We recently asked hundreds of PR professionals to tell us what their favorite public relations tools are, and the responses were extremely interesting. PR tools and software are wide ranging, and can provide users with the ability to pitch, stay informed, be alerted to new opportunities, keep up with trending events, create content, and so much more.
As we poured through the responses from PR professionals, many of the same top PR tools were mentioned multiple times. We’ll flag those PR tools and also offer our own thoughts on some of the best tools for public relations.
Here’s a look at the top rated PR tools from industry experts.
1. Muck Rack
Submitted by Sharon van Donkelaar, CMO at Expandi
Muck Rack converts your PR campaign data into professional, easy-to-digest reports. Metrics are presented in PDF or Excel formats. Plus, every time journalists write and tweet about your brand, industry, campaign, competitors, or any keyword. They will instantly know who to connect you with, what stories journalists need to tell, and the trending news affecting your industry, brand, or company. Muck Rack allows you to create media lists, set up media monitoring emails, and track mentions.
From Forekast: Muck Rack was one of the most recommended top PR tools from our audience, it has tons of features you can use to monitor brand mentions, track trends, pitch, customize pitches, and win coverage.
Submitted by Rajat Sabulal, Digital Marketer at Shaw Academy
The one tool I use for everything ranging from tracking client mentions, to monitoring influence of third parties on websites, to identifying new opportunities is Ahrefs. “Content explorer” and “Keywords Explorer” are two sections that can be heavily leveraged for PR outreach. Content explorer can be used to identify trending topics with high traffic potential, and keywords explorer works brilliantly in identifying high authority domains on which we can syndicate these content pieces to build equity.
What Ahrefs also does, is that it combines data sets from search and social posts that helps you analyze and garner more comprehensive insights for content posted over time. But the best thing about this tool is the deep dive competitor analysis it provides. You get a clear idea about the kind of websites that are linking to your competitors. Once you are able to identify these domains, you can reach out to them with better and impactful content, than your competitors, which acts as a unique opportunity to grow your outreach.
From Forekast: Ahrefs was one of the most mentioned best PR tools on this list. We pay Ahrefs monthly at Forekast and can confirm that they’re a great service. You’ll be shocked at how much coverage you can get your clients by seeing what competitors are doing.
Submitted by Amanda Ribeiro, Media Relations at Something Great Marketing
Forekast makes it extremely easy to see upcoming trending events, so that you can work them into campaigns, create relevant social content, or plan to newsjack popular dates. It’s a great inspiration tool, but it can also keep you ahead of dates that you don’t want to post. There’s nothing worse than having a great story get little coverage because a major event takes over on the day, Forekast lets you plan around those hurdles.
From Forekast: We’re blushing. Check out this blog for events based marketing examples.
Submitted by Laura Blackwell, Digital PR Executive, Hedgehog Digital
My favorite PR tool to date has to be Prowly. It allows you to scale campaigns and maximize your productivity (and therefore amount of reach), without compromising on the quality or content of your emails.
Email outreach can be a daunting aspect of digital PR, but Prowly makes it super simple and saves time whilst still allowing you to give great attention to detail, with clever features such as their personalization token feature, which fills in gaps where certain values such as company names or first names are missing in your contact database. PR tools that help with email outreach are great for maximizing productivity – which ultimately has a domino-like effect on conversions. It’s also great if you’re someone who (like me) finds interpreting big numbers and large data sets quite intimidating, as the metrics (i.e. open and click-through rates) are really simple to understand.
The best thing about Prowly is that whilst being an automation tool, it doesn’t diminish the element of personalization in email outreach, which is crucial in PR for networking and resonating with people.
5. HARO, one of the top PR tools from Cision
Submitted by Jason McMahon, Digital Strategist of Bambrick
HARO is one of the most popular tools for public relations and SEO professionals. It’s perfect for small companies with specialized knowledge and a desire to be included in related publications. Consider HARO as a two-sided marketplace, with sources searching for press attention on the one hand and journalists looking for sources on the other. Despite the fact that HARO has paid plans, you can start with a free account to see what the tool can do. As a PR solution to get you started, I highly recommend it.
From Forekast: We love HARO here at Forekast, this post was put together from responses on the platform.
6. Google Search Console
Submitted by Peter Prestipino, Director of Marketing at Antenna Group
For today’s PR professionals, one of the most valuable tools is Google Search Console and its counterpart Bing Webmaster Tools. These systems enable our agency to report on the broader impact (clicks to the website, impressions) of media placements at a very granular level. The insights that we’re able to gather from these systems enable us to prioritize specific initiatives and recalibrate strategy where necessary, making for more efficient and effective campaigns over the long term.
