20+ free PR tools and resources
Written by Ana Grasic
05 May 2017
Marketing and public relations are one of the crucial elements to get exposure for your startup. Early-stage startups are usually on a tight budget, with just a couple of employees focusing on the product itself and when it comes to PR - they often have no clue where to start.
On top of that, there are more than 500,000 new businesses almost every month that will spice up your fight against competition.
However, thanks to advanced technology and the “mighty” Internet there are many ways you can rock your startup PR even on a very tight budget! Don’t worry if you are a one-man startup entrepreneur - as long as you have the right knowledge and resources, accompanied by a lot of enthusiasm, you can easily compete with the “big dogs” in the startup world.
If you still haven’t - make sure you have everything prepared for your startup’s online presence! Brainstorm your target audience and how you would like to show off to them online, craft a website and start making the buzz around it. In order to maintain a professional appearance even on a tight budget, you can use a website builder to get online and keep reading this list of 20 free PR tools and resources that will help you to get exposure for your startup!
#1 Start with a proper guide - PR for startups
Every beginning is hard, however, with a proper guide things can be much easier, right? Luckily, as mentioned above, the Internet has so much to offer and many good stuff are completely free.
If you go through PR for startups guide to getting press coverage, you’ll certainly have everything you need to start spreading the word about your awesome work! The guide will be your personal mentor from setting clear and effective PR goals to creating press releases and drafting a perfect email template. PR for startups is basically public relations for dummies that will make you a pro!
#2 “Help a reporter out” and get noticed - H.A.R.O.
Like the website’s name itself says, by helping a reporter with insights regarding your industry you can get a lot of media exposure and backlinks that will be helpful with your SEO journey completely for free. How? Very easy!
Scroll through the topics on H.A.R.O. and try to find a discussion that is relevant to your expertise, click and follow further instructions. Just like that! Well, you must make sure that your answer is catchy enough for the journalists so put a lot of effort when writing your comment. If you get noticed, not only can you get your name and business listed in an article, but a good backlink always comes in handy! A perfect place to boost your overall brand awareness and do online PR.
#3 Create highly engaging press releases - Duct Tape Marketing Instant Press Release
You don’t have to worry if you are not a professional writer or if you don’t have any journalist’s experience, your press release can still rock! You just need to have the right approach and Duct Tape Marketing Instant Press Release. It is basically a press release creator that will help you write everything that you need for a release that will instantly grab the reader’s attention.
After you draft your first pitch, make a couple of versions so you can try several and focus on the one that performed the best.
#4 A real citizen newspaper - Broowaha
Broowaha is a so called “your citizen newspaper” that provides you with news written by “real people” and not professional journalists. The idea behind this news website is to avoid trivialized and monetized articles and to focus on ones that are written by freelance writers, reporters and authors. However, Broowaha is an excellent place to expand your startup content marketing and submit press releases.
You should certainly take advantage of this community since it has over 70,000 monthly visits. Create a profile and focus on your writing. Make your article provocative, interesting and value packed. Submit it to the editor for review and you’ll get rewarded with a story and a backlink!
#5 Promote your business with a good article - Articlecube
Articlecube is at a first glance a “guest posting heaven” website. They cover many sections: business, tech, home, health and much more. However, the Articlecube editors are very strict about who can post what, so if your post does get approved you will reap the benefits.
Keep in mind that your article shouldn’t be a typical press release, although you can write an informative article where you can mention your business. Create a profile and start writing!
#6 A high powered PR software that drives results - Cision
Cision is a software application that will provide you with everything you need in order to run a successful campaign. This tool isn’t completely free, but a demo won’t cost you a penny! If you utilize it well, the demo will be enough to get connected with more than 1.5 million editors, influencers and journalists!
The features you shouldn’t miss trying out are:
- Tools for tracking performance and mentions
- Tools for monitoring social media
- Tools for daily news briefings etc.
Don’t forget to analyze your story impact because that’s how you’ll know how to improve your future campaigns and drive success to you business!
#7 Get connected with journalists and bloggers - SourceBottle
SouceBottle is another PR niche network where you can get easily connected with professional journalists and bloggers. Sign up for a free account as a source or a journalist and share your story. Like mentioned before, make sure that your news is worth sharing, interesting and catchy. Choose from a variety of 30 different topics and contribute to the one that you are an expert in.
One tip: use SourceBottle not only to get your story covered, but to try establishing different partnerships as well. If you are the one seeking information, you can get connected with many very good niche sources that your business could partner with. Be creative and open to all type of opportunities - SourceBottle is a perfect community for establishing them.
#8 Make coverage reports faster - Coveragebook
Reporting can really be a very complex process, however you can sign up for a Coveragebook free trial instead! Yup, this tool will create high quality reports for you. Since it is done within minutes it will make the overall time consuming reporting way faster (and easier).
How you are going to use the reports you get is up to you: from providing your team and potential clients with insights about your company, to sharing them with journalists as a part of your startup PR strategy.
Good reports should be based on metrics and ones made with Coveragebook will have all data needed from Moz and Similarweb. Make use of the opportunity to store all of your coverage in one place - those information gathered in one place will surely help you to get a better idea how to improve your (PR)writing skills.
#9 Hey, who’s talking about you? - Mention
Mention is a great tool that helps you to scour the web and social media to check who is talking about your brand or name. Moreover, you can get insight about where your competitors are mentioned, how they are doing their PR etc.
