What I Learned From Building a PR Agency: The Top 6 Tools All Creatives Need in Their PR Kit

Whether you're just starting out or looking to take your PR skills to the next level, here are six invaluable PR tools for growing your business.

Tools for PR
Portrait for Chris NortonBy Chris Norton  |  Posted April 7, 2023

I have always been fascinated by the PR world and its power to shape public perception and drive business success. Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of building my PR agency from the ground up, learning firsthand what it takes to succeed in this dynamic and constantly evolving field.

Along the way, I’ve discovered many popular tools and assets essential for any creative looking to make their mark in PR. In this article, I’ll share my learnings, experience, and top public relations tools all creatives should have in their PR kit.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your PR skills to the next level, these tools will be invaluable in helping your business succeed and grow. Let’s get started!

1. Muck Rack

Muck Rack dashboard

As a PR professional, you must understand the importance of keeping track of journalist contacts and their interests – this is where Muck Rack comes in. The tool offers a comprehensive database of journalists, editors, and bloggers from various outlets, making it easier to identify target journalists and connect with them effectively.

Muck Rack also allows you to search and filter through its contact database based on specific keywords and topics, helping you quickly identify journalists interested in your client’s expertise.

This feature helps you target your outreach efforts more effectively and increase the chances of getting a response. Additionally, Muck Rack’s “Journalist Request” feature makes it easy to connect with journalists. You can send personalized email pitches, press releases, and other PR materials, which you can monitor and track, as shown below.

Muck Rack outreach feature

Another feature I love about Muck Rack is the ability to monitor journalists’ social media activity and get real-time updates on their latest stories and articles. This tracking tool helps you stay on top of what journalists write about, find opportunities to contribute to their articles, and engage in meaningful conversations.

Muck Rack social media activity

Overall, Muck Rack is a valuable tool for any PR professional looking to build relationships with journalists and get their clients’ stories in front of the right people. So whether you’re a retail PR agency or crisis communication PR, I highly recommend adding Muck Rack to your PR kit.

2. Cision

Cision engagement

As a PR agency owner, I appreciate the value of comprehensive PR tools like Cision. It’s an excellent tool for managing media relationships, content creation and distribution, and analyzing the impact of my PR efforts.

One of Cisions’s standout features is its media database management, offering a comprehensive database of journalists, editors, and bloggers from various outlets. It makes it easy to identify journalists in your target market and connect with them effectively, helping you streamline your PR efforts and focus on the relationships that matter most.

Another feature I love about Cision is its ability to monitor and analyze media coverage. With Cision, you can track when someone mentions your clients in the media and measure your PR efforts’ impact, helping refine your PR strategy and achieve better results.

Cision online monitoring

In addition to these core features, Cision offers a range of content creation and distribution options through its PR Newswire. 

Whether crafting a press release, creating a social media campaign, or distributing content to journalists, Cision provides the tools you need to do the job.

3. Prowly

Prowly personalization

Prowly is another excellent tool for PR creatives. One of the tool’s key features is the custom email tool, which helps PR creatives personalize their outreach and make a lasting impression on their target audience. 

You can, for instance, use this personalized email tool to send emails from personal email addresses to build and nurture stronger connections with media contacts and journalists with a personal touch. 

The other Prowly feature is automated media monitoring. With this feature, you can set up automated alerts to get notified whenever your clients are mentioned in a news story or other media, as shown below. As a result, you stay on top of media coverage and respond quickly to opportunities or challenges.

automated media monitoring

Besides that, Prowly also offers a range of built-in analytics tools, including a comprehensive dashboard, detailed reports, and custom metrics. You can use these metrics to track the success of your PR campaigns in real-time and make data-driven decisions that help you improve your PR strategies. 

If you’re looking for a comprehensive PR platform to streamline your media relationships and get your clients’ stories in front of the right people, Prowly is one of the best tools to go for.

4. Envato Elements

Envato Elements platform

As a PR professional, I understand the importance of having access to a wide range of high-quality visual assets that can help bring my clients’ stories to life. I highly recommend Envato Elements as a must-have tool in your PR kit.

