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  • Tag Archive: PR tools

    1. 5 Quick Tips and Tools for Today’s PR Professional

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      public relations tips

      One of the most exciting things about the current state of the PR industry is the vast amount of tools and solutions that are now available to us.

      Here are a few class-act tools and clever tips that will give you a noticeable edge in your communications role. From handy email add-ons for media relations to mining data for more targeted and effective pitches, this list is an easy albeit effective win.

      1. Use Boomerang to schedule emails and Respondable to nail tone.

      Boomerang is a long-loved Gmail plugin that helps PR and communications professionals manage their inboxes. “In PR, timing is everything,” says Aye Moah, co-founder and chief of product for Boomerang. “This tool helps PR professionals get the right timing in all their email communications.” Moah suggests using Boomerang to schedule emails so they hit journalists’ inboxes first thing in the morning or just after lunch in order to increase the odds that your message is read.

      Also created by Boomerang, Respondable helps communications professionals nail the right tone in their emails. For example, it can help ensure that your email to a journalist is positive without being overly sugary. Likewise, if you’re emailing a reporter who misinterpreted a quote, Respondable can help to ensure you’re not coming across too negatively.

      2. Create video pitches with ViewedIt.

      For those times when it’s way easier to show a reporter how something works as opposed to explaining it via lengthy text, use ViewedIt to create an easy-to-share video of you walking them through a series of actions on your computer screen. The tool allows you to track who watches it, so you’re never in the dark about if your video was received or viewed.

      3. Track emails with Bananatag.

      Whether you’re a member of an internal communications team and must measure how many employees read your new PTO policy or want to see if a reporter opened your pitch email, Bananatag lets you track up to five emails a day for free.

      4. Create data-driven pitches with Qualtrics.

      The best stories are based on data, and Qualtrics provides you with current, accurate data to incorporate into pitches, bylines, infographics, speeches, and more. I recently discovered it, and it has quickly become a PR tool I recommend to all my data-savvy PR pals.

      With Qualtrics, you can easily gather data and insights on almost any topic under the sun in a matter of hours to create more compelling, timely stories for the readers you want to reach.

      Fun fact: Qualtrics’ own Head of PR uses the technology to pitch everything from holiday shopping trends to what keeps Fortune 100 CEOs awake at night. The result? Hundreds of data-driven media placements.

      5. Pitch or produce a podcast with tools like Audacity.

      Edison Research’s Infinite Dial 2016 report found that podcast listening is showing a sharp increase from years prior. This raises two thoughts for today’s PR pros: 1) Should I be pitching podcasters, and 2) Should the brand I represent be producing their own?

      I spoke with Richard Davies, veteran radio news anchor, podcaster, and owner of his own podcast production firm to get his take on the topic. He suggests keeping pitch length to a paragraph or less and including a link to a sound clip of the person you’re hoping the podcaster will interview to show what they’re like on air.

      If you’re considering producing your own podcast, Davies recommends starting out with an Audio Technica microphone setup which you can find on Amazon for under $80. Use digital audio recording and editing software Audacity for free to experiment with creating your own content.

      Investing a small amount of time in learning to use these budget-friendly tools will make you love your job and look pretty darn smart to team members looking to streamline their efforts too. For more great tools, skim through the PRTech ecosystem at PRTech.co.

      A version of this post appeared in Inc. Magazine.

    2. How PRTech Can Pump Up Your 2016 PR Planning

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      If you’re anything like us, you’re likely steeped in planning madness as the final weeks of 2015 come to a red and green infested close. In the midst of crafting strategies, brainstorming campaigns, and ideating stories, be sure to check out our recently refreshed PRTech Ecosystem.

      My, how far we’ve come!

      In just one year, we’ve seen explosive growth in some categories, the emergence of completely new sections, and an abundance of maturation and innovation rolled out by all. It’s an exciting time for the PRTech space and this is only the beginning of the journey.

