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15 Must-Have Expert PR Tools for 2016

Posted by Wendy Marx

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We're well into 2016 and so far we've seen some major changes to the tools that PR professionals and marketers rely upon.

For instance, Instagram's recent algorithm change has prompted a backlash from users who want to see posts chronologically, rather than by assumed interest. 

Google has also announced changes. Its eight-year old AdWords is getting a major facelift, much to the chagrin of some users. 

And, finally, Twitter has decided to stick to its original 140-character limit, and abandon any notion of 10,000 character posts. 

With all of these changes afoot, it can be hard to keep up with which tools and apps you should be using as a PR professional to improve your productivity. However, today I'd like to narrow it down to 15 PR tools for 2016.

Top PR Tools for 2016

This list is not necessarily in order of preference. They're all great tools in my book. 

Personal Organization

1. Sortd

As a recent Sortd convert, I can't say that I've mastered all that Sortd has to offer. However, this Gmail skin is one that every PR professional should consider. You can easily create tasks out of emails, sort emails into lists, set reminders to respond to emails, and so much more.

Sortd has also recently launched a mobile version so you'll never have to be without your trusty Sortd sidekick.

2. Evernote

Screen_Shot_2016-03-29_at_10.48.25_AM.pngEvernote integrates with almost everything, it seems. If you're like me, you'd rather scrawl on a piece of paper during a meeting rather than clack away on your keyboard. However, chances are good that that piece of paper never makes it into a legible digital format. 

Enter Penultimate for Evernote. This digital notepad allows you to "lose the paper and keep the handwriting." Using Evernote, you can even perform searches through your handwritten notes. 

3. Wunderlist

You know all those tasks, deadline, and minutiae floating around in your mind that you know you need to jot down? Well, instead of reaching for your pen, download Wunderlist. 

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This to-do app syncs with your Google Calendar, allows you to share lists and tasks, create sub-tasks, set reminders, and add files and images to your to-dos. 

Project Management

4. Trello

If you're looking for a small-sized content management program for your team, look no further than Trello.

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The basic concept of Trello is that you'll create an intuitive, visiual system to manage projects that easily identifies the tasks needed to be done, due dates and responsible people. .When team members finish with their portion of a task, they easily move the project to the next person and the the transfer is seen visually.

5. Asana

If you need something a bit beefier than Trello, Asana is great go-to. It allows for recurring tasks (unlike Trello at this time), conversations within your team, to-do lists, and reminders.

Communication Apps

6. Slack

How much time do you lose scrolling through IM apps to find the topic of discussion you're looking for? With Slack, you use channels to organize your conversations. Need to have a talk about billing issues? Create a channel. 

Not only does Slack allow you to organize your conversations, but it drastically reduces the amount of emails in your inbox. It also eliminates that pesky situation when Ted wasn't copied on an email because someone forgot to hit "reply all." If Ted's part of the team, he'll get notified whenever there's a discussion. 

7. Voxer

Stuck in traffic and need to send a quick message? Avoid the potential fender bender that could arise from sending a text. Voxer allows you to send quick messages walkie-talkie style. 

8. Zoom

Zoom is a video conference system that is free for all users for up to 40 minutes per group meeting. A paid subscription with unlimited meetings is available as well. 

There are no time limits for one-on-one meetings. Additionally, in a group meeting, you can hang up after 40 minutes and then create a new 40-minute call. 

9. Skype

Yes, Skype is certainly not new, but there's a reason why it's been around for a while. Screensharing is a snap with Skype, and the system is typically reliable. 

Content Aggregators

It's your business to know what's going on out there, and you need to be able to gather and share information quickly. You also need to find ways to expose your own content to new eyes. Here are some of the best content aggregators.

10. Alltop

Alltop's directory of content is easy to navigate, so you'll easily find information pertinent to your industry. If you're looking to get your content into Alltop, get in line now. It typically favors established websites and even then, it can be difficult to make the cut. 

11. Business 2 Community

While you can find out things like why the animated Batman series was the most emotionally intelligent on Alltop, Business 2 Community takes a more serious tone. 

Business 2 Community allows for posts from multi-authored blogs. So, if five people on your marketing team rotate authorship of your blog, your submission request to Business 2 Community shouldn't be hindered. Take note, though, that roundup posts, such as "This week's Top 5 Marketing Posts" are typically not admissable. 

Headline Analyzers

12. Coschedule

Coschedule's Headline Analyzer allows you to plug in your press release headline, blog Screen_Shot_2016-03-29_at_11.01.29_AM.pngpost title, or media headline and receive a grade from F to A+. You will also receive a numbered grade, with a minimum of 70 being preferable. 

13. Advanced Marketing institute

AMI's headline analyzer works much the same as Coschedule's. However, you have the added advantage of being able to include your title's genre. 

Time Management

14. Toggl

You sit down to work on a quick project, thinking it will only take a few minutes. However, before you know it, an hour has passed!

If you need to clock hours for a client, or simply to keep track of how many hours you're devoting to a particular project, Toggl is your tool. 

Miscellaneous

15. IFTTT

If This Then That is a tool for all the tools that don't automatically sync with each other. You can manually create "recipes" for nearly any situation you can think of.

Want to automatically save a starred email to Evernote? Set up a recipe for it in IFTTT. Want to add posts from an RSS feed to a spreadsheet so that you can easily schedule sharing on Twitter? There's a recipe for that, too. Or send yourself an email if it's going to rain in the morning. There's almost no limit to what you can do with IFTTT.

A Recipe for Success

The right tools are an important ingredient in every successful PR career. With that in mind, I've created a tool that will allow you to achieve success on the social channels that matter to you. My Social Prospecting Workbook will walk you through how to successfully leverage LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to increase leads and visibility. 

The step-by-step instructions, plan of execution, and take-home lessons will guide you through using social media tools in a tailored way that benefits your brand and leads to results. Download your FREE copy on me!

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Apr 1, 2016
 
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Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx is the founder and president of Marx Communications, a boutique inbound marketing and public relations agency. An award-winning B2B public relations pro, she has helped many small- & medium-sized firms (SMBs) become well-known industry brands and transform their businesses, going from Anonymity to Industry Icon™.

Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets. 

View all posts by Wendy Marx