21 Effective Tools For PR And Blogger Outreach (2020)

In 2019, the US had 30.7 million small businesses with 770,600 new businesses created in 2019 alone. And the number continues to increase every year.

With platforms like ShopifyEtsy, and Amazon making it easier than ever to launch your own brand, getting in front of customers and earning their attention is harder than ever before.

That’s where public relations comes in.

Working with journalists, reporters, and influencers to cover your story is the most effective way to get in front of thousands and millions of eyeballs. And if you do it right, it can be 100% free and not cost you a dime.

This blog post took me 15 hours of organizing my thoughts and assembling the top tools I use on a daily basis. This is my personal tool list that has been critical in helping me earn coverage from outlets like CNET, The Verge, and more.

Let’s get started.

 

Table of Contents

What are the best PR outreach tools?

Below are my personal picks for the best PR and blogger outreach tools that will help you reach out to relevant media in your niche and build meaningful relationships with the media.

Prospecting

Prospecting is your first step in PR outreach. 

This step helps you identify relevant outlets and journalists you’ll be pitching along with their contact information.

1. EasyMediaLists.

EasyList

EasyMediaLists is the perfect place to start if you’re a local brand looking to secure local media coverage.

EasyMediaLists lets you narrow your search down to the state and city level and then shows you a comprehensive directory of media outlets in that area.

Best For:

Uncovering hyper-local media outlets, news stations, and contacts.

Key Features:

  • Media by city: A full directory of hyper-local news stations, papers, and websites.

Cons:

  • Outlets are listed alphabetically and not geographically (hard to determine which outlet belongs to which area if you’re new to the area)
  • The size and reach of the outlet is not listed so you won’t know the readership

Pricing:

  • FREE. Scanning the available media list is free but it won’t include contact information.
  • $0.50 – $1.50 per record. EasyMediaList lets you download single or bulk lists of highlight targeted outlets. The minimum fee charged is $9.99 and bulk lists cost anywhere from $0.50 – $1.50 per outlet you select. For example, if you select all 288 outlets from Georgia, the price to download will be $233.10.

Notable Alternatives: 

I haven’t come across any good alternatives.

2. CISION: Media Contact Database.

Cision

Cision is the holy grail of media databases. It contains thousands of updated outlets, journalists, and topics along with necessary contact information and short profiles so you can pitch relevant information.

Their data is the most up-to-date information I’ve come across and they make it extremely easy to use. You can even narrow your search down to geographical location.

Best For:

Finding journalists and their contact information across thousands of outlets.

Key Features:

  • Complete Media Lists: 1.4 M expertly curated journalists, outlets, and opportunities, along with over 1 billion social influencer profiles.
  • Advanced Filtering: Filter down to the outlet, location, and topic to find media most relevant to your pitch
  • Recent Coverage: See a journalist’s most recent articles so you can see what they’re interested in writing about.
  • Summaries: See journalist profiles and interests at a glance so you can make sure you’re talking to the right person.

Cons:

  • All products from CISION are sold separately (Insights, social listening, etc).
  • The database is pricey
  • Sorting by journalist reach can be inaccurate

Pricing:

  • $5,000+ per year. CISION prefers you contact one of their sales reps before seeing a price. For reference, you can expect to pay ~$5,000 – $8,000 per year depending on how many users you’ll have logging in and how much you negotiate.

Notable alternatives:

MuckRack, Meltwater

3. AHREFs.

AHREFs

AHREFs is the king when it comes to uncovering external backlinks for a competitor (I.e. websites that are linking to a specific website).

Why are backlinks so important for PR? You can use them to uncover missed or obscure outlets talking about your competitors in a matter of seconds.

Best For:

Uncovering PR opportunities your competitors have already found.

Key Features:

  • Link Intersect: Find out which websites are linking to all of your competitors but not you.
  • Content Explorer: See how popular topics trend over time and who’s writing about them.
  • Backlinks: Uncover all of the websites linking to your competitors

Cons:

  • If you plan to use the tool consistently it can be expensive.
  • It doesn’t cover 100% of the web so there can sometimes be missing backlinks.

Pricing:

  • $7 for 7 days. AHREFs offers a 7-day trial for $7 where you’ll be able to get all of the information you need in one sitting.
  • $179 per month. If you’re looking for ongoing use, I’d recommend the $179/month plan which includes 30,000 rows of monthly exports.

