5 Online PR Tools for Early-Stage Startups

Several of the startups I work with are either bootstrapped or just recently secured funding, requiring careful consideration of their public relations budgets.

In the past, companies typically only had a few options for PR tools, which were not very affordable for the average startup. With the rise of cloud computing and the SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) market, it’s now easy to find public relations tools that only cost a few lattes’ worth each month.

Below are five online tools that can help your startup develop better relationships with journalists, as well as track and analyze media coverage, in the order that you should use them:

Feedly

feedly.com | Free to $5/month

Feedly is a free RSS feed reader (a spiritual successor to the now-defunct Google Reader) that lets you track your favorite blogs and websites for story ideas. To narrow down results, you can sort and filter stories by popularity, date and even language.

With Feedly Pro ($5/month), you can search for authors, topics and keywords outside of the RSS feeds in your collection, and gain additional social media/third-party integrations.


Email Hunter

emailhunter.co | Free, starter plan priced at $49/month

After coming up with a convincing story and finding a relevant journalist with a tool like Feedly, it’s time to find their contact information. This part’s easy, right?

Not exactly — many websites don’t include a masthead with contact information, leaving you to scour the web for a single email address. And guessing the email pattern (i.e. FirstnameLastname@Domain.com) doesn’t always work. Email Hunter does this for you — simply type in the website domain belonging to the journalist, and the tool will show all of the email address associated with the website, along with a recommend email pattern and export option.


Rapportive

rapportive.com | Free

Rapportive is a plugin that lives in the sidebar of your Gmail conversations, providing valuable information about the contact you’re currently talking to.

The tool shows information like job description, location (this is important — you don’t want to be pitching someone in Europe at 10am stateside!), links to social networking profiles and mutual LinkedIn connections. Best of all, it’s completely free.


Mention

mention.com | Solo plan starting at $29/month

Mention is a tool for tracking PR coverage on websites, social networks, blogs, and other online sources. With Mention, you can choose to receive email coverage alerts in real time (like Google Alerts) or even on a weekly basis.

The tool also features reports, including valuable information such as reach, location demographics and sentiment, and can be exported intro PDFs or raw data (Excel). Another feature lets you easily share (or assign) coverage to social networks right from within Mention.


CoverageBook

coveragebook.com | Basic plan starting at $56/month

Need a fancy PR coverage report with a breakdown of each hit and clippings for your next team or board meeting? In the past, you had to painstakingly take screenshots of each hit, look up the publication’s reach and calculate its AVE (Advertising Value Equivalency).

A fairly new tool called CoverageBook does all of this for you — from automatically generating fancy cover pages, to taking screenshots, to figuring out exactly how many people viewed each hit and how many social media shares it got. This tool alone has saved my team many works of manual labor each week.

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