From Forekast: Search Console is essential. It lets you see what people are typing into Google when they see your site in SERPs, and what they type when they hit your site. You can use this to inform your strategy.
Submitted by Sally Falkow, Meritus Media
The most useful digital PR tool is Sendible. I use it for finding relevant content on a topic, monitoring brand and generic keyword mentions, tracking conversations, and identifying influencers for a specific topic. It also has the capability to upload content in bulk and schedule it, then track responses, reply straight from the dashboard, and measure results. In my opinion, and I’ve tried most of the digital PR tools available, Sendible is by far the most comprehensive and the easiest to use.
Submitted by Eri Panselina, Media Relations Coordinator at TalentCards
Buzzstream helps me and my PR team keep track of all our contacts and communication with journalists and bloggers. Apart from managing our outreach efforts (pitches, contacts, stage of relationship), we use it for reporting purposes — we can easily get numbers of targets pitched and outcomes and save time while creating our PR reports at the end of each quarter.
Submitted by Taylor Edwards, PR Strategist at JobNimbus
My top digital PR tool right now is Meltwater. I’ve used other media list curation and tracking services but Meltwater is by far the most robust and user friendly. Their influencer database is significantly more accurate and inclusive and I love their reporting tools. I have so many customized reports that I check every day through them, and my managers love that my PR is much more data-driven. I recently sent out an important press release and used Meltwater to do more personal outreach. I used their data to make calls to those who opened the email but didn’t click through and reached one important editor who decided to pick up the story. I didn’t even know who this editor was prior to using Meltwater, then suddenly I had accurate contact info and my story was easily published. I would recommend it more than any other tracking or list service.
From Forekast: Another really popular PR tool, Meltwater was submitted multiple times. Cision, one of the biggest names in the industry, was also mentioned many times – but not as much as Muck Rack or Meltwater.
Submitted by Jenna Carson, Marketing Director at Music Grotto
Most PRs will have an invaluable tool such as a PR database or a tool that captures all journalist requests but for me, the most important digital tool that helps a PR land press – is Grammarly! We live in a time when public relations experts need to send out so much content every day that there is no time to proofread it and no money to hire a proofreader, this can sometimes lead to bad spelling or awful sentence structure. If the story is good enough then a journalist might not mind but if a journalist is looking for a copy and paste article, this can lead to awful conversions and a bad time for the PR. As a digital tool, Grammarly works on phones, as add-ons to browsers and everywhere else.
From Forekast: Just use it. Grammarly is indispensable here at Forekast.
Submitted by Andreea Daniela, Head of PR at Deepstash
Being a PR pro requires you to stay informed about the media landscape. But subscribing to newsletters, reading articles, following influencers, all of this can be exhausting and overwhelming. So, I use Feedly. Feedly is a news aggregator platform that aims to help its users, and in particular, professionals who require up-to-date content, to read news fast and share content easily. Either through the app or website, you can compile feeds from different online sources. For example, I use PR Week, Adage, and Wired, and you can read them and digest them faster in Feedly thanks to the UX friendly format. My favorite feature is being able to create a new feed that focuses on specific parts of my job, like following the tech start-ups scene and tracking mentions of the company I work for, as well as competitors who have recently received press attention. Because of its multi-functional uses, the app is perfect for all PR professionals who need quick news, fast.
From Forekast: If you miss RSS readers, Feedly is for you.
12. Google Alerts
Submitted by James Dyble, Managing Director and Head PR Practitioner, Global Sound Group
One of the most valuable tools online is Google Alerts. The benefit of setting up alerts on Google is that they send an email every time a topic or story gets a mention. The advantage of receiving signals at rapid speed is key to an effective PR campaign because practitioners can jump on trends while they are still relevant. However, the trick is to set up alerts that are in line with the campaign in question. Also, the tool is free to use, and it is relatively straightforward to set up, but make sure that you amend the frequency of receiving alerts; otherwise, they may arrive well after the content goes live.
From Forekast: Set up alerts for your brand but also for competitors, and see what’s happening as often as you’d like.
We hope these top PR tools are useful to you, they’re some of the top ranked tools by public relations professionals. Give Forekast a try for yourself. Set a bookmark and check in before you plan your next campaign.