Notable alternatives:

Ubersuggest, SEMRush, Majestic

4. Postaga.

Postaga

Postaga simplifies SEO outreach and scans the internet looking for relevant articles that have already been published so you can try and include yourself in them.

The tool shines by automating all steps of the outreach process from identifying opportunities to gathering contact emails to even providing you with email outreach templates.

Best For:

Streamlining your outreach to all types of websites from small blogs and product reviews to influential thought leaders in your space and influencer outreach.

Key Features:

  • Opportunity Finder: Uncover podcasts, roundups, product reviews, and more in a matter of seconds.
  • Email Outreach Templates: Skip writer’s block with done-for-you outreach templates customized to each outlet you’re reaching out to.
  • Relationship Management: Closely manage email communications for follow-ups and see who’s opened your emails.

Cons:

  • The included outreach templates can start feeling overused and impersonal
  • The contacts it finds can be highly irrelevant so you’ll need to vet the list
  • The opportunities it identifies can be irrelevant and also require manual vetting

Pricing:

  • FREE. Postaga starts with a generous free plan which you can use if you’re exclusively looking to find new opportunities and websites.
  • $99+ per month. If you want to take advantage of all of Postaga’s automations then the $99/month plan will be most suitable for you as it includes 2,000 media contacts and higher limits across the board.

Notable alternatives:

JustReachOut, BacklinkSEO

5. SimilarWeb.

SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is an invaluable Chrome Extension that lets you analyze a website’s traffic at the click of a button.

Use this tool to gauge the influence and size of a website to determine how much effort you should put into pitching.

Best For:

Sizing up new websites and looking for similar opportunities to a website you like.

Key Features:

  • Traffic Estimation: SimilarWeb estimates (with high accuracy) the amount of traffic coming to a website during a given month.
  • Similar Websites: Discover websites similar to the one you’re viewing so you can uncover more pitching opportunities.
  • Traffic by Country: See where the majority of a website’s traffic is coming from so you can pitch to media with a relevant audience.

Cons:

  • Small websites are not estimated or recognized.
  • Data is estimated and not 100% accurate.

Pricing:

  • FREE. SimilarWeb’s Chrome Extension is 100% free and will do everything you need for PR.
  • ~$6,000+ per year. If you are considering any of their PRO plans, expect to pay $6,000+/yr to uncover more data about websites (unnecessary for PR needs, in my opinion).

Notable alternatives:

Alexa Traffic Rank

6. HARO.

HARO

HARO, which stands for Help A Reporter Out, is a tool for journalists and sources to connect on upcoming stories.

Journalists use HARO to solicit expert sources for stories they’re writing and it’s your job to ‘apply’ and catch their attention.

Best For:

Anyone looking for stories to come to them versus proactively reaching out with their own story.

Key Features:

  • Fresh News Stories: Journalists are constantly soliciting sources for news stories they’re working on.
  • Email notifications: Daily digests send summaries to your email with fresh opportunities.

Cons:

  • You’ll need to sift through a lot of irrelevant requests on the free version.
  • You won’t know how big the opportunity is unless the journalists explicitly list their website.
  • Winning the attention of the journalist can be difficult.

Pricing:

  • FREE. HARO is part of the CISION group and is offered as a free service to sources.
  • $19+ per month. Take advantage of filters and alerts so you’re not bombarded with daily emails.

Notable Alternatives:

SourceBottle

7. ANewsTip.

ANEWSTIP

ANewsTip acts like a Google search but exclusively returns media articles without all of the other clutter like shopping results, Wikipedia articles, and more.

Type in any keyword and return results from top-ranking media along with the journalist that wrote the piece.

Best For:

Uncovering new outlets and journalists quickly.

Key Features:

  • Monitor News Articles & Tweets: Receive email alerts any time your selected keyword is mentioned.
  • Large Database Index: Search within 200 million news articles and 1 billion tweets from more than 1 million media contacts.
  • Media List and Contacts: Download media lists and contact information

Cons:

  • Search filters could be improved.
  • Monthly subscription is pricey.

Pricing:

  • FREE. Search Tweets, news articles, and journalists based on selected keywords.
  • $200+ per month. Gain access to media lists and contact information

Notable Alternatives:

I haven’t come across any good alternatives.

8. Newspapers.com.

Newspapers

Newspapers.com is the largest collection of digitized newspapers dating back to the 1700s and is completely searchable by keyword.

