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6 Must-Have Tools for DIY Public Relations

To DIY anything well, you need the right tools. This is undoubtedly the case when it comes to DIYing your public relations campaign.

There are countless tools out there that claim to help with some aspect of public relations. Many of these tools are good, some are great, and a few are must-haves for your DIY PR toolbox. Below are six tools that fall into this last category – the must-haves.

1. Cision

If you can swing it, a Cision subscription is well worth the price tag. Cision’s media database includes more than 1.4 million media contacts, including both traditional reporters and social media influencers.

Though you can often find a reporter’s email address with some online sleuthing, Cision will save you a tremendous amount of time. And, the platform includes more than just contact information, with detailed media profiles, social media handles, stats about audience interests and sizes, editorial calendar information, and much more.


HARO (“Help A Reporter Out”), owned by Cision, makes it easy to connect with reporters actively looking for sources to interview.

Sign up for HARO’s free email subscription, and you’ll receive emails three times a day with round-ups of reporter and blogger queries. Paid subscriptions are available, offering more features like key word alerts and advance notice of new media queries.

3. Buffer

Though truly effective social media campaigns require real-time, human engagement, the ability to automate some of your postings is a life-saver.

For social media management, we use Buffer at 418 Communications, and we wholeheartedly recommend it. There are dozens (if not more) of social media management tools on the market, but Buffer is slick, easy to use, and they offer a pretty good free plan. (If you sign up for a paid subscription, the pricing is reasonable.)


If your PR strategy includes celebrity outreach, you’ll want to sign up for

The WhoRepresents database includes information about more than 50,000 celebrities’ agents, publicists, lawyers, and other representatives. A basic subscription is very affordable ($12.99/month, as of November 2020).

5. Answer the Public

For content creation purposes, Answer the Public, a "search listening tool for market, customer & content research", is a fantastic resource.

Type in a short phrase – i.e. “public relations” – to the Answer the Public search bar, and the site will instantly provide you with a detailed look at what relevant search terms people are using online. Use these insights to guide your content creation strategy, and you’ll easily increase your relevancy to (and visibility among) your target audience.

Though Answer the Public lets you run a few free searches, you’ll need to sign up for a paid subscription if you plan to use the site regularly.

6. Google Alerts

A big part of being good at public relations is keeping up with the news in your industry. Knowing what’s going on in the news, and what reporters are covering, can help you identify valuable opportunities for you to insert yourself into the media conversation. But, keeping up with the fast-paced news cycle can quickly feel like a full-time job. Use Google Alerts to help make this a more manageable task.

Set up Google Alerts for key terms related to your line of work, and scan the results daily. If you use good search terms, this can be an easy way to track news relevant to your area of expertise.

(Image by Freepik)


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