It’s the end of the summer and fall marks the busy season for professionals, as well as PR educators and students who are back in school. Gearing up for a productive fall means having the most efficient tools in your PR and communications toolbox. There are SO many tools that I’ve “Tech Tested” in 2014. Here are nine resources (both free and paid tools) I’ve discovered that have the power to enhance your communications program in a variety of ways.
1. SumAll: Earlier in the year, I wanted to find a tool that gave me a comprehensive view of my social media data. At the time, I had heard about Tableau but wasn’t able to download the software to my MacBook Air. Then, a peer recommended SumAll, after a lengthy Facebook discussion.
Note: Since this discussion, I’ve come to learn that Tableau has a version for us Apple folks, if you want to check that out too.
SumAll allows you to look at your Twitter data over time and to look at data sets together for a more complete picture of your activity. The charts allow you to overlay your tweets, replies, retweets, mentions, reach, etc., so you can see how your actions result in a variety of interactions. SumAll is a free tool that shows you how conversations progress and you can make comparisons over time. Looking at the larger picture, allows your data to tell a story about how you are impacting your audience, or not getting enough of their attention. With clear peaks and valleys represented that highlight your ability to engage and spark enthusiasm, you can determine new ways to interest audiences at different times in your marketing programs.
2. TheSkimm: When it comes to the news, there is so much that we need to know on a daily basis. There are those industry publications that have thoughtful pieces that I love to read when I’m looking for deep coverage on a subject area. However, there are times that you need to simply skim the news to get the gist of what’s going on in the world, yet still have the option to dig in deeper to a story that affects your industry or a businesses you serve. TheSkimm is a brief newsletter, which allows you to do just that. You can skim news quickly in bite size, digestible pieces, explaining what’s going on, with an option to learn more. I read the theSkimm every morning and it has become a go-to daily resource. I’ve also recently received information on being a Skim’bassador, which is a great way to enjoy the theSkimm and get involved in their fun contests and giveaways and to become a part of a dynamic community. What’s also great is theSkimm appears in my inbox bright in early in the morning, so I can get a jumpstart on the days’ news.
3. Resonate (Disclosure: Client Platform). When you want to share your news with the media, bloggers and influencers, Marketwired’s Resonate platform, allows you to take advantage of a three step system: Distribute, Social Share and Publish. News distribution has advanced to include better targeting, social media intelligence, and deeper analytics. Through the Resonate platform you are able to make better decisions regarding your news content and leverage the impact of your business communications.
4. Digital Reach: Digital Reach by Cision is a new way for PR professionals to measure UVPM (Unique Visitors Per Month) or “reach,” which is the number of people who visit a site in a any given month. Many publishers are not obligated to share these numbers and it’s often difficult to find the information. However, Digital Reach sample data relies on sharing activities across social media communities (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+), which increasingly drives web users to the content they choose to view everyday. It’s important to note that UVPM doesn’t represent the number of shares, but the number of people estimated to have visited a site based on the number of shares.
5. Evernote (Audio Recordings): I’ve been an Evernote fan for a few years now, but I’ve only recently started to use the audio recording function for my notes. Being on the go means you can be anywhere and have an idea for a blog post or want to brainstorm on a topic. The ability to record a note and then synch it to all of your devices saves so much time and effort. Every week, I use Evernote for creating blog posts and interview responses; recording the articles and the answers to questions. My PR world became so much more efficient when I learned how to take advantage of Evernote’s audio recording capabilities.
6. Google Databoard: Everyone knows about Google Analytics, but not as many communications professionals know about Google Databoard. Google has a lot of research to share with you. When you use Google Databoard, you get the benefit of Google’s powerful insights. You can select research on a variety of topics, from understanding consumer behavior and mobile search to research on the new multi-screen world and YouTube insights. Once you identify a study and topics of interest, you can then take existing research and build your own infographics to showcase the information. Google Databoard lets you search, find and create visuals, highlighting important stats from studies, without you doing any of the heavy lifting (the actual research).
7. Canva: When social media became a part of the communicator’s world, so did design. Many of the programs you work on today require images, because you know that a picture is worth a thousand words and visual storytelling is powerful. Canva is a great resource for those who really don’t know anything about design, but want the ability to create on a blank canvas. The platform gives you the ability to build graphic presentations, posters and blog visuals, to name a few. You can even customize the dimensions of your graphics. Canva lets you experiment and be much more visual in your communications.
8. Tiny Pitch: Tiny Pitch is the latest in news release development, launched by PitchEngine. It’s a new kind of press release (functional and concise) and “one of the simplest apps you’ll ever use.” With the Tiny Pitch app you’re able to create modern Web news releases on your desktop, or quickly create them in real-time via your smartphone. The app is free, with no lengthy set up or password needed. Tiny Pitch is meant to not only simplify the news release, but also create an experience that’s crisp, clean and has more impact.
9. YellowDig (For Classroom Collaboration): For all of my educator friends, here’s a great tool. I discovered. Yellowdig is an internal collaboration tool. It’s free for educators who want to bring the resource into their college classrooms. I’ll be sharing YellowDig with my #NYUPRSM students. We have an entire class dedicated to internal sharing resources because it’s so important that good communication begins internally with idea sharing and collaboration. YellowDig let’s you pin ideas and articles to boards so that you can share interesting information with your students or classmates. Collaboration is the first step to getting on the same page and rallying around ideas that can take your class and project work to the next level.
Don’t stop here. I hope you will continue to Tech Test beyond what I’ve discovered to find more tools and resources to advance your communications toolbox. When you do please tweet or come back and share with us 🙂