      Whether you’re planning, executing, or measuring, this deep list of tools can help with automation, optimization, productivity, granularity and more. Just remember that any tech should allow you to focus on what matters most: critical thinking, relationship building and storytelling.

      Got another PRTech company you think should be included in our ecosystem? Shoot us a note or tweet at us!

      We update this ecosystem once a quarter and welcome any and all peeps you think should be on our radar.


      Some Things To Note

      • The PRTech ecosystem provides tools designed to assist PR every step of the way. Many of the companies play in a few different spaces but in this refresh, we focused on listing companies as they relate to their most viable product a.k.a. what they do better than anyone else. Be sure to get know everything everyone offers!
      • A special shoutout to all the PRTech companies who reached out via email, Twitter, carrier pigeon, etc. to let us know of the awesome work you’re doing. Making your voices known is the first step in showing off how much value we collectively bring to the table.
      • Another huge high five to our #PRpals at Prezly for their incredibly detailed overview of many of these tools on prstack.co. Not only is Prezly helping PR pros craft and push out beautiful, multimedia rich stories, they fundamentally challenge all of PR to think outside the press release box. Good stuff.
    3. 10 Ways PR Can Leverage LinkedIn

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      A few weeks ago I conducted an exclusive interview with two of LinkedIn’s leading tech ladies, Sarah Clatterbuck and Erica Lockheimer, alongside PR Manager Kenly Walker. We talked about everything from how to ensure your LinkedIn connections aren’t aware of your stalking habits, to how the company’s “women in tech” initiatives are setting an example for other public companies and laying the foundation for the next generation of STEM-focused gals.

      After the interview (because I may or may not be obsessed with all-things-PR) I asked them if they could kindly cull together a list of ways in which everyone from PR professionals to startup founders can leverage all of LinkedIn’s amazing features to enhance both internal and external communications strategies.

      Well, needless to say, they did better than cull. They immediately put me in touch with Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Catherine Fisher, so we could sit down and talk “PR shop.” Whether you’re a seasoned PR professional, an entrepreneur, or simply looking to raise your professional profile, Ms. Fisher’s insightful and useful tips will be a stellar way to round out your PR toolbox.

      LinkedIn can help you strengthen and amplify your internal and external communications strategies.

      How PR can use LinkedIn1. Humanize Your Brand with Your Employees, Senior Executives and Thought leaders: Whether they are in the corner office or in a cubicle right beside you, your best advocates are sitting right down the hall. Smart companies are tapping their employees to write and share content.

      Dan Roth, LinkedIn Executive Editor, recently shared, “The best of them are actively encouraging their employees to get their voice out there–by supporting their writing, suggesting content for them to comment on and share or making suggestions of what people might want to tackle and then curating and sharing the posts.”

      In fact, “on average, according to our data, the employees of a company have 10 times the social following that their company has.” A company that is doing it well is Dell.

      2. Company Page: Consume and share content on LinkedIn as a company. Does your company reign supreme in healthcare PR, or does your CEO often provide expert analysis surrounding the latest millennial marketing trends? Make sure your company has a LinkedIn Company Page and gain followers by sharing updates like employment branding and career opportunities, fun industry-related facts and quotes, and an inside look into your company’s corporate culture via executive and employee interviews. It enables your company to share news and insights with LinkedIn’s 364+ million members.

      3. Gain insights from top industry leaders known as “Influencers” on LinkedIn’s Pulse.

      Ever wonder how Arianna Huffington built her media empire or what Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, foresees will be the next big thing in social media? In addition to members publishing content on LinkedIn, you can check out LinkedIn Influencers, around 500 of the top minds in business like Bill Gates to Richard Branson who write and share on topics like entrepreneurship and social good, for the latest news and insights affecting the business world today.

