Everyone loves lists, and having seen some lists of recommended mobile apps for PR practitioners out there, I offer some of my own, apps I actually use as a social media and PR consultant.
1. Short Messaging – Whatsapp
Texting (short message service or SMS) is kind of antiquated and even scorned at by some younger people. So Whatsapp seems to have gained quite a bit of traction, and especially useful for PR practitioners to keep in touch with clients, journalists, and peers on various mobile platforms (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone). It is the easiest way to share ideas quickly, and even share low-res “comp” images on the road.
2. Writing and Publishing – WordPress
WordPress is one of the most loved blogging and content management platforms around, and is extremely easy to use at the basic level (if you are a content contributor). WordPress can be configured for use as a simple online newsroom, an audio-video news portal, social media streaming site, or an internal work-in-progress collaboration site (with password access if you like), if you host it on your server. With self-hosted WordPress done right (this requires a lot more technical expertise), you can allow peers to update and edit news releases and articles on your own WordPress sites or microsites anywhere (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone).
3. File Sharing – YouSendIt
I have tried many different file uploading systems, and for system administration and file uploading features, I would still stick with YouSendIt rather than some others. With YouSendIt, I can share clients’ large files like images, videos, and large documents with the media easily, without clogging up email hosts (email is NOT an efficient file sharing tool, period). YouSendIt has native clients on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
4. Dictionary – Dictionary.com
We in the communications business (journalists and PR practitioners alike) need a good usable dictionary, on or offline. You can find a whole load of dictionary apps for mobile platforms. Dictionary.com is one of those useful ones. Nothing too extraordinary, but important to writers nonetheless. You can pick the ad-free version for a small fee (worth it), or get the free version and have the ads served, on iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.
5. Encyclopedia – Wikipedia Mobile
Wikipedia is a great first-tier data gathering tool for communicators. It is far from perfect, but infinitely useful nonetheless. The official Wikipedia has a mobile-friendly web version, although if your mobile phone has sufficient storage, get an offline Wikipedia app that can store an entire single language Wikipedia database so that you can search and read Wikipedia entries even without an Internet connection. There are specific offline Wikipedia readers from various developers on iOS and Android.
6. Social Media Management – Hootsuite
Managing different social media accounts for clients need not be arduous for practitioners. It does not make sense to manage separately multiple clients’ accounts, each with multiple social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and so on. A centralized dashboard management platform is a must-have for serious practitioners. One such app with native apps is Hootsuite, with native iOS, Android and BlackBerry versions.
7. Audio Recording – iRig Recorder
Every journalist or PR practitioner has a reason to make audio recordings, for archival, for interviews, and for podcasts. There are many individual platform audio recording apps, including native apps that come with the mobile phones. One of the few cross-platform (iOS and Android) audio recording apps is from IK Multimedia – the iRig Recorder.
8. Video Recording – Socialcam
More people are viewing video, rather than listening to audio podcasts, or even reading text articles these days. A casual glance at social video platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo would show us how compelling an audio-visual medium can be. There are native video recording apps with video-capable mobile phones that we can use. There are also the rare few video recording apps that are cross-platform and nicely developed, such as Socialcam.
9. Project Management – Basecamp-related
Project management and collaborative writing is important to small and larger teams alike. I have used Basecamp for a long time, and although Basecamp is web-app enabled, there isn’t a cross-platform mobile app for the major mobile phone platforms other than iOS. However, because Basecamp is quite successful and used by many small and emerging companies, there are quite a few third-party Basecamp-compatible mobile apps. For iOS, there is Lodge, and for Android, there is SuitChamp.
10. Web-based Meetings – GoToMeeting or Webex
Distance is no longer an inhibitor to collaboration, and online meetings and even seminars and trainings are frequently conducted completely online (or a combination of online and analog phone calls). GoToMeeting or Cisco Webex are both great meeting platforms, although Webex works natively with the Blackberry as well.