Eight Essential Tools for Ad Agency PR

Photo of an open toolboxA strategic ad agency PR plan that compliments new business initiatives with a clear focus, target and purpose can be a powerful way to get discovered by prospects and drive sales. Here are eight must-have tools, many of which are free, that will help you get the most out of your agency’s PR activities:

The Associated Press Stylebook

The Associate Press (AP) Stylebook is a handbook used by journalists and PR professionals throughout the world as a guide for writing style, grammar, spelling and punctuation. Follow AP style in your news releases and other media materials, and you’ll gain some instant credibility with reporters and editors.

Media Directories

Sure, you can do an Internet search to track down news media people, but a good media directory is worth its weight in gold. Cision Global Media Database and Bulldog Reporter’s MediaPro Database are two of the best. Cision has 1.6 million records, with editorial calendars and media databases of print, broadcast, Internet news sites, social networking sites, bloggers and news bureaus. While that information alone will save you a lot of time, the greatest value for me is the “contact notes” section, which offers insights into what a particular reporter wants, and how and when he/she prefers to be contacted. Here’s a sample entry from a computer/high tech reporter for USA Today:

  • “Works from home, but prefers all materials be sent to the paper.”
  • “Prefers to be contacted by e-mail and hates follow up calls.”
  • “She is interested in the ideas behind technology, not the products.”

Some contact notes might say something like, “Do not call Tuesdays afternoons as he is on deadline.” If you don’t know that and you call him Tuesday afternoon, and he happens to answer the phone, you’re going to be off to a bad start before you say a word.

Headline Analyzer

The free CoSchedule blog post headline analyzer scores your headline on its length, structure, grammar and readability.

Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer

If you want to see how well your headline connects emotionally, the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer will give you a score ranking from 1 to 100. The higher the score, the better your headline. The headline analyzer will also tell you which emotion – intellectual, empathetic or spiritual – is most impacted in a reader’s mind.

Press Release Grader

PRWeb’s Press Releases Grader is a free service that evaluates releases and gives instant feedback on how to improve them so they are more visible to search engines, more engaging and do a better job of driving traffic to your site.

Help A Reporter Out (HARO)

HARO is a newsletter that is e-mailed daily to subscribers with leads from reporters seeking sources for stories. The leads are organized into categories (Business & Finance, Health/Fitness, Lifestyle, Technology, etc.) with specifics about each story, what information the reporter is seeking and contact information.


RadioGuestList matches guests with expertise on particular topics with the hosts who want to interview them. Radio talk show, podcast, online radio show, satellite radio and TV program bookers and producers use it to discover new interview guests.


BloggerLinkUp connects bloggers looking for help with guest posts with people who are looking to get links and exposure by writing guest posts. There also are opportunities to have products reviewed by bloggers and to get in touch with bloggers who do interviews and need sources for stories.

HARO, RadioGuestList and BloggerLinkUp are FREE, and they bring daily leads to your inbox.

photo credit: Order Of Battle via photopin (license)

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