The Best Apps for Public Relations Professionals
It often feels like the working day isn’t long enough. Writing, whether it’s a press release or case study, can sometimes feel like a monumental task. We have so many tasks to complete, and often tasks crop up outside working hours too.
That’s why looking at trends in your industry or via a social listening platform can surface stories and data that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to detect and help you automate this process. By equipping yourself with the right public relations tools (such as phone apps that can be used on the go) we can ensure we’re working efficiently, that we’re not forgetting any important tasks and that we’re aware of any possible threats to our brand.
Having a few extra apps on your phone can help you prepare for whatever situation presents itself, wherever you are. In this blog, we’ll be outlining PR tools that every PR Pro should have downloaded on their phone. Some of them will help prevent a crisis whereas others will help you structure your day.
PR Tool #1: Apple or Google News
Keep up to date with the latest news with either Apple’s News App or the Google App. Both customise news content shown based on interests and preferences, and both are easy to use.
Being aware of the latest developments in public interest stories can help us to:
- Look for PR opportunities.
If we notice a trending topic, we may tailor our PR pitch to fit with this to help us be more timely and relevant. For example, if there’s lots of news coverage around the environmental impact of certain packaging, it’s the perfect time to highlight any environmentally friendly practices you have.
- Prevent a crisis.
Stay on top of breaking news stories to ensure brand messaging is sensitive to any major disasters or crises. We’ve seen lots of examples of brands unintentionally causing offence with their choice of words. For example, Entenmann’s found themselves in a spot of bother, the day that Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter. The hashtag #NotGuilty was used so people could discuss the verdict. Entenmann unwisely trendjacked the hashtag without researching the context of it.
PR Tool #2: Meltwater Media Monitoring
Whether you’re on your way to work or on a tradeshow floor, the Meltwater iPhone & Android apps keep you up to date on breaking news stories around your brand and industry.
Unfortunately, stories often break outside of office hours. Stay on top of important news and social media posts with instant notifications. If you deem the news important, easily share it with the appropriate colleagues via text, email or WhatsApp.
Unlike a general news app, a media monitoring app will
- Alert you to both news and social media stories that are relevant to your brand
- Show you analytics on the coverage.
Annabel O’Keeffe, Strategic Marketing & Channel Development Manager at Focus Ireland tells us:
“Meltwater’s mobile app is my favourite feature of the platform – in fact, it’s my favourite app that I have on my phone. I get alerts straight to my phone, on-the-go. I can then tap into the app in one click and determine whether press hits are worth looking into further”.
PR Tool #3: Join.me or Skype for virtual meetings
A good meetings app is another important addition to our online PR toolkit. Many of us have meetings on a daily basis – and we’re not always at our desks. Join.me and Skype are both good options. One benefit of Join.me is you’re able to ‘dial in’ meaning users can call from their mobile (if they’re lacking WIFI). In addition, you can view and present content within the app.
PR Tool #4: Rebtel – for international calls
Alternatively, if you’re making lots of international calls or travelling a lot, ‘Rebtel’ is a great choice. Call international numbers using 4G, Wifi or your network either for free or at a low cost. I spent 2 months in China and found it invaluable for staying in touch with my family and friends back home!
PR Tool #5: Meltwater Engage – for social media
Having access to all of your social media feeds and being able to respond to posts is becoming essential for PR pros. As the public becomes more demanding, the need to quickly respond to questions and queries is essential. Additionally, having access to social feeds on-the-go means we can post at any opportunity, which is handy considering PR is so timely!
For an all-in-one social media management tool, download the Meltwater Engage app. The benefit of using the app, is that all your social media feeds are in one place, making it easy to discover messages and respond to them, plus you can automate the process of reviewing unread messages and share your dashboard as a team.
PR Tool #6: Trello for to-do lists
Unfortunately, not all of us (including myself) have the best memory! To make it even more challenging, many of us have so many tasks on our to-do list, that it can be hard to stay on top of it all. Whilst there’s something satisfying about handwritten to-do lists, they’re easy to lose. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably require more than just one! Trello is the solution to this problem.
You can create a specific project to-do list or just have one giant to-do list. Create tasks and then add checklists and details within the tasks. Another benefit to Trello, is the mobile app. You can update lists on the go. Additionally, you can invite your team or manager to view the list, helping you to stay aligned. A lot of agencies and clients are familiar with this platform, which also helps take the frustration out of introducing it to the team.
