Recently I’ve had the pleasure of training a number of PR agencies on how they can work Search Engine Optimisation into their service offerings.

It’s no secret that lots of SEO agencies and teams are trying to do the reverse at the same time.

While this merging of disciplines is no big surprise, something that I hadn’t anticipated is just how useful SEO tools can be for people carrying out online PR.

Search Marketers are generally obsessed about efficiency and using tools and software to make their lives easier, and many of the tools available can also help anyone working in online PR.

Google Insights

http://www.google.com/trends/

 

The ability to instantly get a seasonal idea of when people are interested in topics is hugely valuable, especially when that data challenges conventional wisdom.

One of the best examples of this is related to the demand for Contact Lenses (originally highlighted to me by James Murray).

Whenever I ask when the peak in demand for Contact Lenses might be, people most often suggest summer-time. Their reasons tend to be related to people trying to avoid hay-fever or prescription sunglasses, and also a connection to New Years’ makeovers.

Interestingly, the peak is actually around Halloween, due to the use of coloured lenses. This on its own is a great insight to hang a story off, but immediately gives PRs the opportunity to pitch stories to journos and bloggers that might pass their competitors by.

UberSuggest

http://ubersuggest.org/

 

The suggestions that Google make when you type in a search query give you a great, and sometimes scary, insight into the pysche of people searching online.

Being able to quickly get together lots of ideas for content using a tool like Ubersuggest, which captures those Google Suggestions, is a great place for a PR team to start brainstorming press release ideas.

If This, Then That

https://ifttt.com/ 

There’s a good chance PR teams are already aware of story opportunities, such as pouncing when journo’s use the hashtag #journorequest on Twitter, but managing these pitch opportunities across multiple campaigns can be tricky. If This, Then That, or IFTTT can help.

IFTTT offers a visual data mash-up service. On a simple level it offers functionality like ‘if I publish a blog post, tweet it’, or ‘if I publish or upload a video to facebook, save it to dropbox’ but you can very easily set up more complex ‘recipes’ that sift through PR opportunities like #journorequest.

Linkedin Advanced Search

http://www.linkedin.com/search?trk=advsrch

Media databases are great but you might be surprised at just how powerful the advanced search functionality on LinkedIn is, especially if you have a broad network. If you know the publishing company and job title of whom you are looking to find it’s really likely you’ll be able to find their name.

The premium version of LinkedIn is great value to get in touch with prospects.

Email Guesser

http://linksy.me/find-email

If you know the first and last name plus the domain of the person you’re hoping to outreach to, this can help you ‘guess’ their valid address. It uses Gravatar and can be a great way of finding people who either have a contact form on their site or you’ve found through LinkedIn. 

FollowerWonk

http://followerwonk.com/

 

FollowerWonk is a really powerful search engine based upon the biography information people provide through Twitter. At a base level it’ll allow you to search biographies on searches like “keyword journalist”.

The real value is in the advanced search functionality. E.g. you can see all of the people who use a company’s url in their bio, hopefully finding their employees 

FollowUp.CC

http://www.followup.cc/

 

The chances are a full blown project management, or CRM system might be overkill for your PR efforts but FollowUp.CC allows you to quickly set up reminders to follow up on outreach attempts.

You simply bcc-in a special email address and it will email you back that email at the preset interval.

i.e. 12hours@followup.cc; feb28@followup.cc; thursday@followup.cc; 9am@followup.cc 

Some great tools that are pretty well known to search marketers but I reckon they could make PR’s lives easier!