11 free tools to pump up your PR efforts

Communicators can achieve media relations wins, make social media management easier, measure their campaigns and make content visually appealing with these resources.

As a PR pro, you might find that your inbox is overwhelmed with fancy, expensive tools designed to make your life easier.

Some are great and others are duds, but for many communicators who are on a strict budget, they simply are not an option. Luckily, there are a bunch of fantastic tools available online at zero cost.

Here’s a collection of outstanding free PR resources to promote your brand, boost social media efforts, measure and make your content visually pop:

Media relations

1. HARO: Sign up to Help a Reporter Out to receive daily emails detailing journalist requests for sources, organized by sector and industry. When you come across an opportunity for a client or organization you represent, send an answer attributed to your client or boss to get cited as an expert source. You might also get a link back to your website that can boost your SEO, too.

2. #journorequest: Similar to HARO, search the hashtag #journorequest on Twitter to find media relations opportunities.

Social media

3. Hootsuite: Scheduling social media posts is a huge time saver. Platforms such as Twitter can take a lot of maintain, especially if you’re handling more than one account.

It’s much easier to sit down for an hour once every week or two than to maintain a high level of engagement day to day. However, log in and issue replies and retweets on a daily basis, so your account doesn’t look like a bot.

4. BuzzSumo: This tool monitors online shares of your content and backlinks referring traffic to your website. The best free features are quite limited, but there’s a 14-day free trial that is well worth taking up if you want to gather analytics for a report.

Royalty-free photos

In an increasingly visual online world, an eye-catching image can make all the difference to your next campaign. Unfortunately, PR pros don’t always have a budget to hire a professional photographer to create captivating images. Luckily for us, many photographers make their images available royalty-free. You can find a huge variety at these sites:

5. Pixabay: This site offers generic, professional-quality photos for blog posts and articles.

6. Unsplash: If you seek more quirky or artsy images than the choices on Pixabay, check out Unsplash. It’s great for lifestyle shots, urban culture, travel, beauty, shopping and features.

7. Flickr: Popular with amateur photographers, many Flickr photographers make their work available for free. Check each image to see if the photographer allows modification or requires attribution.

Infographics

Infographics are the perfect way to present a lot of information in a way that’s easy for the reader to understand. Done right, they add color and context, and can be used to break up blocks of text.

8. Easel: Choose from a huge range of pre-made infographics to edit or create your own using their text, shapes and characters. The free version works well, but if you want more, go pro for $3 per month.

9. Hubspot: The inbound marketing experts at Hubspot offer 15 awesome, versatile infographic templates completely free.

Google tools

10. Google Analytics: Find out how many people are visiting your site, how long they spend on each page, which social media sites refer the best quality traffic, and track leads. Understanding the data can help you plan better campaigns.

11. Google Alerts: Lots of PR pros pay reasonably large amounts for media monitoring services, but Google does a pretty good job of delivering mentions straight into your inbox absolutely free.

These are my top 11 free PR resources, but I’m sure there are awesome resources that I’ve missed. What do you use?

Katie Harrington is a PR pro, blogger and author of “Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art.” A version of this article originally appeared on her blog.

(Image via)

Topics: PR

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