Enter in your brand name or your competitors to see where they’re mentioned, how they’re mentioned, and who’s mentioning them.

Best For:

Finding how competitors in your space make local news coverage and identifying local reporters. Finding mentions of your brand name in local newspapers.

Key Features:

  • World’s Largest Newspaper Archive: Search within 19,600+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Keyword Search: Search for specific keywords across all newspapers.
  • Geography Search: Search within specific locations across the US and internationally.

Cons:

  • Not every newspaper in the US is covered
  • User interface can be a bit clunky

Pricing:

  • PRO TIP: Check with your local library before subscribing. There’s a good chance they already have a subscription you can use or access to a similar tool.
  • $7.95+ per month. Gain access to 186 million+ pages from 18,900+ newspapers dating back to the 1700s

Notable Alternatives:

I haven’t come across any good alternatives.

9. Magzter.

Magzter

Magzter is much like Newspapers.com in that it lets you search for keywords in print media.

Updated constantly, Magzter is an excellent and affordable way to find mentions of your brand name in the physical world.

Best For:

Finding how competitors in your space make print magazine coverage and identifying. Finding mentions of your brand name in print magazines.

Key Features:

  • Database of 5,000+ magazines: Magzter has over 5,000 magazines digitized and searchable so you can quickly find brand name mentions.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t cover 100% of magazines.
  • Keyword searches can be a bit off sometimes.
  • Individual pages are not searchable by keyword.

Pricing:

  • PRO TIP: Check with your local library before subscribing. There’s a good chance they already have a subscription you can use or access to a similar tool.
  • $9.99 per month. Gain searchable access to over 5,000 best-selling magazines and newspapers.

Notable Alternatives:

PressReader

10. SimilarMail.

SimilarMail

SimilarMail lets you monitor and search through the newsletters of brands across the world. 

Enter a keyword you’d like to track, like your brand name or your competitor’s brand name, and uncover the newsletters mentioning them.

Best For:

Finding mentions of your brand name or a competitor’s brand name in email newsletters.

Key Features:

  • Access to 20,000+ Brands’ Email Marketing: Search, follow, and view detailed analytics of brands’ email marketing campaigns.
  • Calendar View: Visualize the frequency of email marketing campaigns with a calendar view.
  • Searchable Text: Advanced full-text search of every email and website.

Cons:

  • Some email subscriptions for brands are missed. E.g., One brand may have a newsletter, product updates, and marketing updates but only SimilarMail only captures newsletters.

Pricing:

  • FREE. Search for keywords mentioned across 20,000+ brand emails.
  • $19 per month. Gain full access to 20,000+ brands along with a detailed analysis of all emails.

Notable Alternatives: 

MailCharts, SendView

11. PodcastGuests.

PodcastGuests

PodcastGuests connects podcasters with experts, sources, and authors to be guests on their podcasts so you can build your brand image across new audiences.

Best For:

Booking guest spots on podcasts and building your personal or company brand image.

Key Features:

  • Profile Builder: Build a complete profile about yourself including your expertise and interests
  • Messaging: Message other podcasters directly

Cons:

  • Selection in high-quality podcasts can be increased
  • Charges a free when others in the space like Poddit and PodChasers is free

Pricing:

  • $10+ per month. Get listed in one category and link. toone website.

Notable Alternatives: 

Poddit, PodChasers

12. Quantcast Measure.

Quantcast

Quantcast Measure is a tool like no other. After placing a simple pixel on your website, Quantcast Measure will tell you with high accuracy all of the external websites your customers visit.

Best For:

Finding media websites your customers already visit and have high affinities.

Key Features: 

  • Affinity Websites: People who visit this property also visit these sites. E.g. Visitors to [YOUR SITE] are 39.89x more likely to also visit [MEDIA SITE] than the average Internet user.

Cons:

  • It takes 2-4 weeks for Quantcast’s machine learning to produce meaningful results once installed on your website.
  • You already need to have traffic coming to your website (ideally a lot) for accurate and robust results.

Pricing:

  • FREE. Installing Quantcast’s pixel on your website and accessing their rich database is free.

Notable Alternatives:

I haven’t come across any good alternatives.

13. Sparktoro.

Sparktoro

Sparktoro is a relatively new tool created by former Moz Founder Rand Fishkin. 

