PR tools are essential for practitioners to do our job quickly and effectively.

There are a number (250+) of PR tools over on #PRStack, a community developed by Stephen Waddington with support from Prezly. There have been two books created out of the community, the last of which I submitted an entry.

As the PR world evolved, it seems almost daily, there’s news and updates which we need to keep abreast of, most recently, Google has changed the 301 Redirect rule and Instagram has just launched Stories, similar to Snapchat but I’d argue easier to use.

pr toolsSo practitioners not only have to write strategy, give counsel, deliver great work, monitor and evaluate, we also have to keep on top of every platform we work on, on behalf of clients. Hours a week can be spent on testing, reading and reporting.

Practitioners are only as good as their knowledge and skills. That’s why I invest in my membership of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, of which I am a Fellow, a member of its Council and last year I became a Chartered practitioner.

How can practitioners give the best advice and counsel if they don’t know the realm of where your ‘publics’ are and what they are doing, not least how they are doing it?

I’m not suggesting every practitioner needs to know every platform and every techy thing, but if you’re working in niche areas, you absolutely need to know everything there is about where people are, what they are saying and doing, what they think and what’s of value to them.

I mostly work in consumer PR, across design, hospitality, cultural events/festivals and I have a passion for automotive and interiors.

As always, I like to share some nuggets of information, most of which can be used by small businesses and other PR practitioners.

Here is a list of my top five PR tools this summer (I use the term ‘summer’ very loosely considering the rubbish weather we’ve had in Scotland!):

#1 Instagram

Now with an even better platform, easy to use and reaching anyone, anywhere, Instagram has developed from just a selfie sharing platform into a platform where people can find anything of interest to them in a real-life way. It’s authentic, as all content should be!

#2 Tweetsmap

A paid-for platform which looks into your audience and helps understand who you follow and who follows you. I’ve been done some analysis for a client, as I reckon there is little to no engagement from their activity generated in-house. Tweetsmap for £20 can look at people’s locations, interests, see who is active and inactive, see who follows you back, all the way down to engagement levels.

#3 Canva mobile

Canva’s website has long been a favourite tool of mine. I use it almost daily for creating visuals for social, blogs, video and I’ve used it for creating AuraTalk, Aura’s free e-zine for SME’s, helping to make them stand out.

The mobile app uses free images in a variety of templates, ready for different platforms. You can swap images, add or change text and basically create a great graphic in a couple of minutes. You can then save it to your phone, upload on whatever platform and Bob’s your Uncle!

Funnily enough, I was creating the featured image for this blog post in Canva online and apparently ‘the publishing elves ran into a problem’! Maybe I’ve shared the Canva love too much and now everyone has caught on! lol

#4 Google keyword planner

When you’re planning and doing some research for campaigns, it’s useful to see what trends there are on Google searches. This free tool helps identify those very things.

For example, if I want to see how many people in London search for ‘PR Glasgow’,  I log into my Google Adwords account, type in the search term(s), specify a location and click to create. Apparently there are an average of only 10 searches a month for people in London searching for ‘PR Glasgow’! You can also look at how the searches vary across mobile, device, location and do competitor analysis.

#5 AMEC Framework

PR tools

I found out in June just before #PRFest that AMEC would be launching a new framework tool online, to help practitioners be more consistent in delivering quality evaluation of campaigns. The PRCA put a call out for people to help test the new framework for ICCO and AMEC, so I volunteered.

I was asked to lead the testing team, which consists of five other PR practitioners from across the world. We’ll be putting the final report together shortly, but highlights of the tool include a step-by-step online system to input all seven areas of evaluation and a colourful and well layed out report.

Let’s ask Twitter

I set a poll for 24hrs asking my network which PR tools they use including Twitter, Canva, Instagram and Whatsmyserp. Twitter won with a 46% vote, followed by Canva with 31%, then Instagram with 15% and finally Whatsmyserp with 8%. I’ve just set another one for favourite social platform – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. Will share the results in another post.

Thanks for reading my post! If you found it useful please share it across your network. Others might find it useful too.

Blog post by Laura Sutherland