This article originally appeared on PR Daily in August of 2017.
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
Definition of PR
Public relations (PR) is a strategic communication process that builds and maintains relationships between an organization and its stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, the media, and the general public. The goal of PR is to enhance the reputation and credibility of an organization by building trust, communicating effectively, and managing its image.
PR encompasses a wide range of activities, including media relations, crisis management, content creation, influencer relations, community relations, and events. PR professionals use a variety of tactics, such as press releases, media pitches, social media, content marketing, and speaking opportunities, to communicate with stakeholders and promote their organizations.
PR is different from advertising in that it focuses on earned media, or media coverage that is generated through relationships and reputation, rather than paid media, or media coverage that is purchased through advertising. PR is an important component of a company’s overall marketing and communication strategy, as it helps to build and maintain a positive reputation, enhance credibility, and build relationships with stakeholders.
Tools to pump up your PR efforts
There are several tools and strategies that can help you boost your PR efforts:
- Media databases: Tools like Cision, Muck Rack, and Gorkana provide access to journalists, influencers, and media outlets, allowing you to target specific journalists and publications in your PR outreach.
- News monitoring and media analytics: Tools like Google Alerts, Mention, and Brand24 allow you to monitor mentions of your brand and industry, track media coverage, and analyze the effectiveness of your PR efforts.
- Content creation and distribution: Platforms like Hubspot, BuzzStream, and CoSchedule help you create and distribute compelling content that will attract media attention and generate earned media coverage.
- Influencer marketing: Platforms like AspireIQ, Julius, and Klear help you identify and reach out to influencers in your industry, leveraging their networks and reach to get your message in front of a larger audience.
- PR management software: Tools like Meltwater, Pressfarm, and Airstory help you organize your PR efforts, track coverage, and measure the impact of your PR campaigns.
How we can measure the campaigns and make content visually
Measuring the success of your PR campaigns is crucial to determine the effectiveness of your efforts and make data-driven decisions for future campaigns. Here are a few ways to measure your PR campaigns and make content visually appealing:
- Media metrics: Track media impressions, media reach, and media coverage to get a sense of the exposure your brand received through your PR campaigns.
- Social media metrics: Monitor engagement, shares, and mentions on social media to gauge the impact of your PR efforts on social media.
- Website traffic: Track the increase in website traffic resulting from your PR campaigns to measure the impact of your earned media coverage on your website.
- Lead generation: Track the number of leads generated from your PR campaigns to measure the impact of your PR efforts on your bottom line.
To make your content visually appealing, consider using:
- Infographics: Infographics are a great way to present complex data and information in a simple and visual format.
- Data visualization: Use tools like Tableau, PowerBI, and D3.js to create interactive data visualizations that can help you tell stories with data.
- Interactive content: Use tools like Ceros, Hype, and Adobe Animate to create interactive content that can engage your audience and drive greater impact.
- Video content: Create video content to help tell your story and bring your message to life.
Remember, visual content can be more engaging and memorable than text-based content, so be sure to incorporate visually appealing elements into your PR campaigns to help drive greater impact.
Benefit of PR activity for business
Public relations (PR) activities can bring numerous benefits to a business, including:
- Building brand awareness: PR activities can help to increase brand awareness and reach new audiences through media coverage and influencer relationships.
- Improving reputation: PR activities can help to improve the reputation and credibility of a business by proactively communicating its message, managing its image, and addressing negative publicity.
- Building relationships: PR activities can help to build and maintain relationships with key stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, the media, and the general public.
- Enhancing credibility: PR activities can help to enhance the credibility of a business by leveraging third-party endorsement through media coverage and influencer relationships.
- Generating leads: PR activities can help to generate leads and drive sales by increasing brand visibility, building credibility, and creating awareness of products and services.
- Driving website traffic: PR activities can drive traffic to a business’s website by leveraging media coverage and influencer relationships, which can in turn help to increase engagement, leads, and sales.
- Responding to crisis: PR activities can help a business respond effectively to crisis situations, such as negative publicity or public health crises, by providing accurate information, addressing concerns, and managing its image.
- Cost-effective: PR activities can be more cost-effective than traditional advertising, as it leverages earned media and relationships, rather than paid media.
Overall, PR activities can play an important role in helping businesses to build and maintain their reputation, enhance their credibility, and reach new audiences. By investing in PR, businesses can achieve their marketing and communication goals and drive success.
Difference between PR and marketing
Public relations (PR) and marketing are two distinct, yet related, disciplines that work together to help organizations achieve their goals. Here are some key differences between PR and marketing:
- Purpose: PR focuses on building and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, the media, and the general public. Marketing focuses on promoting products, services, and brands, and driving sales.
- Tactics: PR activities often include media relations, crisis management, content creation, influencer relations, community relations, and events. Marketing activities often include advertising, branding, promotions, sales, and product development.
- Media: PR focuses on earned media, or media coverage generated through relationships and reputation, while marketing focuses on paid media, or media coverage purchased through advertising.
- Audience: PR targets a broad range of stakeholders, while marketing targets customers and potential customers.
- Goals: The goals of PR are to enhance reputation and credibility, build relationships, and manage image. The goals of marketing are to promote products, services, and brands, and drive sales.
- Evaluation: PR is evaluated based on metrics such as media reach, engagement, and reputation, while marketing is evaluated based on metrics such as sales, market share, and ROI.
While PR and marketing are different disciplines, they both play important roles in helping organizations achieve their goals. By working together, PR and marketing can provide a comprehensive, integrated approach to building and maintaining reputation, promoting products and services, and driving sales.
How setup PR and marketing plans
Here are the steps to set up a PR and marketing plan:
- Define your goals: Determine what you want to achieve with your PR and marketing efforts, such as increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, generating leads, or improving customer engagement.
- Conduct a SWOT analysis: Conduct a SWOT analysis to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your brand and industry.
- Identify your target audience: Define your target audience, including demographics, interests, and behaviors, to help you create targeted PR and marketing campaigns.
- Conduct market research: Conduct market research to understand your competition, industry trends, and opportunities for growth.
- Create a content calendar: Develop a content calendar to plan and schedule your PR and marketing content, including blog posts, social media posts, press releases, and other content formats.
- Allocate resources: Determine the resources you will need to achieve your PR and marketing goals, including personnel, budget, and tools.
- Define metrics: Define the metrics you will use to measure the success of your PR and marketing campaigns, such as media reach, engagement, leads generated, and website traffic.
- Implement the plan: Implement your PR and marketing plan, including creating and distributing content, reaching out to media outlets, and leveraging influencer marketing.
- Monitor and adjust: Monitor your PR and marketing efforts, measuring their effectiveness using the metrics you defined. Make adjustments as needed to ensure you are meeting your goals.
Remember, a PR and marketing plan is a living document that should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure it remains aligned with your goals and changing market conditions.
11 free tools to pump up your PR efforts
Back to basics: 10 ideas to pump up your PR and marketing efforts