What’s In My Tote: PR Edition

Professionals in the public relations industry are masters in subjects that range from crafting the perfect pitch to producing enticing campaigns. PR experts are fluent in social media and can practically write a press release with their eyes closed.

Inspired by @prgirlmanifesto’s “PR Pro Starter Kit” on Instagram, below is a list of valuable tools that many fellow professionals keep in their back pockets (or iconic 100 pound tote bags).

A planner/calendar.
In our swiftly-moving industry, no two days ever look the same. PR professionals may have a full schedule of client meetings one day and news interviews the next. When it comes to juggling a seemingly never-ending list of responsibilities, maintaining a detailed planner or calendar can play a pivotal role in keeping the professional’s to-do list organized.

With layouts ranging from daily to monthly, there is a large variety of online calendar and planner options to choose from. Some of the best calendar applications include Calendly, Doodle and Teamup. In addition, Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar are other popular options among web users. For individuals who prefer a more tangible approach, Business Insider has compiled a diverse list of 13 planners, providing the perfect planning option for everyone — whether they are mapping out their monthly goals or simply adding order to their overwhelming schedules.

Content scheduling apps.
It’s no secret that PR pros are expert “social” butterflies. In fact, on many of their laptops, a content scheduling tool is probably nestled into their list of most recently used applications. Content scheduling applications allow social media managers to plan their upcoming social media posts and set them to publish on preselected platforms automatically — leaving one less task in the aforementioned planner.

While trying to find the content scheduler most suitable to them, PR professionals may find themselves shuffling through a multitude of options before they eventually find their perfect matches. A few commonly used social media scheduling tools are Hootsuite, Buffer, TweetDeck, ContentCal, Sprout Social and Later.

The AP Stylebook.
The AP Stylebook is a guide for writing utilized by many companies in our industry. Known for its omission of the Oxford comma in a simple series, AP style is used by PR specialists to help relay information to journalists in their preferred manner. Because there is a wide array of AP style rules, keeping a copy on hand can be of the utmost importance.

A family of Apple products.
“Just following up,” the PR pro types on her MacBook, while sporting an Apple Watch on her left wrist and listening to music on her AirPods — all of which are connected to her iPhone.

As this scenario illustrates, Apple products like the trending iPad and the newly released iMacs are must-haves for many individuals in the PR industry. The stereotypical PR specialist has an assortment of apps installed on their Apple products — such as Canva, Slack, Adobe Creative Cloud and Zoom — that they use on an everyday basis. With the efficiency of Apple’s iCloud, they can begin an assignment on one device and complete it on another. 

The life of a PR pro is chaotic, but these specialists make it look easy by using essential tools like the ones outlined above. While this list is not mutually exclusive to the entirety of our industry, one or two of these items might just be your favorite PR professional’s go-to!


Mallory Westry is a student at The University of Alabama working to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in communication and information sciences with a major in public relations and a minor in communication studies. Her interests include copywriting, branding and social media management.

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