The image above provides a bit of inspiration to how Trello can become an invaluable PR tool!
PR Tool #7: Google Drive or Dropbox for Cloud Storage
Another app to add to your list of PR tools is Dropbox or Google Drive. Having backups of our files is really important in case our laptop breaks or is stolen. In addition, having our files in the cloud means we (or our team) can access our documents wherever. In the event of a catastrophe, you'll have easy access to your files, and cloud storage also means simple sharing when the need arises.
PR Tool #8: Focus Keeper for Productivity
HIIT training has become increasingly popular over the last year or so. This is the concept of doing intense bursts of exercise, with short rests. Why not apply the HIIT method to productivity too? I’m easily distracted, and I find that doing short bursts of intense concentration followed by a short break increases my productivity. There’s an app called Focus Keeper, which allows you to set focus periods (usually around 15-30 minutes), followed by a break. Think of it as HIIT for the mind!
PR Tool #9: Grammarly for Writing
There are few elements that are as important to your press release as spelling and grammar. Such careless mistakes appear unprofessional — and could mean the bitter end for your release.
This tool makes it easy by giving you helpful suggestions for spelling and grammar — and keeping a running tally of mistakes so that you always know where you stand. It also integrates with most writing programs and apps.
PR Tool #10: Hemingway Editor for Writing
Looking for another editing tool? This one might be more to your taste — especially if you’re more visual and want more detailed correction.
The Hemingway Editor color codes each grammar and spelling mistake as you go so you can see exactly what’s wrong and how to fix it. From run-on sentences to adverbs that could weaken your sentences, it has helpful suggestions to improve your writing.
PR Tool #11: OneLook Reverse Dictionary
It’s easy to fall into a word rut — using the same word over and over again. This can be dangerous when it comes to press releases. if you do it too much, your audience will likely notice and lose interest.
This tool goes beyond a simple thesaurus — it can look up words based on their definition. For example, if you enter the phrase “speak softly,” it gives you such options as a murmur, whisper, coo, etc. This allows you to avoid redundancy and spice up your press release with new words that engage your audience.
PR Tool #12: Cliche Finder
Cliches can add a whimsical touch to your writing. But when you write press releases, cliches can get in the way and muddle your main message. After all, you want to differentiate your company or yourself in a release.
Just enter your press release into Cliche Finder’s editor and it will conveniently list all of your cliches. This helps you to improve your writing and avoid the cliche pitfall.
PR Tool #13: PR BuzzSaw
Buzzwords: The bane of every industry. And for journalists, who have to comb through press releases every day, these buzzwords can be like nails on a chalkboard.
I appreciate the description that PR BuzzSaw uses to describe its product: “This free tool automatically hacks PR buzzwords out of press releases to make life more bearable for Britain’s hard-working journalists.”
Use this tool to clean up your press release of the most annoying buzzwords, and present a final copy that journalists will happily devour.
PR Tool #14: StayFocusd
StayFocusd is a digital tool that allows you to do just that.
On this platform, you can choose the exact apps or websites that you know distract you the most, and block them from whichever device you’re working from, or all of your devices, for a set period of time. Many people say they feel their freshest and most productive first thing in the morning. We challenge you to block all distracting apps from 8 a.m – 12 p.m. Try it for a week and realise – firstly, how addicted we are to social media, checking notifications and messages – but also, how pleasant it is to work without distractions.
PR Tool #15: Wordcounter
Word count is an important part of your press release. You want to make sure it is a reasonable length without being long-winded. While most writing programs come with a word count feature, they can be buried in the drop down menu; besides it’s a hassle to constantly stop writing to check your progress.
Wordcounter is an easy solution that enables you to keep track of your word count with a mere glance at the top of your screen. Write your press release in its editor, with a big, bold word and character counter at the top so you never have to leave your work to check on it.
PR Tool #16: Answer the Public
It won’t matter how much work you put into your press release if no one reads it. People will read your story only if it interests them and touches their lives. So what can you do to make your news more appealing, short of reading minds?
This free tool will tell you what is on people’s minds by telling you the most common things that they’ve searched for on Google. This can be a great way to make your press release more relevant to your target audience.
For instance, if your press release is about a new launch of your accounting software, you might enter the term “accounting software” into this tool, and see what people are asking or searching for on search engines — and incorporate that information into your release.
Download these public relations tools to ensure you’re working smart. These apps will help you reduce the time it takes you to do daily tasks and ensure you’re equipped to deal with anything wherever you are!
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