      4. Reinforce the value of authenticity, not promotion.

      Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente and LinkedIn Influencer Bernard J. Tyson’s examination of race relations in response to Ferguson reached half a million people on LinkedIn. Why? The authenticity and passion that resonated from Tyson’s post not only brought positive attention to him as an influential thought leader, but also drew positive recognition for his company just by virtue of the post.

      A robust LinkedIn profile is your ticket to a variety of professional opportunities like jobs, mentorships, new business ventures, and referrals.

      5. A picture is worth a thousand words. First impressions count in PR, so make sure your profile conveys who you are as a professional. In fact, profiles with a photo are 14 times more likely to be viewed than those without. Follow The LinkedIn Guide to the Perfect #WorkSelfie to capture the perfect lighting, angles, and environment to best illustrate you in your PR setting.

      6. Don’t bury the lede with a lackluster headline or lifeless summary. Your title is already listed in your experience section, so use your headline to differentiate yourself and grab the attention of others. Do you pride yourself on being an evangelist for health and wellness clients? Are you known for being a consummate connector? Your summary is the real estate to focus on career accomplishments, aspirations and to show a bit of flair. In fact, a summary of 40 words or more makes your profile more likely to turn up in searches.

      7. Focus on the quality of your connections not the quantity, and leverage search to reach out to new contacts (media). PR professionals come across so many people at work, but keep in mind your network is an extension of your professional brand. We advise only connecting with those you know and trust. Send a connection request with a brief, personalized note to the producer you worked with on a great broadcast segment, not the cameraman you briefly chatted with in the elevator.

      8. Show, don’t just tell who you are as a professional, and be your own best publicist on LinkedIn. Do what you do best, and use LinkedIn to publicize your professional brand to the world. Give a dynamic, visually appealing presentation of your professional story by uploading presentations, portfolios, and articles you’ve secured for clients to demonstrate your PR prowess. Broadcast to your network how the fruits of your labor culminated in an award-winning event or exclusive story in the Sunday business section by sharing an article link in a status update.

      9. Receive a stamp of approval through recommendations and endorsements.Ask for recommendations from clients, former co-workers and employers to make your profile go that extra mile. Do the legwork for them and provide the specific qualities or project examples you’d like them to highlight. For your skills section, select the ones you want to be known for and list them starting with the most important to you at the top. HINT: You can (and should) always reorder your skills, add new ones and delete others as your career goals change.

      10. Grow and engage your network. Actively engage with your network by posting status updates, joining and participating in Groups, and blogging on LinkedIn. Share links, articles, images, inspiring quotes, or anything else that may interest your connections via status updates. Did you learn compelling B2B marketing strategies at a recent conference you attended? Share a photo from the event in a status update and tag the event organizer.

      BONUS: You can also strengthen your PR reputation and grow your reach by blogging on LinkedIn. Publish long-form content to deeply explore topics that matter to you such as the state of the media industry or your best pitching tactics, and then monitor the comments to see your impact.

      As you can see, LinkedIn is no longer just about making connections with other business professionals or simply finding jobs. It has become a one-stop-shop for communicating thoughts, ideas, experience, and useful information in a conversation driven, two-way public relations world.

      A version of this article first appeared on Inc.com.
    4. Math: PR Style


      Who remembers sitting in your [insert preferred mathematics class here] thinking, “When in the name of Merlin’s beard am I ever going to use this absurd theorem in real life? This feels like a gigantic waste of time.

      I can honestly say that there were many an afternoon where that exact thought went through my head. Which may explain why I chose a less numerically minded career path.

      But here’s the rub.

      The closer I look at everything we do here at AirPR (and everything PR pros do in general), the more I realize just how intertwined Math is in our day-to-day. From time management to data visualizations that allow audiences to extract meaning from numbers, math is everywhere.

      Why PR should love mathPR measurement guru, Shonali Burke, sums it up nicely: “If you’re managing a client’s budget, you’re doing Math. If you’re using data points to pitch a story, you’re doing Math. If you’re managing a research project which comprises surveys, you’re doing Math. If you’re running your own PR business, you’re absolutely doing Math.” she asserts.

