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Sparkpr: Tools of the trade for PR interns

April 14, 2011

In post No. 7 from the interns at San Francisco-based agency Sparkpr, Meghan Kelly breaks down the three tech tools that help her get public relations work done efficiently.

Meghan Kelly, Sparkpr intern
By Meghan Kelly

Everyone uses tools for something. If you want to hang up a picture, you grab a hammer. If you need to fix the plumbing, you go for the monkey wrench. If you want to look up extensive contact information about a reporter or media target, you reach for Cision. You know, your usual tools.

In PR, we use a wide variety of tools to help keep us on the ball. We have to maintain press contacts lists, coverage reports and keep up with reporters’ assignments. We use the following tools daily to ensure everything is just as up-to-date and organized as possible:


Cision homepage

Cision is the tool I use the most. Part of my responsibility as an intern is to create and maintain lists of relevant press contacts for our clients. We use these contacts to share exciting news and secure what we call coverage. That’s where Cision comes in. Cision is a database filled with contact information for individuals across multiple media genres. It is as simple as typing in a name, locating their correct publication and presto, you’re in the money. Cision also allows you to create lists and export them to excel, right from the database. Cision helps facilitate the PR-press relationship.


Factiva interface

In order to track coverage, we use Factiva as a resource. Within Factiva lives a database of articles written on the topic of your choice. You enter a keyword (i.e. a client name or product) and search for anything written on that keyword. You can also choose if you want results from a certain time frame, from certain calibers of publications and more. This helps us understand just how successful our efforts were.

HARO (Help a Reporter Out)

HARO interface

Though a lot of PR is reaching out to the press, sometimes the press reaches back! Help a Reporter Out sends daily emails filled with reporters needing assets, or pieces of information, to complete their articles. Oftentimes reporters are looking for something specific that one of our clients can provide. This helps fill their need and gains media coverage all at once. HARO allows us to give a little love and get a little love in return!