I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: for the most part, the things I do on a daily basis as a public relations professional I was never taught in college.

Sure, I mastered AP style and press releases in school, but most of the tactical components of public relations are learned through hands-on experiences.

So what tools do I use on a daily basis? The first is quite simple: Google.

Here’s how:


Certainly, your media database/monitoring service and Google Alerts are great for monitoring client mentions. However, most of the time, these take some time to be collated. Most client mentions I find are by using Google search tools and setting the time to “Past 24 hours.” The alert that pops up in my inbox could come hours later, with your monitoring service taking up to a day.

As a PR professional, you should be the media maven and know who is talking about your client before your client sees the news, allowing you to handle any urgent crisis management or follow-up. If your first thought in the morning is to Google your client, you’re doing it right. Or, maybe I’m just obsessed!

Media List Development

Now, back to your PR software. For media list development, PR software is of course great for pulling the names of outlets in spaces you are not familiar with and finding contact information. However, for the most part, selecting your contact should and will require a great deal of Google searching, site searching and reading.

The same Google practices I mentioned above for monitoring should also be applied to your client’s competitors and key product/service/industry terms that apply to your client. News doesn’t stop just because you’ve “completed” your media list or didn’t plan to pitch today. Keeping your eye on the space as noted above is a great way to continually keep your media lists up to date and update your pitching strategy.

If a client asks, “Why wasn’t I in this article?” you want to be able to say that you’ve seen it and have already been in touch with the author, not react like a deer in headlights.


If you’re a visual person, another great way to stay on top of news in your industry and in general is Google Trends. Google’s Top Charts, for example, depict the search topics with the largest search volume in a period of time in a variety of categories. Google Trends can help to inspire content, but it’s also fun to be aware of what’s trending online.

PR Pros: What’s one of the most crucial “tricks of the trade” you’ve learned through your practice?

PR Newbies: What else would you like to learn from our PR pros?

Tell us below!


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