      “And when measuring PR, even if your metrics are primarily output metrics, you’re doing Math. What else would you call counting all those impressions, hits, and followers? I think many [PR] pros think ‘differential calculus’ or other complicated functions when they hear ‘Math’. However, regular Math? Everyone does it without even knowing it, so it’s time to stop being frightened of it!”

      We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Shonali.

      In order to boost your computational confidence, we tapped a few mathematically minded folks to help uncover 5 hidden ways PR pros are using math.

      1. Probability Theory & Classification

      To see these two principles in action, look at the intrinsic ranking methods used to identify priorities and hierarchies before, during, and after PR campaigns. Not every PR activity gets the same amount of attention or time dedicated to it. By weighting outputs, ranking outlets, and making explicit choices to use some words or messages more than others, you’re totally enacting the underlying principles of Probability Theory and Classification. Go you!


    5. 7 PRTech Solutions Every PR Pro Needs

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      Upgrade your PRWe’ve got a massive crush on everything PRTech, and why not? Nothing has changed our industry more than technological innovation. This evolution has ushered in an era where PR pros must commit to researching new platforms and learning new skills that allow us to communicate better and measure PR smarter.

      It can be a bit daunting to know where to start, so we’re taking the guesswork out of the equation and distilling down the ecosystem to bring you 7 PRTech solutions guaranteed to make your life easier and your work better.

      Each of these solutions maps to an important PR objective and implementing these solutions will move us all closer to a programmatic approach to PR.

      Let’s get after it, shall we?

      PR Objective: Increase Visual Storytelling

      PRTech Solution: Canva

      Canva does an incredible job empowering everyone to be creative. Touted as the world’s easiest design program, Canva democratizes one of the more elusive (and often expensive) aspects of PR.

      How to gauge success: Everyone agrees that visual content is a major media trend that will continue to have prominence. Aim to tell compelling narratives through infographics, ensure visual branding is consistent across all marketing collateral, and integrate more imagery into everything you push out.


    6. PR Search 2013 vs. 2014

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      Can you imagine a world without Search?

      Take a deep breath. Now think about all the things you search for in a day.

      Go on, do it.

      Now that you’ve thought about it, without Search…

      How would you know where to eat dinner in a new city? Or what your favorite celebrity is planning to name their baby. How would you appear “oh so smart” to a group of strangers talking about some random thing you’ve never heard of (until you clandestinely pull it up on Google)?

      In my case, I wouldn’t have the foggiest notion as to when any major holiday falls for the given year, except Christmas or Independence Day because they always fall on the same date.

      In addition to using Search as a simple way to manage my holiday calendar, I also use it to gain important insights into the lives and minds of men; as I often find myself (during extremely frustrating relationship moments) entering search queries that may or may not include the following phrases:

      • How do you know if he’s the one?
      • What does it mean when a guy tells you he likes your shoes?
      • What kind of a man listens to Taylor Swift?

      Let’s face it, without Search, we would all be a little lost. Figuratively and literally.

      Beyond just the functional aspects of Search, it also has the ability to provide us with useful “data” on what people find important for any given topic.

      Case in point: Last year, we posted this nifty little write up on the top 2013 Search terms for PR and what it tells us about the PR narrative. After doing a little perusing through 2014 data, Leta and I were pleased – no, giddy – to find some marked shifts. Below is what we dug up, and our takeaways in terms of what these shifts in “PR Search” mean for the industry.


      Key Takeaways:

      1. NOT ONE “PRESS RELEASE” MENTION in 2014’s list. Yesssssssssss. Perhaps we are finally figuring out that as a storytelling mechanism, press releases just aren’t where it’s at. Let us rejoice.

      2. Peeps are still having trouble defining PR. Well, that could be due to the fact that PR keeps owning different parts of the digital marketing puzzle. Maybe it’s not so much what PR is vs. why it’s important or where its value truly lies (e.g. people and relationships).

