It is no surprise that as we live continuously digital lives, connecting more often via text than voice, more often with a heart than a hug, the tools we use as professional communicators have also changed. It seems like new companies are popping up everyday, touting a new software-based solution aimed to automate or expedite those recurring tasks that make up the drudgery of administrative work. Sometimes the solutions seem to be attempting to provide a high-tech solution to a non-low-tech system that is already functioning, but others can drastically improve how we conduct our increasingly virtual work.
Of particular interest are emerging platforms that seek to better connect PR professionals and brands with journalists looking for stories.
The Tinder of Pitching
4,000+ PR pros/companies and 1,600+ journalists have signed up for the Upitch App, a solution created by Allison Kugel, who has a wide-range of experience both on the PR and journalist side. Basically, PR professionals upload concise story opportunities (400 words max) and then choose industry and geographical filters. Journalists are then able to swipe through targeted pitches and news items, and if interested, connect through the apps messenger feature.
According to Allison. “Our app has the capacity to move the industry away from email and onto a third-party mobile platform where both journalists and PR folks can pre-qualify each other.” Anyone who has every had an inbox will appreciate Allison’s goal to “alleviate the unending throngs of emails that journalists receive, thereby allowing them some anonymity and an easier, quicker way to discover potential stories to cover.”
Match.com for Product-based Businesses
While there is no swiping or winking, Media Leads makes getting press coverage for companies infinitely easier by working to connect members with actual editor queries. Instead of anticipating what an editor needs, crossing fingers and sending off a pitch, brands can simply browse through daily opportunities posted and find a perfect match. Aimed at the DIY PR crowd (but totally worth it for firms as well), the Media Leads team provides ongoing education and support – like sample pitches – as well as access to media contact information for those with a specific story to pitch. All opportunities are clearly marked paid if they are P2P and recent queries have included Marie Claire, Brides and Home and Design.
We have been an affiliate and partner of Media Leads for years and use them all the time for our gift-guides.
The Social Network for PR Pros and Journalists
A more robust solution, Babbler allows its users to organize media contacts into what are called circles, and build different media communities for easier, more targeted pitching, In addition, reporting and notifications each time a reporter visits or downloads brand content makes it easy to track – and take advantage of – interest. Similar to Media Leads, editors can also post requests for sources to help streamline the research and writing process. Just yesterday, they announced a new matching system that allows media to create subtopics around highly-specific beats.
We love seeing brands like The North Face and Clique Media Groups site Byrdie.com use Babbler to provide direct access to news and content in real time.
We default to email because that is our habit and our inbox acts as the launching pad for so many various initiatives. Setting up a brand presence on these platforms and remembering to login and use them feels akin to the growing pains of absorbing a new social tool into one’s content repertoire. However, if PR professionals and journalists successfully make the transition and move away from email pitching, each of these platforms offers powerful means to build relationships and keep clients in the press – a value not to be overlooked.