From their website, “SparkToro identifies your customers’ biggest sources of influence, and the hidden gems⁠—so you can reach them where they hang out” and I’d say that sums it up well.

Best For:

Uncovering new media opportunities your target customers are already talking about or frequently engage with.

Key Features:

**The best way to show these key features is by providing examples.

  • My Audience Talks About: E.g. You want to find out which websites people tend to visit if they ever mention “smart sprinkler controllers” on social media.
  • My Audience Visits the Website: E.g. You want to find out which other websites people tend to visit when they frequently visit “Amazon.com”
  • My Audience Follows the Social Account: E.g. You want to find out which podcasts people tend to listen to when they follow Social Accounts “The Rock”

Cons:

  • The results aren’t always relevant. 
  • Sampling sizes are limited.
  • Your keywords and searches need to be precise and if they’re not, you still use up one of your monthly searches.

Pricing:

  • FREE. A limited free plan is offered with 10 searches per month, each only showing the top results. This is typically good enough to get started with new opportunities.
  • $50+ per month. A subscription grants access to more searches (30 total) and results (50 results per search).

Notable Alternatives:

I haven’t come across any good alternatives.

14. Hunter.io.

Hunter

Finding the author or reporter you’d like to pitch is the easy part. Finding their email address and contact information to actually pitch them is much harder.

Hunter.io helps with the latter by automating this process for you and finding email addresses quickly.

Best For:

Finding email addresses of journalists and bloggers given a certain domain name.

Key Features:

  • Domain Search: Find email addresses by searching for a specific domain name. E.g., find Amazon employee emails by searching for “Amazon.com.”
  • Email Finder: Find email addresses of specific people at specific companies by typing their name and company into the search.
  • Email Verifier: Run emails you’ve found through an automatic verifier to see if the emails are live.

Cons:

  • Can return old or outdated emails.
  • Emails generated are not always accurate or live.

Pricing:

  • FREE. Receive 50 free email searches and validations per month.
  • $49+ per month. Increase your email searches to 500 per month.

Notable Alternatives:

FindThatLead, Snovio

Reaching out

Once you’ve gathered a list of prospects it’s time to reach out and pitch them your story.

The following tools will make sure you’re as productive as possible in your outreach.

15. MailTrack.

MailTrack

MailTrack is a vital tool that allows you to see if your email pitches to journalists are being read.

Best For:

Seeing if journalists are reading your emails and how many times they’re reading it.

Key Features:

  • Open Tracking: See when an email was opened and read.
  • Number of Times Opened: See how many times a certain email was opened and at what time.
  • Devices: See which devices the email was opened on (Mobile, Desktop).

Cons:

  • You can’t see if an email was forwarded.
  • You can’t see the number of unique opens.

Pricing:

  • FREE. Everything you will need to use MailTrack for is 100% free.

Notable Alternatives: 

Snovio

16. TrueMail.

TrueMail

Just because you found an email with a tool like Hunter.io doesn’t mean it’s correct or still active. Journalists change jobs, companies get acquired, and domain name changes.

To combat emailing dead inboxes you need to use a verification tool like TrueMail to ensure you’re not wasting pitches.

Best For:

Verifying the accuracy of journalist email addresses you’ve found from tools like Hunter.io.

Key Features:

  • Single Verify: Verify emails one-by-one.
  • Bulk Verify: Verify multiple emails at once.
  • Chrome Extension: Quickly verify emails on any webpage from your browser’s toolbar.
  • Fast Verification: Verify 100K emails in 5 minutes.

Cons:

  • The tool has limitations and cannot always provide 100% accurate results.
  • Low limits for the free version.

Pricing:

  • FREE. Validate up to 5 emails per month for free.
  • $7+ per 1,000 verifications. Choose your one-time verification packages and receive discounts for bulk requests.

Notable Alternatives: 

Hunter.io, VerifyEmailAddress

17. Boomerang.

Boomerang

Boomerang makes reaching out to multiple journalists at once easy. Never forget to respond to an email or follow-up with a non-responder.

Best For:

Reminding yourself to follow-up with journalists that may not have responded to your initial outreach.

Key Features:

  • Reminders: Set reminders for emails if no response is received.
  • Schedule Send: Draft an email and have it send at a later time.

Cons:

  • The free version includes quite a bit of upsells.

Pricing:

  • FREE. Boomerang is a free Chrome Extension that includes 10 credits per month for reminders.
  • $4.99+ per month. Receive unlimited access to messages and reminders.

