Most of the research we do is long lead; we have time to develop and execute a reasonably robust methodology. However, given the nature of PR, we also regularly get last-minute requests that require an immediate response (10 minutes to profile a reporter, give an analysis of top industry trends, etc). And sometimes the information we have in-house is not enough.
With quick & dirty research in mind, I am always on the hunt for free tools I can use to jazz up a 10-minute analysis. Wordle, Google Trends and BlogPulse Trends are old standbys, but I absolutely love all of the new tools that keep popping up, especially around social media visualization.
Here’s one Forbes (thanks for flagging, @shanlaw!) pointed to this week: Mentionmap. It’s an interactive tool for exploring social networks on Twitter, including connections between users and hashtags. Unfortunately, the methodology is a bit vague – Mentionmap does not specify the date range of the analysis, what constitutes a ‘communication’, or the tie strength cutoff points for appearing on the graph. With those unknowns, I can only recommend it for a quick & dirty toolkit, but it’s a cool addition to a basic 10-minute profile.
What are your favorite tools for quick & dirty research?