business media. There are plenty of options available to you.
For every sector in every industry in every country, there’s a source dedicated to sharing the latest B2B news – from the very niche to the very broad.
Whilst not a tool, per se, these publications are a vital part of any B2B PR campaign strategy.
Business news is big news. A feature in a B2B publication will put your company in front of the decision-makers you’re looking to connect with.
Final word on digital PR tools
There you have it. A comprehensive guide to the best public relations tools to help you write, distribute, monitor, and measure your PR campaigns.