Some people say nothing in life is free. Well, we have to disagree. There are a lot of great, free resources in the world of PR and we’re providing our list of favorites here! Links are embedded throughout this post, so have fun!
Media List Development
While paid services like Cision and Vocus give you very sophisticated media distribution lists with a ton of background information, there are free sites out there that help you get started in building your list.
Media on Twitter provides media contacts throughout the world. The list includes name, Twitter ID, a direct link to the Twitter page, the contact’s title/beat, media outlet and country. There is also an option to add to the list if you’ve come across a contact that hasn’t been included yet.
Another option for finding journalists on Twitter is by visiting the Media People Using Twitter Wiki. Organized by country, you can find contact names, beats, outlets and Twitter IDs.
Check out TradePub for acess to free business, computer, engineering and trade magazines.
News Release Distribution
PitchEngine is a fantastic resource for distributing news releases for free. While the free option does not help with search engine optimization (SEO), it does assist you in creating a social media (SM) release and allows you to distribute via several different SM channels like Twitter, Facebook, etc. You can follow the creator of PitchEngine, Jason Kintzler, on Twitter: @PitchEngine.
Sign up for Peter Shankman‘s Help a Reporter. Lists of story leads are delivered several times daily and are organized by topic. This is a great resource for all types of story angles and media types. Plus, on Fridays, the list includes gift bag opportunities. You can also follow Peter on Twitter: @skydiver.
While ProfNet is not a free resource, if you’re on Twitter, follow Maria Perez @ProfNet. Quite often urgent leads are posted with the reporter’s contact information. And, Maria is an incredibly nice and helpful person, so it’s a win-win.
And finally, while we’re talking about Twitter, create an account (it’s free) and find journalists covering the topics you want to pitch. More and more reporters are becoming a part of the Twitter community and this is a great way to build a relationship with them and find out what they’re working on.
Sign up for Google News Alerts to monitor a variety of key words that interest you. At a minimum, sign up for alerts covering your company’s name as well as your competitors. Google News Alerts are free and you can have them delivered directly to your email inbox.
There are also some great, free resources for monitoring blogs and social media. Try www.technorati.com for researching and monitoring blogs.
Tweet Beep is a great resource for monitoring Twitter. It catches all replies, mentioned, etc.