Thank goodness for smart people who have invented software and tools to help time-strapped business owners and marketers get more done without physically having to do it every time.
Here are a few of the rote tasks of public relations (and marketing, too) that you can automate so you get back to focusing on your business.
1. Social media updates
Look at my social streams, and you might think I’m on Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn all day. Not so. I use a social media dashboard that lets me schedule tweets and updates in advance. I spend maybe an hour each week finding articles to share, press releases to link to, and other updates to retweet. While I’m at it, I also find people to follow to expand my network.
2. Blogger outreach contacts
Do you have so many spreadsheets with bloggers’ contact info that you spend more time digging for a contact than anything? Automated solutions can drastically cut the time you spend hunting down a reporter’s details.
You need to know whether your press release is sending traffic to your website and how many people clicked the link from your mention on Forbes. Rather than log into your Google Analytics platform every few days, set up a report to be generated each week. This helps you to assess your traffic and plan your next release.
4. Brand mentions on social
Part of PR is being proactive when someone talks about your brand (for better or worse) online. Automation can help you track your brand’s name through a social media platform to stay on top of what the buzz is so you can respond promptly. Here are some great examples of how brands such as Southwest Airlines and Red Cross smartly dealt with what could have escalated into major brand embarrassment (and market loss).
5. Brand mentions elsewhere
You also want to know when a blog or publication mentions your brand. Automated solutions can track the name of your brand as well as those of your competitors, helping you to stay on top of who’s covering them.
PR will always require a personal touch, and that’s why automation is so important. It allows you to reduce the time you spend on certain activities and focus on building those human connections that will result in good publicity for your brand.
Susan Payton is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, where she helps her clients realize the benefits of social media, content marketing and blogging. A version of this article first appeared on the Vocus blog.