In public relations we’re always looking for ways to help produce quality content for clients as well as our own brand. And there are useful tools that can save time while improving topic choice, leads, and writing style. Here are some of our favorite apps and tools that help PR teams create winning blog posts, bylines and other important communications.
Improve the quality of your writing.
Let’s start at the beginning. Good content is based on good writing. Conventional wisdom says we should all read and write more to improve skills. But to refine your writing further and save time, try editing tools designed to make your writing more readable. We like Hemingway. It offers countless features that are really helpful, like calling out complex words or phrases, extra-long sentences, too many adverbs and overuse of the passive voice. It will proofread for you, too. All a writer has to do is paste in something they’re working on and edit away. Focus Writer and Quoll are other good sources to help improve basic writing.
Increase your content output.
In other words, Write or Die. That’s the name of a somewhat maniacal writing app that will push you to complete writing assignments, help with a particularly bad case of writer’s block or just teach some serious discipline. Most PR people will shudder at its punitive features, like threatening to delete your saved material if you don’t make a deadline! But there is a kind of “beat the clock” thrill about using it that can help slow writers or procrastinators make real leaps in productivity. Of course, quantity is nothing without maintaining quality. If this is too Draconian, you can go old school with a timer to nudge up your daily writing output.
Come up with fresh content ideas.
One of the challenges PR people face daily is coming up with new or original ideas for story pitches, blog posts and other content. And there isn’t always time to pull in collaborators. Don’t stare too long at that blank screen; bring in reinforcements like IdeaFlip, a brainstorming tool for content writing. Or check out blog topic generators from HubSpot or Portent. Also helpful? Sites like Trendspottr to get ahead of the curve on any number of topics and spur creative and buzzworthy writing. And don’t forget Google; new news feed is a boon for PR team. Expanding on what the mighty search engine already does, the enhanced “information feed” is more news-oriented and advanced in its use of machine learning and AI to intuit and reflect your interests. It will offer up news and content based on what you’re already searching for using Google, which can save time. It’s a little like having access to endless Google Alerts without having to set them.
Illustrate your posts like a pro.
Want your audience to sit up and take notice of your posts and articles? Add images and graphic touches to augment your brilliant content. Take a look at sites like BeFunky which turns your titles into works of art. The Meme Generator is another fun tool that lets content creators add enhance their work with original and share-worthy memes. Need unique images that don’t scream “stock photo” and don’t cost an arm and a leg? Here’s a terrific list of free image providers.
Another easy way to take a blog post or other content to the next level is by creating an infographic with help from a site like Picktochart or Venngage. Don’t underestimate infographics – they remain a powerful way to present large amounts of information in an easy to digest way. And then there’s video; it’s undeniably the most “clickable” content online and there are some easy free video editing tools like Avidemux, known as the Instagram of video editing software for its speed, ease of use and impressive results.
Manage and scale your social sharing.
There are many tools to share content. Most PR people know about Hootsuite and other sites that can automate sharing. But have you tried Buffer? It allows creators to share content across multiple social networks with one click. Buffer also claims to help users drive more clicks and traffic and increase fan engagement. Like many web-based tools, it offers a free trial, and we’re always up for a no-cost test.