      3. Marketing and advertising mentioned in the same breath as PR. Whaddup convergence? God, I love it when we’re right. #trendspotter

      4. There was a nod to the shift of all things digital with #9, however this is also indicates a strong proclivity towards outsourcing. With more tools than ever (#PRTech), it might behoove companies to look inward first before seeking outside help.

      5. Next up: Getting PR measurement, PRTech, and PESO to appear on 2015’s list.

      Our Conclusion:

      If search behavior is any indication of the trajectory of our industry, we are definitely on the right track. But there’s still plenty of room for growth. Let’s be mindful of how far we’ve come, but also continue to push forward when it comes to elevating the entire industry.

      It’s only when we all commit to inciting intelligent conversation, creating meaningful content, and sharing the wisdom and expertise acquired that all PR ships rise with the tide.

    7. #MeasurePR + PRTech = PR’s Bright Future


      Last Tuesday Rebekah co-hosted Shonali Burke’s first #measurePR Twitter chat of 2015 alongside Deirdre Breakenridge.

      The topic? Why, PRTech of course.

      Considering these are 3 of the smartest (not to mention loveliest) ladies to ever utter the letters PR, it’ll come as no surprise that the rousing chat was chock full of wisdom and key industry takeaways.

      Curious about what hot topics were discussed, what PR pros should be paying attention to, and why PRTech is proving to a defining force in 2015?

      Of course you are.

      Below is a taste of the juicy chat tidbits as well as a few takeaways guaranteed to take your work to the next level.

      Let’s get after it…

      PR bright futureOn the importance of measuring PR:

      • “Understanding [PR] performance let’s you enhance, iterate.” – Julie Diaz-Asper
      • “If we want a seat at the ‘grown ups table’ we have to earn it via metrics.” – David Rockland
      • “We cannot say ‘PR drives bottom line’ and not embrace measurement. Either we’re integral or peripheral to business.” – John Friedman

      In case it wasn’t clear from the astute observations above, PR measurement is a non negotiable. Proper measurement helps us optimize and improve, while clearly demonstrating the value PR. In regards to PR measurement, let’s make a pact here and now: We vow to be practical, produce great work, and measure our asses off. How about you?


    8. 7 years of Intelligibility

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      Happy between week: the most highly anticipated time of year for yours truly. I’m not sure if it’s the lull in work tasks post Chrismukkah, or the anticipation for “starting anew”…but whatever the case, I love this particular time of the year.

      I have jumped – no, leaped (more graceful if you are attempting to visualize) – to the assumption that, like me, you will spend an ample amount of time this week reading, organizing your Netflix queue, business planning for the New Year, and setting goals for how you are basically going to killit in 2015.

      Oh, and obviously you are allocating a wee bit of time for “sale shopping,” because that is the economical thing to do.

      If you’re not doing any of the above, and rather, you are sitting around lazily on the couch eating holiday leftovers, I commend you. You’re my hero. And please keep reading on because, despite your general lack of motivation at present, I believe you can still process the information.

      This between week, I have momentarily set aside my PR hat and dug deep into the recesses of my Philosophy-degree trained brain, which I knew it would come in handy eventually. I would like to pose a theory about the next seven years (it takes balls to make long term predictions, high probability of being really really “off”) – mostly in terms of business and how it may affect us as communicators of digestible information rooted in data.

      The initial philosophizing began a couple of weeks ago when I read a few particularly poignant excerpts from my current obsession: Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. German Rhodes Scholar and economic advisor to a handful of governments, E.F. Schumacher, wrote the book and the original version was first published in 1973.

      How’s that for evergreen? I highly recommend it.

      Excerpt #1 (page 89):

      When people ask for education they normally mean something more than mere training, something more than mere knowledge of facts, and something more than a mere diversion. Maybe they cannot themselves formulate precisely what they are looking for; but I think what they are really looking for is ideas that would make the world, and their own lives, intelligible to them.

