With the endless number of digital PR tools & software available, it’s easy to get confused and even frustrated trying to figure out which tools are best for your PR needs—or if you even need them at all.
There is a long-standing joke in the PR industry that the most popular tool is Excel. It isn’t very funny. — Stephen Waddington
Fortunately, modern PR tech stacks are gaining traction as PR tools and solutions used by agencies and in-house teams become more advanced. Most PR professionals use at least one element of the stack, such as media monitoring tools, media list building solutions, or online newsroom software. There are still a lot of other options, though.
In this guide, you’ll find various categories of digital PR tools. In each category, you’ll find information on what those tools do, how your PR can benefit, and examples of tools.
Keep in mind that many of these categories and tools overlap with each other, which is why you might find the same tools mentioned multiple times.
Types of digital PR tools:
- All-in-one PR tools
- Media relations tools
- Media monitoring tools
- Media list building tools
- PR outreach tools
- Press release distribution software
- PR reporting tools
- Online newsroom software
- Media coverage tools
1. All-in-one PR tools
It’s worth starting our list with the all-in-one PR tools. These are tools that offer a wide range of features, such as media monitoring, media databases, press release distribution, or being able to create brand newsrooms.
These tools will tend to be the most expensive, due to the extensive functionality that they provide. However, the investment is almost always worth it – you have all the features you need in one place, saving potential headaches caused by having to juggle many tools at once.
Although there is no single digital PR tool that does absolutely everything, this category includes tools that are versatile and can be used in multiple ways.
Examples of all-in-one PR tools:
2. Tools for media relations
Media relations tools help you manage relationships with journalists and other members of the media. More often than not, they also contain a media database, allowing you to discover new reporters and start building and nurturing new relationships.
A typical feature of these tools is a PR CRM, allowing you to keep your contacts in one place and stay organized with labels, filtering options, and contact history. Many contact details are updated automatically, saving you time from doing it by yourself manually with a spreadsheet.
Examples of PR tools for media relations:
- Muck Rack
- Propel PRM
3. Media monitoring tools
Also known as PR listening tools, media monitoring software is often used to track news coverage and stay on top of online mentions of your brand. These tools can be also used to follow relevant media channels in your industry, allowing you to stay up-to-date.
A common feature of these tools is that they provide a live feed of mentions of keywords that you provide, such as your brand, competitors, or industry-related keywords.
Examples of media monitoring tools:
- Critical Mention
- Agility PR
4. Tools for media list building
Having a high-quality media list is crucial for anyone dealing with PR. Although you can find ready-made media lists online, they won’t be as effective as one that’s tailored to your needs. That’s precisely what media list building tools are for.
These tools will help you:
- find journalists and other media contacts
- find media outlets, blogs, and other publications
- find emails and contact details
A lot of tools that can be used for media list building are tools you already know: Linkedin and Google. Apart from being free, they’re an easy way to start.
More elaborate tools made for digital PR like Prowly or Muck Rack will also let you send media pitches and have everything in one place.
Examples of tools that can be used for media list building:
- Muck Rack
- Hunter.io (for finding email addresses in general)
5. Tools for PR outreach
Some PR practitioners prefer sending their pitches “manually” (via Gmail, for example). But, journalist outreach tools offer a lot more than just the ability to send email pitches.
There’s often a media database to find relevant reporters as well as advanced email pitching options to make your outreach more effective while saving a lot of time. Another useful feature is being able to see who opened your email and how well it performed, which makes the follow-up process a lot easier.
Examples of PR outreach tools include:
- Magic PR
6. Press release distribution software
As the name suggests, press release distribution services are simply PR tools that allow you to distribute press releases to a large audience, either automatically (through so-called newswires or just “wires”) or manually (via PR outreach tools, essentially).
Newswires work by sending press releases to subscribing news organizations, newspapers, media outlets (such as Associated Press, Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and Yahoo! Finance), and news sites (like Google News, Bing, or Yahoo). Many PR professionals are skeptical about automated press release distribution services and their effectiveness, though, which is why PR outreach tools are often preferred.
Examples of automated press release distribution services:
7. PR reporting software
If you work in a PR agency, chances are that your clients want to see the results of your work. Measuring your PR efforts might not be the easiest task, but it gets easier with a little help from PR reporting tools.
Such software usually helps you track your PR campaigns and create visual and “digestible” reports to showcase your work and impress your clients.
PR reporting tool examples:
8. Online newsroom software
These days, the majority of businesses simply need an online newsroom to control the narrative and establish a definitive, trustworthy source of company news for the media.
Online newsroom software makes it much easier to create a go-to place for all journalists, influencers, and everyone else who wants to see what your business has been up to (without involving your IT team in the process).
Examples of online newsroom software:
9. Media coverage tools
If you’re looking for media coverage opportunities, such platforms are ideal to start with. Basically, they help you connect with journalists and other media contacts who are looking for expert sources for their stories. Once you find a suitable PR opportunity, you can pitch your insights and, hopefully, get the media coverage that you’re after.
Examples of media coverage services:
- Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
When you think about it, there’s no single best digital PR tool on the market – every PR team is unique and might find different PR tools better. To make the right choice, think of the features you really need from your PR software and give at least a few solutions a try before you create your own PR tech stack.
Once you’re at it, you might want to see what Prowly has to offer. It’s completely free to try for 7 days – no strings attached.