Getting starting in the PR industry is no easy feat. You have to be diligent, motivated, and passionate about the work that you're doing for a client and even for yourself. Taking courses and earning a degree will help you learn how to write press releases, how to research topics, and how to improve your writing in general. But there's so much more to PR than that.
The truth is, there's probably dozens, if not hundreds of tools out there for PR hopefuls to use. The list that I'm mentioning is more geared towards students and entry-level professionals wanting to break into the industry. It's up to you to start using these tools to really set you apart and enhance your integrity.
In another blog post, I discussed skills you need to be successful in PR. Here I am sharing what tools can help you build upon those skills!The following tools helped me improve my skills and learn more about public relations.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
Helps you with: Pitching, Outreach, Building Rapport
HARO is a service that connects journalists with sources and experts. Don't worry, even as a student or young adult, you could still be an "expert" in a topic that a journalist needs help with! I've seen HARO requests asking for students that live in certain cities or attend a specific university. Somewhere out there, a journalist needs your expertise for an article they're writing.
HARO provides a great opportunity to practice writing a pitch via email, and sending it quickly and efficiently. Most of these emails will go unnoticed... but when you get a bite, it's such a rewarding experience!
Helps you with: Writing, Emails, Blogs, Press Releases, Essays
Grammarly is a time saver. I downloaded the software recently and immediately fell in love! This software points out spelling and grammatical mistakes while you're typing in real time. It has a nifty green circle that lets you know that you're writing is good to go. When you write a sentence incorrectly or spell a word wrong, it underlines the mistake in red. Then it provides suggestions to change your content.
I decided to go through my old blog posts and use Grammarly to check them out. I did pretty well, except for one blog post. It's embarrassing to admit; I used "There's" instead of "There are" incorrectly in one blog post more than 5 times! I couldn't believe I never caught that. Thanks to Grammarly, these mistakes are few and far between now!
Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer
Helps you with: Writing, SEO, Press Releases, Advertising, Blogging
Any writer knows that you need to have eye-catching content which includes a headline. Generally, people don't read past the headlines. So make it count!
You can use the headline analyzer here.
Helps you with: Branding, Industry Trends, Research, "Being in the Know"
Google has so many elements to it, and the best part is that most of its tools are free! This includes Google Alerts. You can set up this up to "alert" you in just about anything; your clients brand or business, PR trends, even yourself!
I've even used alerts to let me know when new content is shared about The Walking Dead, my favorite TV show. Google sends you an email on a daily or weekly basis (your choice) on whatever trend or keyword you want to track.
Helps you with: Writing, Consistency, Branding
It's important to know how to write in AP Style. The Stylebook is seen as the final determination on how to spell words and abbreviate titles. The book is updated every year to help everyone in different writing industries to stay up to date. There's a physical book that you can buy, as well as an app to download onto your smartphone.
Are there any other tools out there that you use? Please tell me about them in the comments below!