Journalists and news creators, who by nature are at the top of the social news cycle, as well as content creators for brands that offer value to their communities should be aware of these six great tools.

As part of my role here at Econsultancy as Content Marketing Executive, I was immediately immersed in product demos and in-person meetings for new products in the burgeoning social web discovery space.

Here are six immediate standouts from the pack that I feel other content marketers should be using and why.

Little Bird 

Who: Marshall Kirkpatrick. Former ReadWriteWeb and Techcrunch writer who frequented the top of the Techmeme leaderboard during his blogging days.

What: Little Bird (formerly Plexus Engine) is a “searchable reference book made up of dynamic archives of subject matter experts.” So basically, it’s an influencer discovery tool.

Why: Two years in the making, Little Bird was built under the watchful eye of Kirkpatrick (who understands the social web better than many of his contemporaries.  

The tool includes many smart features that make viewing the content your influencers are sharing easy (Reading List: Day/Weekly) but the main reason I am a fan personally is Kirkpatrick’s weighting on the importance of the social graph in discovery – not just content/keyword analysis across different social platforms.

For more info read up on WSJ’s coverage of the launch, and Little Bird’s star-studded investors.


Who: Muckrack was launched in April 2009 after Greg Galant (who also started The Shorty Awards) realized it was actually the tech journalists on Twitter doing the work of promoting his event, and not some ridiculously priced wire service.

Launched in 2012, Lissted comes from RealWire, a U.K.-based news distribution service that established social media news releases in 2007, and published findings that they double coverage.

What: Muckrack and Lissted are essentially both Twitter lists on steroids for finding journalists.

Both allow you to search keywords across industry filters and/or person/outlet to see who is tweeting about your subject area. Both then dashboard your results (Lissted can rank by Klout score) and allow you to save different target lists dependent on subject area that then get updated the more these journos tweet.

Why: In case you haven’t heard of this thing called Twitter – it’s a pretty big deal. As much as I hate the phrase newsjacking, it is now a common practice (I like to say news enhancement, whereby I am getting journalists stats that corroborate or emphasise findings) and to be active in real-time, just behind larger trends and stories that can help your brand get discussed, these sort of tools are indispensable.

So many journalists like being on MuckRack in fact, that the company recently opened up the profiles for them to edit personally, and they have seen great results for keeping contact details current. So much for Cision/Vocus!

The online press release area (which is essentially access to their MuckRack Twitter account which many journos follow) is also a great concept in an attempt to keep PRs to 140 characters, but we didn’t see much return from doing one for a report that proved very popular on its own once we started promoting it.

Lissted’s dynamic Twitter lists (which can be set to frequency you prefer, then sent as emails for updates on who is tweeting) are a blessing in that they allow one to unglue from Tweetdeck, then still pride themselves to the line manager as “up to date.”  Being a U.K. service, Lissted also has a bit better directory of European broadsheet writers, but both companies are really pushing and adding journos everday — currently 18k contacts in their respective database.


Who: Flockler was founded by a very young Fin, Toni Hopponen, who worked at a newspaper and did his thesis on business disruption to the industry in Finland.

Storystream is a kind of collaboration between the digital strategy firm Brillian Noise and the startup team at Storystream that came out of a project at BrightonSEO.

What: Flockler and Storystream both believe that the future of news discovery lies in pushed aggregated content that can be viewed on a multitude of mobile devices with social and sharing playing the large role of driving discovery. These are both HTML5-based apps that let real-time participation feedback into the news by crowdsourced participation that is actively curated.

Why: These apps and the entire concept is just beautiful. Think of Pinterest or Flipboard, but more dynamic, and pulling content from across multiple social feeds – then inject Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn for conversation and you have the future of content marketing in your palm – or hand(s) if you are on tablet 😉

Rockmelt iPad

Who: Rockmelt, like Little Bird, also has an all-star lineup of investors, but it is one marketers should be aware of from a content consumption perspective much like Flockler and Storystream. It was founded by Eric Vishria (CEO) and Tim Howes (CTO) in 2009 originally as a desktop browser, and has just recently been redesigned for iPad.

What: An auto-syncing social browser for iPad that goes out and gathers your news for you, then delivers in a smart ‘stream’ or ‘feed’ interface.

Why: The Rockmelt browsing experience is built on user interaction data that told the UX team people don’t want to enter URLs or constantly search with keywords – they just want to tap…the tablet equivalent to a click – and this has delivered a product that is a joy to use. From a content marketing perspective, marketers should be particularly focused on the vertical-specific categories it allows users to choose from when they are personalizing their experience.

I’ll be looking into these and many other content marketing tools on a more detailed basis as individual reviews, so stay tuned!