Getting Your Feet Wet in PR? Here Are Four Free Resources to Get You Started
If you’ve been noodling on the idea of adding a PR program to your business, you may have noticed that seasoned PR people don’t really like to give away secrets to success. It’s a competitive world out there – can you blame us? We spend years building relationships and bolstering our skills, cementing our reputation brick-by-brick to form an empire.
However, I’m not one to gatekeep my favorite professional development resources. I started my PR career four years ago, so it’s fresh in my mind that everyone starts somewhere. Building a foundation of tools and skills is essential for long-term PR success. That’s why I’m glad to share some of my favorite free resources – some little-known and some that folks swear by – that can help get you off the ground.
I recently stumbled upon OnePitch by accident, but I’ve been using it as part of my media research routine ever since. OnePitch was founded to help PR professionals identify journalists who might be interested in hearing the stories they have to offer. It provides a template-based approach to curating your pitches, guiding you towards tighter ideas, clearer organization, and a better understanding of how “newsworthy” your pitch really is. Then, it runs its algorithm to sort a list of journalists covering your topic area, with metrics to describe how good of a match they are and why.
As you explore media relations, you’ll realize that personalization is everything. I find OnePitch valuable because it’s focused on precise, accurate and mutual benefits for both the PR pro and the journalist. It’s also great for tracking progress and success, with a built-in recording function. Finally, I’ll add that their team is always open to feedback and incredibly cordial (shoutout to Kendall for a great conversation last month!). As they continue to grow, I hope you find their SaaS as valuable as I do.
I love Muck Rack for a lot of reasons, but its education tools are perhaps their best hidden gem for new PR pros. Like many others, I found that March 2020 gave me a whole lot of free time. I decided to use my extra hours for professional development, and as a young PR pro, I found that Muck Rack Academy was a great boost to my day-to-day activities. Muck Rack Academy is designed for both new and seasoned media relations professionals alike and breaks down two key PR skills refreshers into two-hour, interactive courses: Fundamentals of Media Relations and Fundamentals of Social Media.
Don’t get me wrong; I went into these courses with a solid bag of tools for both skill sets, but still found that the presentations and quizzes challenged me to consider whether I was fully embracing the best practices of media relations and social media. The advice in these courses is derived largely from journalists and PR professionals, so it’s all tried and true.
If you haven’t been reading Ragan’s PR Daily, it’s time to start. PR Daily is my go-to news source for all things related to the PR industry, from crisis response insights to social media updates, and from writing advice to leadership tips. If there’s a skill you’re looking to develop in the realm of content and media, chances are you’ll find some solid advice here. And, the editor-in-chief Allison is great to work with, too; she’s helped me and our SVP Alex Crabb get our insights out to fellow PR pros, which is really exciting because we love to share our wisdom just as much as we like to read it from others.
While I love the website, the newsletter is the real gold mine: Not only does it compile the top stories and updates from the day to streamline my industry research, but it also appears in my inbox every single day so I have no choice but to explore. If you’re in a rut and trying to get better about proactive professional development, this newsletter is a must-subscribe.
Startups and new business owners: This one’s for you. PRontheGO is a free resource for entrepreneurs and startups alike, offering a flurry of DIY PR advice from global professionals. All you need to do is head to the website, select your industry, and explore a comprehensive collection of tools suited to a range of budgets, experience levels and business goals.
With a pitching guide, a PR jargon glossary, a solid blog comprised of pro insights (shameless plug – peep #25 on this list), and comprehensive lists of low-cost and free media relations opportunities, there is no shortage of opportunities for trial and error as you explore what PR can bring to your marketing mix.
I hope this blog helps a few folks get their PR program off the ground, but eventually, your business might outgrow this list. If you’re ready to move on to the next step and really dive into PR strategy, let us help you soar! Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.