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PR Resources: The Old Faithful, The Free, The Cheap and Much, Much More

by Leah Wilkinson, co-founder, WilkinsonShein (WS)

Regardless of the state of the economy, nonprofit organizations generally have strict budgets and often struggle to find funds for public relations (PR) staff, outside PR support or PR resources and tools. But, as pointed out in my previous post, effective PR can accomplish much with little. Whether you have little-to-no budget or can spend freely, there are a wide variety of PR resources that all PR pros can leverage to help spread the word about your organization, its mission and its news.

I’ve been in PR for a long time (20 years or so) and many of the resources I’ve used throughout my career are long gone, rendered obsolete (anyone remember the Media Map and Bacon’s books?) by the changing media landscape. However, many remain in some form or concept. And many resources have evolved to assist PR folks in their everyday mission - creating opportunities for exposure and reputation building.

Below is a list of some resources that the team here at WilkinsonShein uses in supporting our clients. This is by no means a comprehensive list - just some of the ones that we think could be especially helpful to you.

  • Google Alerts – the best part about Google Alerts is that it is FREE. It is an incredibly effective means of tracking coverage of your organization and the issues you care about. If you don’t have them set up, do it now http://www.google.com/alerts…trust me, you will be happy you did!
  • HARO (Help A Reporter Out) – HARO was originally started in 2008 as a free PR resource by social media guru Peter Shankman, but was acquired by VOCUS in 2010. There are a variety of paid subscription levels now available, but the good news is that there is still a free version of HARO to which PR professionals can subscribe http://www.helpareporter.com/sources/free. HARO is an email “service” that collects and distributes real-time media opportunities. The inquiries come straight from journalists on a deadline needing a source and recipients can respond to opportunities immediately – directly or via HARO.
  • ProfNet Connect – ProfNet Connect is PR Newswire’s free online community for PR professionals, experts and media. The site features nearly 50,000 user profiles, searchable by keyword and geographic location. You can post your organization’s experts as sources for media. Go here to sign up and start posting profiles - http://www.profnetconnect.com/
  • ProfNet – ProfNet is very similar to HARO. It is an email service that sends real-time media opportunities. This is a paid service. Note that you can sign up for a free trial http://www.prnewswire.com/profnet/contact-us/
  • Technorati – Technorati is the leading blog search engine and directory and indexes more than a million blogs. It tracks the authority and influence of blogs and is a comprehensive index of the most popular blogs and bloggers. http://technorati.com/company//
  • Free Press Release Distribution Sites – There are a great number of free press release distribution services. Check out this Hub for a very comprehensive list of free sites http://creativegenius.hubpages.com/hub/Free-Press-Release-Distribution-Sites
  • Paid Press Release Distribution Services – There are quite a few paid press release sites as well, including Business Wire, Marketwired, PR Newswire and Vocus to name a few. These services offer a wide range of distribution capabilities so we recommend evaluating a few of them and go with the one with which you feel is going to offer your organization the best customer service.
  • Coverage and Social Media Tracking – For paid coverage tracking services our firm has had good experiences with CustomScoop and Meltwater. Sysomos (a subsidiary of Marketwired) is one of the best social media tracking services we’ve come across. And, it is very well priced.

If you have any questions about my and my team’s experience with these resources, please feel free to reach out – leah@wilkinsonshein.com.

Now back to work.

Next up… our take on Social Media!

Topics: Strategy