As 2015 comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to evaluate your organization’s public relations efforts over the past year. That means pinpointing what worked, identifying what didn’t and making changes.

Now is also the time to start planning your public relations strategy for 2016. So, in preparation for the upcoming year, here are four tools your organization can use to advance your PR programs:

Host a Twitter Chat

A Twitter chat is a great way to reach your audience directly and position your organization as the expert in its field. So, what is a Twitter chat?

A Twitter chat is when a group of Twitter users meet – on Twitter – at a pre-determined time to discuss a particular topic, using a designated hashtag (#) with each tweet. The host or moderator will pose a series of questions (identified as Q1, Q2, etc.) to prompt responses from participants (identified as A1, A2, etc.) and lead the discussion. Twitter chats typically last for one hour.

NOTE: Not every organization uses the same strategy. Consider this when including Twitter – or any PR tactic – into your communications efforts. If Twitter is a good fit for your organization, use it.

Include Visuals Using Canva

In today’s content marketing world, visuals enhance your message. Canva is an easy-to-use graphic design tool – even a non-designer can create professional-looking images.

Canva Standard is the free plan with over one million stock images, photo filters, free icons and shapes, and hundreds of different fonts. It can be used to design social media images, e-blasts, infographics and much more. For additional features, users can upgrade to Canva for Work – a very affordable subscription service with more in-depth customization options.

NOTE: If you use design elements you uploaded and created yourself, the design can be used any way you like. However, if you use design elements from Canva’s library, it’s subject to their One Time Use License.

Measure Data with Hootsuite:

Take your content calendar a step further in 2016 and use Hootsuite to automate your content publishing to maintain your online presence without tying up resources. This tool allows you to manage your social media channels, schedule posts in advance and view analytics related to your online presence.

We recommend organizations subscribe to either the Pro or Enterprise plan. These plans provide the best options for managing a multi-channel, ongoing social media program. 

Increase Media Opportunities with HARO

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a media relations tool journalists use to request sources for their news stories. Subscribing to HARO will deliver an additional way to find media opportunities to pursue.

After subscribing to HARO, you will receive emails three times a day: at 5:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m. and 5:35 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. These emails will have media queries organized by different categories and should include requirements and a deadline for the story. A prompt response and a well-crafted pitch will increase your chances of being selected.

Are there any tools your organization is using now that you would add to this list? Share them with us in the comment section below.