One of the key features is Envato’s vast collection of assets. The platform offers a wide range of visual assets, including templates, graphics, photos, and more, making it easy to find the perfect asset to support your PR campaigns. In addition, the library of assets is constantly updated, ensuring that PR professionals always have access to fresh, relevant content to support their PR campaigns.

Besides that, the collection is versatile, meaning you can use them for various PR campaigns and marketing initiatives. So whether you need a high-quality graphic for a press release or a custom template you can use to create a digital business card, Envato Elements has you covered.

You also have unlimited downloads, which means you can download as many assets as you need, whenever you need them, without worrying about usage limits. This feature makes Elements a cost-effective solution for PR professionals who need to create high-quality visuals for multiple campaigns and clients.

Another feature I love about it, besides its assets collection, is its user-friendly interface. With Envato Elements, you can easily browse and search for the assets you need, and the platform’s intuitive interface makes it easy to use. 

For instance, you can browse the entire library for free, see if the platform has the templates you want, and sign up when ready to download. The ease of use saves you time and lets you focus on what matters most: creating high-quality PR materials that help your clients’ PR campaigns stand out.

Finally, Envato Elements provides great expert support to help PR professionals get the most out of the platform and achieve their PR goals.

5. Newswire

newswire media database

Accessing a reliable and efficient distribution platform for press releases is a significant success factor for any PR agency or professional – which is why I highly recommend Newswire as a top PR tool to distribute PR material.

One of my favorite features is its real-time media monitoring. With Newswire, you can monitor the success of press releases in real-time and see how many journalists and media outlets are engaging with your content. You also set real-time alerts, as shown below.

real time media monitoring

Another unique feature is its extensive media database. With Newswire, you can access a vast network of journalists, media outlets, and influencers, making reaching the right people with your press releases easy.

The platform’s targeted distribution options allow you to reach the exact people you target, and the media database is constantly updated to ensure access to the most relevant contacts.

The other feature I love is its detailed reporting, as illustrated below. With Newswire, you can track the success of your press releases in real-time and access detailed reports that help you measure the impact of your PR efforts.

press release performance

The platform’s reporting tools provide insights into how media outlets engage with your content, like how many journalists read your press releases. This information allows you to make data-driven decisions that improve your results. You can also integrate the platform with your social media and Google Analytics for more detailed analytics and insights.

6. Meltwater

Meltwater media monitoring

PR professionals must stay ahead of the curve and be able to respond to changes in the media landscape quickly. That’s why you should consider Meltwater a must-have PR tool.

First, Meltwater has an advanced media monitoring feature, shown below, that allows PR professionals to track mentions of their brands and competitors in real-time on different online platforms. This data enables them to respond quickly to changes in the media landscape and adjust their PR strategies accordingly to ensure successful campaigns.

The tools also offer insightful analytics and metrics that help you understand your PR campaign’s impact. For example, you can track media exposure, reach, engagement, and sentiment metrics to ensure you make data-backed decisions about your PR strategies.

analytics and media exposure

Another great Meltwater feature is its integration with major social media platforms, which allows you to track and analyze social media conversations and mentions in real-time. This tool helps you stay ahead of the curve and respond quickly to any positive or negative changes in the social media landscape, which is why we have used it at my PR agency Prohibition for years.

You also get customizable email alerts with Meltwater for specific keywords, topics, or mentions, helping you stay informed about significant developments in your industry and respond quickly to potential crises.

media alerts

Finally, Meltwater’s user-friendly dashboard provides a clear and concise overview of all the data and analytics, making it easy for PR professionals to quickly understand and respond to changes in the media landscape.

To Wrap Up

As a former lecturer and PR professional, I have learned that having access to the right PR tools can make all the difference in the success of a PR campaign. Access to platforms like Muck Rack, Cision, Prowly, Newswire, Meltwater, and Envato Elements is as essential to your PR firm’s success as a strong PR team and strategy or an understanding of the media landscape is.

So start investing in these PR tools and platforms today to enhance your PR efforts and achieve your PR goals significantly. All the best!

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