23 Smartphone Apps that PR Professionals Can’t Live Without

by Ronnie Manning

At last count, I think there are around 45 billion applications available for our smartphones and tablets.  The first application that everyone probably downloaded was either Facebook, Angry Birds or Pandora (Facebook was mine and I even downloaded a virtual pet, which I forgot about, and sadly, the poor guy went to virtual pet heaven).  But as more business oriented applications are developed and become available, I was curious to know which apps my fellow PR professionals use on a daily basis and can’t live without.  (I should state that I have no affiliation with any of the apps listed, just looking to share some good info)

I received great responses with the most common answers being the most common apps that many of you are probably already using – Facebook, Twitter (TweetDeck, HootSuite), LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Mashable, Google, and Yelp – so I wanted to focus on the applications that fell outside of this common group, some of which were new to me and I have since begun to use.  Most of these applications are multi-platform with Android and iPhone, I have listed which are iPad only. Enjoy!

Location Based Services / Social Productivity Applications

  • Around Me - AroundMe allows you to quickly find out information about your surroundings - find ATMs, drug stores, restaurants, coffee shops, etc.
  • Ban.jo – Ban.jo is a social discovery service that harnesses social updates happening across multiple networks and delivers them into one integrated view.  

“I work a lot with local venues and restaurants and use the app to see who is physically near; as the app aggregates all of my social media profiles - collecting my friends geotags - and allowing me to see their proximity to mine. When needing to recruit bodies in the door - in real time - you can open up the app to see what friends are near you and invite them to the venue or event within the app by tweeting them, etc.” – Kinsey Shoefield

  •  Foursquare – Foursquare is a location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore.  Clients and brands leverage the foursquare platform by utilizing a wide set of tools to obtain, engage, and retain customers and audiences.
  • myBantu – myBantu provides highly personalized assistance in matching desirable travel, entertainment and lifestyle queries based on individual preferences and social network. 
  • Plancast – Plancast lets you know about the events your friends and colleagues plan to attend as well as other events in your area.

News and Media Applications

  • Flipboard (iPad) – The application turns your Facebook, Twitter and other social content into a digital magazine inspired by the beauty and ease of print media. 
  • PulsePulse News that takes your favorite websites and transforms them into a colorful and interactive mosaic.
  • Taptu – Taptu lets you add your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the content from your favorite web sites and blogs via RSS and transforms them into visual streams. 

“Since discovering Taptu, I check it even before my emails each day.  I can create custom news streams for any topic and add any feeds or sites that I want to check daily.” Angela Neal

  •  Zite (iPad) – Zite scans over half a million web domains to find specific reading material that would be of interest, according to your social network and online reading behavior.

Business and Productivity Applications

  • Dropbox Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily via mobile/desktop. 

"The ability to instantly access, update, save and share files at the touch of a button is a godsend, especially at times when multiple collaborators are working on a single project or presentation.” Mike Lesczinski 

  • Evernote - Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your notable life using your computer, phone, and the web. 

“I use Evernote for dictating notes to myself (e.g., if hit with a brainstorm while walking the dog) as well as keeping permanent track of handwritten notes I take in Noteshelf and keyboard entry. Love that it syncs automatically and is available from every device.” Roger Friedensen  

  • Harvest - Harvest lets PR professionals track time and send invoices from one integrated application.
  • Instagram – Fast, photo sharing and editing.
  • JotNot Pro -JotNot uses your smartphones camera to be a multi-page document scanner.  

“We like JotNot Pro for scanning and e-mailing items when we’re on the go. It’s fast and convenient and the resolution is good.” Marisa Vallbona 

  • Noteshelf (iPad) - A handwriting app for the iPad that allows you to take notes and export.
  • OfficeTime – For Billing on the Go - Office Time is an intuitive and full-featured time tracking application. 

“OfficeTime is great for PR folks who primarily bill by the hour, keeping good track of time and tying that work to specific projects and clients is essential.” Kevin Doel

  • Springpad - Springpad makes it easy to save notes, products and places you want to remember – it automatically organizes and enhances what you’ve saved to help you be more productive.
  • SquareSquare gives businesses the ability to accept credit and debit card purchases anywhere, anytime. 

“Get the free tiny accessory that attaches to the microphone port on your phone and take charge cards with your phone. Nice for events and it’s free—-transaction fee applies but no monthly merchant fees.” Toni Antonetti 

  • Teuxdeux – TeuxDeux is a simple and nicely designed to-do list.  

“Teuxdeux is my favorite to-do list app ever, which says a lot because Ive tried out a number of them. . Teuxdeux is by far the cleanest and most simple task management app I’ve used.” Stephanie Stadler 

  • Toodledo - a task and note manager that helps organize your to-do list and notes, and make you more productive.
  • WorldCard - WorldCard Mobile uses OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to instantly transfer information from business cards to the your contact list.
  • Wunderlist – an integrated task manager, your to-do lists sync automatically over the internet and you can even share your lists with friends and colleagues

Personal Applications

  • White Noise - While traveling, use this app in hotel rooms that sometimes can be less soundproof than one would like.

It’s exciting to see the variety of available applications and how they help PR professionals on a daily basis, I look forward what the future brings.  If there are any applications that you use regularly and you would like to add, please feel free to leave in the comment section!

Thank you to all who provided input!