The best free Content and PR resources available online
These days, PR pros often find that our inboxes are overwhelmed with fancy, expensive tools designed to make our lives easier. Some of them are great, some of them less so, but for many of us 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 some of the top free PR resources we recommend – and we want to hear about your favourites too in the comments.
Finding opportunities to promote your brand
1. HARO: Sign up to Help A Reporter Out to receive daily emails detailing journalist requests for sources, organised by sector/industry. When you come across an opportunity for a brand you represent, you send an answer attributed to one of your spokespeople and you can get cited as an expert source and sometimes get a link back that will boost your SEO too.
2. #journorequest: Along similar lines, you can search the hashtag #journorequest on Twitter to find opportunities
Naturally, organic social media buzz is vital to any campaign. These tools are hugely useful in creating and monitoring your campaigns.
3. Hootsuite: Scheduling your social media posts is a huge time saver. Sites like Twitter can take a lot of maintain, especially if you’re handling more than one account. It’s much easier to sit down for an hour once every week or two than to maintain a high level of engagement day to day. Having said that, it is best to log in and issue some replies and retweets on a daily basis, so your account doesn’t look like a bot!
4. BuzzSumo: This is a great tool for monitoring social shares of your content and backlinks referring traffic to your site. The best free features are quite limited but there’s a 14-day free trial that is well worth taking up if you need to generate some stats for a report.
Royalty free photo sites
In an increasingly visual online world, an eye-catching image can make all the difference to your next campaign. Unfortunately, we don’t always have budget to hire a professional photographer to create bespoke visuals. Luckily for us, many photographers make their images available royalty-free. You can find a huge variety at the sites below.
5. Pixabay: This is a great site to get generic, professional quality photos for blog posts and articles.
6. Unsplash: If you’re something a little quirkier or more artsy than the choices on Pixabay, check out Unsplash. It’s great for lifestyle shots, urban culture, travel, beauty, shopping and features.
7. Flickr: Popular with amateur photographers, many Flickr photographers make their work available for free. Make sure to check if the photographer allows modification or requires attribution.
Infographics are the perfect way to present a lot of information in a way that’s easy for the reader to understand. Done right, they add colour and context, and can be used to break up blocks of text.
8. Easel: Choose from a huge range of pre-made infographics to edit, or start fresh and create your own using their text, shapes and characters. The free version works well, but if you love if and want more you can go pro for $3/month.
9. Hubspot: The inbound marketing experts over at Hubspot offer 15 awesome, versatile infographic templates completely free.
All things Google
Google offers a ton of exceptional tools for PR pros, but these are two of the most useful. I’ve taken it for granted that you all use Google News and Gmail anyway!
10. Google Analytics: Find out how many people are visiting your site (or your client’s), how long they spend on each page, which social media sites refer the best quality traffic, and track leads. Understanding the data can help you plan better campaigns.
11. Google Alerts: Lots of people pay reasonably large amounts for media monitoring services, but Google does a pretty good job of delivering mentions straight into your inbox absolutely free.
So, those are my top 11 free PR resources – some of them may seem a little obvious but I hope you learned about one or two new ones from this post. I’m sure there are some awesome ones that I’ve missed too. What do you use?
Leave me a comment and let me know!
Katie Harrington is a Communications and Content Strategist based in Dublin, Ireland. Her book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November 2016. Katie has worked with global brands including EY (Ernst & Young) Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat. Follow her on LinkedIn or follow her on Facebook for more articles.