PR Tools That Don’t Rhyme with Focus or Vision

I’ve used products from VocusCisionBurrellesLucePRNewswireBusinessWire, and Marketwire in the past, and they’ve all helped me get my work done faster and deliver stronger results for clients. There is also a wide range of free products out there (HARO comes to mind) that deliver tremendous value to PR pros. Despite the popularity of HARO, I still regularly come across PR pros who’ve never heard of it. This got me thinking… what other PR tools are out there that people have never heard of?

Here are some alternatives I uncovered; let me know if you have any additions to the list:

Media Relations

  • MediaSync: mBLAST just launched a FREE media list service called MediaSync. While its price is reasonable enough to try it out, MediaSync has some great search features that enable you to determine who your influencers are in a particular market and find outlets and contacts that reach them. MediaSync has a database of more than 500,000 media contacts and 9 million articles and blogs. You can search for contacts or opportunities (including editorial calendars) using a simple search box.
  • MatchPoint – here’s another start-up trying to approach media targeting in a smart way. MatchPoint lets you paste your pitch into a search box and find journalists who write about what you’re pitching. It’s intended to reduce PR spam and improve targeting accuracy. It’s a great concept and I look forward to seeing this one improve.
  • PressWiki: another FREE directory of media contacts and outlets. PressWiki is designed as a wiki, so everyone shares responsibility for the quality of the information in the database. While it’s not as developed as MediaSync, it’s a great alternative for those with no budget for a media database.
  • MediaOnTwitter: MediaOnTwitter is a wiki of media contacts who use Twitter. It’s been around for a while and is a pretty comprehensive list. There are similar lists like MuckRack and JournalistTweets (by Cision) that are great for finding journalists on Twitter.
  • HARO – everyone reading this should know about HARO (Help A Reporter Out), but every time I do a list like this, somebody comments with a HARO suggestion. HARO is a FREE service (recently purchased by Vocus) that emails you three times each weekday with information on journalists looking for sources to interview. If you have a source that fits, you reply with the appropriate information. It’s one of the easiest ways to get press. PRNewswire has had a similar service for years called ProfNet, but it’s not free.
  • ExpertTweet: Journalistics built ExpertTweet about a year ago. We did it for fun and it’s free. We are about to make some new changes to it that will make it even better, but it works now. Want some additional resources for a story you’re working on? Tweet your request through ExpertTweet. The message goes to ExpertTweet’s followers, so you reach a whole new audience with your request (granted, only about 3,000 people right now – but it’s growing). The more you use it, the better it will get. It’s a similar concept to HARO, but limited to Twitter – it works best for journalists looking for sources for immediate contact.
  • NewsCertified Exchange: NewsCertified Exchange (NCE) provides journalists with a searchable database of experts who have been ‘certified’ as interview-ready. Founded by a bunch of former journalists (and supported by a pretty impressive advisory board), NewsCertified is the most impressive pro-journalist offering out there. For a fee, experts can be added to NewsCertified’s database (though you have to meet the editorial board’s requirements). This service is ideal for experts looking to build a national (or international) personal brand.
  • Journalistics: It will be called something different, and we’ll eventually charge for some features, but the first version of our expert search engine is live. If you’re an expert, add yourself for free. We’ll be promoting to journalists in a few months, so hopefully, you’ll score some interviews out of it. We really think there’s a lot of opportunity for an expert search engine (a ‘source’ search engine if you will), that helps journalists find great sources on-the-fly. While we’re planning to charge for things down the road, the first 1,000 users will get at least one year free (hint, hint).
  • PitchEngine: social media releases (SMR) help you package, distribute, manage and track your news across social media. If there’s one standout in the SMR sector, it’s PitchEngine. If you have content you want to share across social media, you may want to try PitchEngine for your next release.
  • Press Kit: in the social media newsroom category, Press Kit stands out as a solution worth checking out. While I tend to think you can build you can build a great newsroom with a good design and development team, I realize everyone doesn’t have this kind of access. In this case, a service like Press Kit might be the ticket.

Speaking & Awards

It’s challenging to keep up with all the speaking and awards opportunities out there. I’ve found very few PR databases that include accurate awards and speaking opportunity information. If awards and speaking opportunity pursuit is a significant portion of your PR program, you might want to look into one of these solutions:

  • AwardSync – AwardsSync is a FREE database of awards opportunities. It’s one of the most comprehensive databases on awards I’ve found, which is good and bad – there’s a lot of information to sift through. A little tweaking of the search results and you’ll save hours of work using this product.
  • PRSourceCode – specific to tech and telecom industries, PRSourceCode has been one of my favorite products for a while. It’s a paid service, but well worth it if you have a bunch of clients you’re working for. You pay by the categories you want, and PRSourceCode’s research team sends you alerts on a daily basis (similar to how query services work). They also have a great editorial calendar product worth looking into.

I know there are a lot of other PR products and services out there that I probably missed. What should I add to this list?

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