      When a thing is intelligible you have a sense of participation; when a thing is unintelligible you have a sense of estrangement. “Well, I don’t know,” you hear people say, as an impotent protest against the unintelligibility of the world as they meet it. If the mind cannot bring to the world a set – or, shall we say, a tool-box – of powerful ideas, the world must appear to it as chaos, a mass of unrelated phenomena, of meaningless events. Such a man is like a person in a strange land without any signs of civilization, without maps or signposts or indicators of any kind. Nothing has any meaning to him; nothing can hold his vital interest; he has no means of making anything intelligible to himself.


    9. 5 PRedictions for 2015

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      With 2014 quickly rolling to a close, it’s about that time for everyone and their mother to bust out their crystal ball and make industry predictions for the coming year.

      Not one to buck the trend, we’re (#obviously) going to offer up our own take on what’s coming down the pipeline. However, much of the surmising we’re about to embark on stems from things we’ve been reading, content we’ve been writing, and conversations we’ve been having over the past 12 months.

      Many of these PRedictions have already begun to take root, which is great news for all of us. What jazzes us most is seeing these defining forces grow, blossom, and most importantly, spread so be sure to pass along the knowledge.

      Without further ado, we bring you our 5 PR prognostications for 2015:

      2015 PR predictions1. PESO model becomes the norm, not the exception

      Gone are the days when a hit in the newspaper was enough to satisfy clients and drive real business results. With more digital tools than ever at our fingertips, fully integrated programs are now going to be more than expected, they will be demanded.

      When PR gets stuck in “media relations only” mode, so many important opportunities get missed. When all the media forces combine —paid, earned, shared, and owned—what starts as one story can inevitably become a compelling campaign that reaches customers in a meaningful and targeted way.

      2. PRTech cements its status as the next frontier in digital marketing

      The PRTech ecosystem is just beginning to reveal itself, but there is no doubt that the individuals and company that make up this space are the one fueling the evolution of the PR industry.

      As PR makes a move to embrace a more programmatic, data-focused approach to optimization and outcomes, it has become imperative for professionals to understand the players in the space and the conversations taking place. PRTech will lead this charge and provide the industry with a much-needed roadmap to understanding all the changes taking place.

      3. Marketing and PR become BFFs

      How PR works in tandem with all other departments (marketing, advertising, etc.) will define success across the board moving forward. The lines are blurring between social, content, media buying, and analytics, so it is imperative that PR reach out to its business counterparts to align all efforts while streamlining work.

      PR will continue to push out stories and messaging that positions their companies in a positive light, but more than that, PR now has the opportunity to directly inform marketing and advertising in terms of what customers are saying, doing, and thinking about products, services, and beyond.

      4. Social business increases its emphasis on people and relationships

      The challenges and opportunities of social media’s evolution within organizations will continue to evolve, but in 2015 we will see brands value the cultivation of relationships over the perceived volume of their social “megaphone”.

      While creating a social strategy to align with business objectives is important, what’s more important is to remember that people are at the center of the data available on social. Though social business offers a vast array of tech to tap for customer insights and feedback, it’s still about relationships at the end of the day. And let’s face it; relationships are what PR does best.

      5. Value driven metrics take a firmer hold

      FINALLY the PR industry will let go of metrics that don’t measure up (i.e. AVEs) in lieu of concrete data that truly proves ROI. Analytics will be embraced as the missing link that provides insights into what’s working, how to test, and where to optimize in future campaigns and content.

      A widespread embrace of PR measurement will help show the entire business community PR is an investment, and not an expense. In other words: PR will shift from a cost center to a profit center.

      All in all, the future of PR has never looked brighter however it still of the utmost importance that we all continue to demand excellence while embracing these shifts. The heart of PR is people, so let’s make the coming year the most forward-thinking, data-driven, creative-minded year yet.

      Here’s to a PRosperous 2015!