Notable Alternatives:

FollowUp.CC

18. CloudHQ Gmail Snippets.

Snippets

If you’re reaching out to multiple journalists with the same pitch it can get tiring having to copy/paste from one email to the next.

CloudHQ Templates lets you create Gmail templates and insert them into your drafts in a matter of seconds so you can speed up your pitching.

Best For:

Creating Gmail templates you can repurpose when reaching out to multiple journalists.

Key Features:

  • Snippet Creation: Create custom snippets you can quickly add into any Gmail draft.

Cons:

  • User interface can be buggy.
  • Free version has upsells.

Pricing:

  • FREE. Snippets are part of the free version of CloudHQ.

Notable Alternatives:

I haven’t come across any good alternatives.

Building relationships

The final step in outreach is monitoring your mentions.

The following tools will alert you when reporters have picked up and covered your story so you can shoot them a quick message showing gratitude.

19. TalkWalker.

TalkWalker

You should be among the first to know when your brand is being mentioned on the internet. Google Alerts only monitors a small selection of websites and might miss critical mentions of your brand.

TalkWalker aims to cover more websites and outlets than Google Alerts and has more customizable alerts.

Best For:

Monitoring mentions of your brand name across the medium-to-large news websites.

Key Features:

  • Wide Coverage: TalkWalker monitors blogs, forums, websites, and social accounts.
  • Filters: Set alerts for specific types of media only.

Cons:

  • Lacks the comprehensive monitoring a paid tool will get you.

Pricing:

  • FREE. Receive alerts to your email for free.

Notable alternatives:

Google Alerts, TalkWalker Social Media

20. TVEyes.

TVEyes

TVEyes is a robust listening tool that lets you set up keyword alerts for TV and radio mentions.

For example, simply set up a keyword alert for “Amazon” and any time “Amazon” is said in commercials, sitcoms, morning news, and more you’ll receive an alert to your inbox along with the associated radio or tv clip.

Best For:

Monitoring mentions of your brand name or your competitor’s brand name on broadcast TV and Radio stations.

Key Features:

  • Search Engine for Broadcast Media: Quickly discover and view broadcast media mentioning your specific keywords.
  • Logo Detection: Tracks the airwaves and alerts you to every appearance of your ad or logo on TV.
  • Keyword and Phrase Alerts: Receive notifications and summaries every time your specific keyword is mentioned on broadcasts.
  • Local, US, and International Broadcast Coverage: Monitor over 2,500 stations in every major market.

Cons:

  • It’s a bit pricey.
  • The user interface feels like it’s from the early 2000s.
  • Alerts and transcription aren’t perfect – it will take some fine-tuning.

Pricing:

  • $500+ per month or $3,000 – $6,000 per year. Clicking over to their pricing page will take you to a “request a quote” CTA. In our experience, pricing ranges from $500/month to $3,000 – $6,000 per year depending on the size of the team you have logging in.

Notable Alternatives: 

Critical Mention, News Exposure

21. BrandMentions.

BrandMentions

BrandMentions belongs to a fast-growing category called Social Listening. Social Listening crawls every corner of the web for any keyword you select and alerts you whenever it’s found.

Best For:

Listening for your brand name to be mentioned across the internet.

Key Features:

  • Mentions Feed: Discover what people say about your brand & take action in real-time. Engage discussions relevant to your business with one click of the mouse.
  • Discussion Volume Chart: Identify sudden changes in the discussion volume to protect your company image.

Cons:

  • Features like sentiment analysis are still too immature to be considered helpful.
  • Some social media is not tracked due to API constraints or privacy (E.g., Facebook groups).
  • Keyword logic is limited. E.g., If you have a common brand name like “Tony’s” then the tool will return everything that mentions “Tony’s” which can be a lot.

Pricing:

  • $99+ per month. The starter tier grants you access to monitoring 5 keywords and 5,000 mentions per month which is suitable for small brands.

Notable Alternatives:

Mention, Brandwatch, Brand24

Conclusion

Media outreach is a networking job as much as it is an art form.

With the correct tools in place, you can make sure to scale your outreach while still maintaining a personal touch with your communication.

At the end of the day, the three most important things for media outreach are:

  1. Pitch the right story to the right journalists at the right time
  2. Pitch politely and courteously
  3. Pitch personally and create relationships 
 
 
 
 

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