Solo PR Pros are always on the hunt for great business tools. As a solo PR professional, you are an expert juggler — you keep all of your clients, projects, pitches, emails and processes flying through the air at top speed. Your work is often time-sensitive and highly nuanced, so top-notch time management and attention to detail are basic requirements for success.
Whether you’ve brought on a few team members to expand your business or you’re busy growing your solo shop, there will always be more elements to manage than any single brain can handle.
Fortunately, a plethora of online business tools are available to make your job (and your life) easier by automating tasks, tracking payments and workflows, and keeping you in touch with clients and colleagues. Many tools offer tiered pricing with free or low-cost options that are perfect for small operations.
Here’s a roundup of 34 business tools to help you lighten the load and level up your solo PR game.
⏲️ Tools to manage your time
If you bill clients by the hour, then having an easy and accurate accounting of how you spend your time is absolutely vital to your business. But even if you have a retainer agreement or charge a project fee, understanding where and how you spend your time can help you adjust project budgets and identify inefficiencies.
Toggl Track is a great option for freelancers and solo entrepreneurs, while Clockify and TimeDoctor help track hours and productivity across the whole team — whether you’re sharing an office space or distributed across the globe.
All three apps include robust reporting options, plus mobile apps so you can track those client lunches and press events.
A scheduling tool is great for managing how other people can access your time. Calendly lets people browse for openings in your schedule, eliminating the back-and-forth “whatever works for you” email chains. If you often need to route incoming inquiries in multiple directions, check out OnceHub — it uses automated chatbots to capture leads and funnel them to the right people.
✅ Tools to manage your tasks
There are enough project management tools out there to fill up their own blog post — and then some!
Popular options include Trello, Asana, Monday and ClickUp. And while each one has unique features, what they all share is a way to track the status of projects and tasks and collaborate with clients or team members through comments or chat capabilities. Some, like Notion, are almost infinitely open-ended, while others, like Todoist, tend toward minimalism.
Most have dozens of integration options so that you can easily pull in Google Docs or email threads, or create new tasks from your Slack channel. One tool called GQueues integrates seamlessly with Google Workspace so you can manage tasks right where you’re already spending your time.
When it comes to choosing a task management tool, identify a few essential features that will help you the most, then spend a little time understanding the structures and capabilities of a couple different tools. Although the possibilities are endless, keeping your project workflows simple will help you adopt and customize your new tool quickly.
💰 Tools to manage your finances
Managing money is an essential task in any business, and there are many great tools designed to help small businesses make it happen.
Whether you choose a classic provider like QuickBooks or a popular new service like Freshbooks (originally built for freelancers) or Expensify (designed to make expense reports a cinch), you’ll have access to invoicing and payment services, plus reports you can forward straight to your accountant at tax time.
🗣️ Tools to keep in touch with contacts
If you regularly find yourself typing lengthy, detailed emails to clients and co-workers, or popping into 10-minute meetings to explain how to run that one report (again), then you need Loom. This easy video tool quickly captures exactly what you need to say and inserts it into a message faster than you can type the words “per my last email.” Use the screen recording tool to effortlessly share processes during training or onboarding sessions.
Slack is a great tool for sharing real time communications between teams or across projects, without clogging up your email or text messages. Invite clients to collaborate on certain channels, and share attachments and silly gifs with ease.
Streak turns your Gmail inbox into a handy CRM for tracking prospective clients, media pitches or complex projects. You can also opt in to receive read receipts to know when people see your message, use mail merge to turn mass emails into 1:1 messages and split group email threads when someone changes the subject.
📰 Tools to find and pitch media contacts
If your Rolodex is looking a bit tired, it may finally be time to subscribe to a media database. PR tools like Muck Rack and Cision compile thousands of media contacts and allow you to search by name, publication, beat and past bylines. Create custom media lists and send and track personalized pitches, then monitor your coverage as it comes in.
OnePitch goes a step further by recommending journalists to its subscribers based on the details of their pitch. (Learn more from our conversation with OnePitch founder Jered Martin.) And for clients seeking podcast interviews, Listen Notes is the top podcast search engine for finding the perfect pod to pitch.
🖼️ Tools to create compelling visuals
As a PR pro, your words are your paintbrush. But sometimes a visual asset — a photo, an illustration or an infographic — can help drive home the point.
For royalty free stock photos and illustrations, turn to Unsplash or Pixabay — both offer a wide variety. Stock photography likely won’t be appropriate for most client work, but a pretty picture can bump up the visibility when you’re posting to your own blog or social channels.
Canva is an incredible design tool for graphics, reports, social posts and even business cards. Their integrated print services are fast, affordable and high-quality, and the infographic templates help you turn data into eye-catching visuals fast.
If you’d like to upgrade your presentation templates, check out SlidesCarnival, which has 200+ beautiful templates for PowerPoint, Google Slides and Canva. From professional to playful, these free plug-and-play templates are ready to go.
Brighten up your website with a curated selection of vibrant social media posts using Curator.io. Pull in posts from more than a dozen social networks based on username or hashtag.
👩💻 Tools to level up behind the scenes
Here are a few more tools to help out with all the other functions you may be juggling in your business:
- Krisp uses AI to neutralize background noise and echoes in virtual meetings — a great solution if your words are being recorded for publication.
- Otter quickly transcribes any audio recording — and can even take meeting notes for you — so you can focus on who’s talking and give your typing fingers a break.
- LastPass consolidates all of your passwords (for every client site, social media account, database, etc.) into a single sign on.
- Toby transforms your new-tab page into a dynamic dashboard for bookmarks. You can even save all of your open tabs into a link collection with one click of a button.
- Eversign and DocuSign allow you to collect legally binding electronic signatures from anywhere.
- Hectic appears to do it all. The comprehensive freelancer platform features CRM, project management, accounting, invoicing, calendars, time-tracking, scheduling and even proposals and contracts.
What business tool could you not live without? Leave a comment below to tell us about your favorite or tweet about it — be sure to tag us at @SoloPR.
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