By Robert Wynne, Contributor

You can find almost anything on the internet, for free, if you have enough time.

There are millions of pages on public relations alone. Many sites promise to write and place articles for clients for free (or a small charge). I would suggest avoiding them. Finding, nurturing and keeping media contacts, and learning how to craft pitches and compelling stories, isn’t free and doesn’t come cheap, nor should it.

Instead, we found 10 great public relations sites that provide original information and present valuable columns on PR. Many offer webinars, news on journalist hires and fires, tips on jobs, interviews with reporters and advice for PR professionals and students of all experience levels across many industries. Some ask for your contact information and try to sell you services such as media lists, media monitoring, social media, promotion, etc., so be aware of that. But still … going back to college from the comfort of your couch can be a good career refresher.

To sharpen your skills, network online, find cool events and keep up with the latest trends, here are the best PR blogs, newsletters and websites you can read or sign up for online. Think of them as continuing education at a fantastic price. Here are my Top 10 PR Blogs in alphabetical order:
(Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

Bulldog Reporter

Style: Short, punchy writing and easy to navigate.

 

Boilerplate: “The Daily ‘Dog offers timely, insightful PR news and feature content that drives traffic and builds an online community of PR practitioners, agencies and service providers. The mission of the Daily ‘Dog editorial team is to bring together the best minds, practices and tools in PR …”

Sample article – “Earned Media is more essential than ever in today’s modern communications model.”

Fun feature – “Winning PR” column with self-reported success stories from agencies about how they promoted their clients that’s timely and full of practical advice.

Cision Newsletter

Style: Colorful and very professional, the Cision blog is well organized with best practices, media updates, trends, news, influencers and other PR essentials. One of my Top Three Favorites.

Boilerplate: “Keep up with industry news and trends on Cision Blog.”

Sample article – “5 Ways to Tell a Brand Story with Instagram.”

Fun feature – “Top Lists” such as “Top 10 Staffers at InformationWeek.”

Holmes Report

Style: Very important for those interested in the news and views from the big agencies, the site is very corporate.

Boilerplate: ”Charting the Future of Public Relations.”

Sample article – “Are In-House PR Leaders Using Twitter Enough?”

Fun feature – The Influence 100 of 2015, The 100 senior corporate communicators profiled in this book are senior counselors to some of the most powerful CEOs in the world.”

Measurement Matters

Style: This is all about the writing and the metrics, which is a good thing. Straight to the point with technical metrics that can be valuable.

Boilerplate: “Get the buzz on measurement and analysis through our leading PR blog.”

Sample article – “The PR and Social Media Cheat Sheet #195.”

Fun feature – None.

Meltwater

Style: Hip and trendy, this blog is where the cool kids go. Clean designs and full of case studies, lots of insight (webinars, e-books, reports) and well-written blog articles. One of my Top Three Favorites.

Boilerplate: “We believe that business strategy will be increasingly shaped by insights from the growing world of online data that lies outside of internal reporting systems.”

Sample article – “Back to Basics – 6 Social Media Mistakes Everyone is Making.”

Fun feature – Hit “insights” and click on any of the “Media Intelligence” or “Savvy …” articles and white papers for timely info.

Muck Rack Daily

 

Professional, accessible, easily scrollable, MRD combines news, insights, trends and job pitches as well as any site in covering the media and PR. One of my Top Three Favorites

Boilerplate: “A digest of journalism on Twitter, written by journalists, delivered to your inbox daily.”

Sample article – “News About the News” which delves into stories and commentary about the media such as Gawker’s decision to pull a controversial story and the t resignations of two editors.

Fun feature – #MuckedUp Posts, covering new and relevant issues while illuminating how media outlets are covering it.

NewsBios

Style: An easy-to-read, smartly written blog on reporters that can help any PR pro learn something important before pitching their favorite journalist.

Boilerplate: “Home of the world’s most influential journalists. When you must know what is NOT in their official bios – get their NewsBios.”

Sample article – “The Inside Scoop on the ALS Ice Bucket Challange and What PR People Can Learn from It.”

Fun feature – “Do You Know Me?” Some of the best tales in the news business never get told, because they are about the journalists themselves.

O’Dwyer’s

Style: Straightforward, factual, this is the online version of the magazine.

Boilerplate: Inside News of Public Relations and Marketing Communications

Sample article – “PR Trumps Diplomacy for US Companies in Cuba.”

Fun feature – “Top PR Firms” section where you can see the best or largest firms by city, region, and industry.

Ragan’s PR Daily

Very good industry articles, clean modern design, PR case studies and guidelines, Media Relations studies/tricks, and more.

Boilerplate: “PR Daily is a daily news site that delivers news, advice, and opinions on the public relations, marketing, social media, and media worlds.”

Sample article – “Why PR Needs Liberal Arts Majors.”

Fun feature – Online Crisis section with targeted articles on hacking, social media, scandals and other relevant topics.

Spin Sucks

Punchy writing, hard-hitting topics, not the usual self-serving industry blather.

Boilerplate: Professional Development for PR and Marketing Pros

Sample article – Five Social Media Automation Myths Busted

Fun feature – “Special Author Q&A.”

All these publications offer some great reads. Now if we only had the time to read them all….

[via Forbes]