11 free PR resources every campaign needs

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The best free 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

Social media

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.

Creating infographics

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!

public-relations-katie-harringtonKatie Harrington is a Public Relations professional based in Galway, Ireland. Her book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November 2016. Katie has worked with global brands including Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

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Comment (16)

  • Kay Paumier| January 31, 2017

    Thanks for this list. Using some of these, but others were new to me. Appreciate the heads-up.

  • Luiza Jurgiel-Żyła| February 3, 2017

    Thank you for sharing, I would add tools to share files with journalists like dropbox or wetransfer – very useful when you don’t want to send heavy e-mails.

  • Lynda Holder| February 6, 2017

    Thank you for so clearly detailing these resources. I was already using some of them but also learnt something new

  • Aoife O'Sullivan| March 26, 2017

    Generous and insightful, cheers for sharing.

  • Esakkimuthu| April 1, 2017

    All I can say WOW… Appreciate your work..

  • Michelle Hetlage| April 3, 2017

    Canva is also a great tool for creating infographics and images for social media. I believe they have a free account.

  • Paul Drabble| April 4, 2017

    Sorry but NOT royalty free photo sites. What happens when you and a competitor use the same royalty free image?
    Royalty Free is non exclusive and that way there be dragons!

    • Wilde Words| April 5, 2017

      If you’ve got budget to pay for exclusive photos, that’s awesome. If not, royalty-free photo sites are the way to go!

  • Lisa (BadMammy.com)| April 10, 2017

    Ooh, this is a fantastic resource, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Grace| April 11, 2017

    This is so helpful! Thanks.

  • 11 free tools to pump up your PR efforts | SoBiz| August 18, 2017

    […] Katie Harrington is a PR pro, blogger and author of “Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art.” A version of this article originally appeared on her blog. […]

  • Stephanie Payne| August 25, 2017

    Thank you for the info! I actually use mention.com for monitoring certain “mentions” or brands on social media and anywhere online. The free version is limited, but it’s proven to be helpful in catching a few things I might of missed!

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