If you sign up for a Mention free trial you will be well informed about your name’s mentions which will give you a chance to jump into conversations and get connected with influencers. Gather them all in a list so you’ll always know who to reach out if needed. In addition, you can track and analyze mentions ( by time, location, source type etc.).
#10 Get alerted and stay informed - Google Alerts
People often underestimate free tools and especially the ones developed by Google. However, Google Alerts is certainly a tool not to miss, since it will make sure you get notified every time someone mentions your name, your business, top keyword in your niche or if your competitor’s name appears in Google search results.
Google Alerts will provide you with just top notch results and it is up to you to utilize them in the best way. For example, you can get ideas of how and where your competitors are mentioned, what influencers or bloggers are the best for your niche etc.
#11 Find relevant media relation contacts - Anewstip
Every marketer or PR manager will surely agree that finding relevant contacts is one of the hardest parts in PR. That’s where Anewstip comes in handy!
Even with a free plan you can search for journalists and bloggers and get relevant contact information within seconds. Anewstip digs deep through more than a billion tweets, finds contact information in millions of articles in order to serve you with the best results available.
Nevertheless, this is one of the simplest tools to use: just type the keyword you would like to get information about and let Anewstip do the magic!
#12 Understand questions that people ask - Answer the Public
It is common that when you start typing a question into a search engine, before you see any results you get recommendations that are triggered by the most popular data people are searching for. These recommendations are sources that Answer the Public uses to help you to guess the most common questions people are asking regarding the keyword you typed.
Answer the Public is a PR tool very easy to use: just type in a keyword and get insights about the most searched questions related to it. Afterwards, you can filter them by country, type, popularity etc. Use these results to create a perfect PR article that will grab the reader’s attention.
#13 Cut through the clutter of the social media - Mashfeed
With this completely free tool you can easily find popular social media feeds worth following. Mashfeed makes suggestions for you based on your favorite topics. In that way you can track all of your campaigns across social media in just one place!
In addition to this, if you create collections of your favorite hashtags you will never miss a post related to them.
#14 Score your overall headline quality - The Headline Analyzer
This free PR tool will come in handy to write a catchy headline and grab reader’s attention within seconds! The Headline Analyzer will give you a score of the quality of your headline based on the chance to get shared on social media and increase your traffic.
Another The Headline Analyzer feature can be very useful - you can preview how your headline looks in an email before sending it out (a great hack for your email marketing as well).
#15 Take control of the presentation of your pitch - Pitchengine
Pitchengine is a free (with ads) tool that allows you to upload your images and videos, to choose a style that goes best with your content and brand. Even without any design skills, you can craft a beautiful pitch to present your brand in the best possible way.
After finalizing and optimizing your pitch you can embed it on your website (or blog) and share it around! Track the results and find out how people are reacting to your pitch.
#16 Hunt down those emails - Email Hunter
Even though it hasn’t been created especially for PR purposes, Email Hunter became one of the most popular PR tools. This neat tool will find email addresses from all across the web by checking a company’s website domain. It may not always provide you with the exact email you were searching for, but since it is free, why don’t give it a try!
Now that you have a mailing list, you need to filter out all invalid emails. This step is optional, but your goal is to increase the open rate, so you should consider purging your list and getting rid of all incorrect contacts. The easiest way to do that is to utilize NeverBounce. This tool will check all the emails on your list and let you know which ones are valid.
#17 Now verify them- QuickEmailVerification
Surely you've gone through the process of hunting down those emails, spending some precious time and ending up with invalid or non-working ones. Well, here's the web-based email list cleaning service that's so super it will let you verify email addresses in bulk. The great thing about this tool is that it not only detects invalid emails but also provides one with a complete detailed report.
From email address syntax checking and domain/MX records checking to typo detection and suggestion, get your hands on this tool.
#18 Fix those grammar errors - Hemingway App
Hemingway App isn’t a “typical PR tool”, however, journalists love it! That is no surprise because this tool does not only fix all your grammar errors, but improves the overall readability of your stories and outreach emails.
The app will make sure you pay attention to sentences that are too long, or too complex. Moreover, it will suggest some synonyms or more descriptive expressions.
#19 Are you using “no-no” PR words?- 100 PR Buzzwords
This post might seem very outdated at a first glance, but it is still very relevant when it comes to so called “buzzwords” that you certainly shouldn’t use in your press releases. Bookmark this list just in case!
We gathered a list of useful (..and free) PR tools to help you with almost every aspect of promoting your startup. Hopefully our advice will help you make some noise about your great work!
#20 Find and pitch journalists on your own - Justreachout
Sign up for a free Justreachout account and find the right people to pitch. By searching keywords, competitors, niches or publications, you can discover relevant journalists and bloggers for your business. Don’t worry about missing anything - you’ll get an email notification when there is a new journalist who writes about your niche, industry or competitors.
Justreachout will help you search thousands of HelpAReporter, Twitter, ProfNet queries
from journalists who write articles every single day and need a source to quote in their story.
Moreover, one additional feature that always comes in handy is an email tracker that will help you see if and when your email was opened.
#21 Discover engaging content - BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo isn’t a completely free tool. However, there is a free trial you should definitely take full advantage of. This tool is designed to help you find content that is most likely to be shared. If you simply enter a topic or a keyword in the search bar, you will discover the most shared articles on the topic/keyword in question.
With Buzzsumo, you can analyze what type of content performs well and find influencers to promote it afterwards. Furthermore, you will find out how popular an influencer actually is by seeing his website domain authority, number of followers, etc.