This is part of a biweekly series on tools, resources and apps to help PR and media professionals be more productive and effective.
BrandMyMail is a service that enables users to add real-time social media content in the body of their emails. The tool brings emails to life by making them more social and dynamic.
Instead of including a plain signature with your name, contact information and links to your social media accounts in plain text, BrandMyMail users can add actual content from their social media accounts, along with other "plugins," into the body of the emails they send. This offers a great way for PR and media professionals, especially independent professionals, to establish connections and promote themselves with every email they send.
Once a visitor to BrandMyMail's website clicks on the red "Get Started!" button on the home page, they'll be asked to tailor a template, which can include a variety of components, including a customizable signature, social media content boxes (which plays nice with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Picasa, Quora, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr and others), images, blog and RSS feeds, and more. Users can choose from a variety of designs and three layout styles. The simple drag-and-drop functionality of this process makes it easy for users to format their BrandMyMail emails just the way they want.
After finalizing an initial template, the user will be asked to create an account by signing in with their Gmail account (BrandMyMail only works with Gmail at the moment). Once an account is created and the browser extension is downloaded and enabled, the user can write an email, choose the template they want to use and send a BrandMyMail email. Users can also choose to preview the email before sending it out.
While BrandMyMail users will see distinctive "Send" and "Preview" BrandMyMail buttons in their Gmail interface, the normal "Send," "Save Now" and "Discard" buttons will remain visible. In other words, activating a BrandMyMail account doesn't mean all your emails have to use a BrandMyMail template.
The free basic BrandMyMail plan offers all the basic functionalities mentioned above, but doesn't offer certain plugins, statistics, corporate features and support, among other limitations. There's a paid premium plan (which users can try out for 14 days for free) that offers some of the features missing from the basic plan, and a corporate plan is in the works.
BrandMyMail works on Firefox and Chrome, as well as on the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, MS Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, Opera Mail and others SMTP clients.
Using BrandMyMail templates will help PR and media professionals stand out from the crowd, while making it easier for their contacts to connect with them online.
Another tool for reporters is ProfNet, a service of PR Newswire, has helped journalists and experts connect since 1992. Writers can search the ProfNet Connect database of more than 50,000 profiles; send a ProfNet query by email to thousands of subscribers around the globe; or get timely experts and story ideas by email.