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Seven free PR tools that can help you live a better life

The best free tools for people working in PR

No two days are ever the same in PR but that’s why we love it. From influencer engagement strategies to Twitter storms, news releases to event management, to survive in PR – especially in today’s agency environment –the ability to multi-task is essential.

With a growing list of responsibilities, efficient time management is crucial and if there’s one thing that frustrates us in the No Brainer office more than anything else, it’s when tasks that should be straightforward take an age to complete. Thankfully, there’s usually a solution in the form of a tool or a plug-in and because we’re an agency that likes to give, we’ve put together a list of our favourites for you.

Here’s our list of seven top tools to save PR pros from insanity:

1. Evernote

Plenty of free tools let you create notes and lists but Evernote has to be my favourite with its clean and fresh interface and a great app, which means all of my notes sync between my iPhone and my Mac.

PR inspiration can strike at any moment and with Evernote you can capture your best ideas wherever you are. I love the tick-box to-do list – there’s just something really satisfying about getting that list of actions written out and ticking them off one by one….

Bonus feature: An additional Chrome plug-in called Evernote Clipper (also free) allows you to cut out the things you love on the web and save them for later or share through your social channels. It’s also perfect for saving your best online coverage and sharing it with your client. No more boring URLs. See more Chrome plug-ins that will make your life easier here.

2. Hootsuite

A tried and tested tool that should be familiar to anyone in PR, this one is an absolute godsend if you manage multiple social media handles for your clients. The Hootsuite platform integrates with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram to name but a few and gives you the ability to schedule posts whenever you like. Think of the hours you’d waste manually logging in to individual accounts without it (for more than 3 social networks, you will need to upgrade to Hootsuite Pro).

Bonus feature: Sticking with the added plug-ins, Hootsuite has one called Hootlet, which lets you post online content to your social media channels at the click of a button. The instant post also gives you one of Hootsuite’s own shortened ow.ly links, which means you can measure the click through rates yourself and see what your followers like (and what they don’t).

3. MozBar

A very handy Chrome plug-in from Rand Fishkin and the team at Moz, the Mozbar makes SEO metrics visible, giving you an indication of domain authority and page authority, and showing social metrics for Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

As the worlds of PR and SEO continue to intertwine, this is a great tool for identifying high authority sites to build relationships with, whilst also giving you some useful metrics to show the success of your online coverage (we don’t believe in vanity metrics at No Brainer).

4. TweetDeck

TweetDeck is the best way to keep tabs on multiple Twitter handles and monitor mentions, likes, retweets, hashtags and engage with customers or influencers.

Yes, Hootsuite does give you much of the same functionality but the simplicity of TweetDeck means it’s still a firm favourite in our office. We also use Twitter to create lists of key influencers by sector and by adding those streams to TweetDeck, we’re able to identify hot or emerging topics at a glance – the perfect tool if you’re looking to stay ahead of the curve and find real-time newsjacking opportunities.

5. Page Analytics

Google Analytics offers a goldmine of useful data that can be used to develop PR strategies that are built on data-driven insights – something we’re big advocates of. But once you go down the rabbit hole, you can spend hours exploring and dreaming up new content ideas to improve those bounce rate and page view metrics.

Page Analytics is a great Chrome plug-in that makes it possible to see Google Analytics stats for all the sites you have access to as you navigate around them in your browser. No more split screens and (a few) less wasted hours.

6. Canva

My academic background is rooted in journalism so having used the likes of Quark Express and Adobe InDesign in the past, I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of a designer.

Now I’m nowhere near as good as the pros and I’d always advise using a professional where possible, but if you need something quick and cost-effective, sign yourself up to Canva. There are loads of free templates to use, it’s easy to grasp and you can create anything from a Facebook post to a presentation.

We all know that visual social media posts outperform basic text content and with Canva you can quickly overlay images and logos on to pictures for Twitter, Facebook or another channel. If you’re still relying on pure text posts, give this tool a go and get those engagement stats a boost.

7. OneTab

If you’re anything like me, you find it almost impossible to keep just a couple of Internet browser tabs open at any one time – I must open about 50 tabs a day!

I stumbled across the OneTab tool a few months back and it quickly allows me to condense all of my tabbed windows down into one window with clickable hyperlinks so I can reopen them when I need to. I quite often find that I didn’t need them open anyway, but as they say, a tidy desk is a tidy mind.

So there we have it, seven tools that should make your life better if you work in PR, social media or marketing.

There are plenty of other tools out there that could have made the list including the likes of Dropbox, Feedspot and Skype, so if you’ve got a suggestion, please let us know in the comments box below!

The kettle is always on in the No Brainer office so if you’d like to talk to us about PR, social media, content marketing or anything else, you can get in touch with us directly here.

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