A few months ago I wrote "the hacker's guide to getting press" (http://www.austenallred.com/the-hackers-guide-to-getting-pre...) that distills the basic strategy and how someone could hack a solution together for free. Granted, it's nowhere near as elegant or simple as yours.
1. I'm not sure your questions are driven enough to create a short enough pitch. I tried it, and my pitch was 3-4 paragraphs long (2-3 paragraphs too long)
2. I know you think your pricing is fair, but you need a cheaper option for the lowest tier. Most of the people I talk to and work with are happy to shell out a bit, but $50/month is too steep. I would say $30/month is the right target, and that's month to month.
3. I got 10 results; trying through a Buzzstream scrape or a Google News scrape I'm getting hundreds. Part of the value is in quantity; I need to make sure that it is there. Are you only showing contact information if you can find it? What if you can't find it programmatically and I'm supposed to go out and find it on my own? I guess the question deals with the method, since this is one of the most difficult parts of reaching out to reporters.
If you said you put together a list of emails 10k in number I'd believe you, though I'd say a lot of those emails are worthless. I was a PR firm, or at least a founding partner in one, and those kinds of numbers aren't realistic if you're talking about having a valid, active contact and actually having some meaningful interaction with that journalist. PR, or at least PR done by professionals, is always quality over quantity.
The kind of PR you're talking about is what's provided by sites like prweb, which is just north of worthless unless your sole metric is the number of places that have re-printed your press release.
Most programmers here (myself included, I changed careers) would, I imagine, cringe if the marketing guy said he was going to do some of the coding. There's a reason programming is a profession and people who know what they're doing get paid well. Same goes for PR. You probably can build that iPhone app yourself, but you probably shouldn't. Leave PR to the people who do it for a living.
Having said that, most small companies shouldn't bother with PR. Small companies should focus on sales. I say this from experience having built companies and having done PR for companies from the largest (major airlines, telecom companies, hotel chains) to the smallest local businesses. Put another way, when we launched our PR agency we didn't PR ourselves -- well once, and it was a complete waste of time.
A mention somewhere might be neat but it's nearly worthless for a new company. If you don't believe me dig up the research on how valuable that mention in TC actually is.
When journalists start coming to you, hire a PR person.
There were a half dozen of us at working for dozens of clients for a few years. Some targeted mommy bloggers, others bigger tech publications, and of course we have great relationships with many major journalists. But when we didn't, we would email. And our hit rate wasn't incredible, but saying that the other emails were worthless is simply not true. Those emails resulted in millions of dollars of sales.
If "PR" means "getting a write-up in the New York Times" then sure, most small companies shouldn't worry about it. But for most of the companies we work with more write-ups in smaller blogs and the occasional TechCrunch writeup means more sales; it was a direct, causal relationship that worked (and works) wonders.
Yep, at least not the typical definition of "PR". Expand that to industry blogs about your niche though, and you might want to put some investment into that type of PR.
1. Your concern that the questions do not produce a short enough pitch: We try to ask as many questions as we can to help people think through why they are reaching out to this reporter and what specifically about this reporter makes them interested/relevant to what is being pitched. The final draft is not set in stone, people can edit that draft and change it any way they'd like.
2. Pricing - all plans come with a 14 day free trial. So anybody can try this for 14 days and see if it's valuable enough for them to keep using. Would love to have you and other just try for free and see. If pricing is really too steep, we can think about making this change.
3. You got 10 results - so we are trying to do only very recent articles, we are not looking at old articles since in some cases the reporter is not interested in topics they wrote about a year ago.
4. Email address - we have a LOT of work we have put into the app to make sure we get you the email address. We are shooting to do this for 100% of reporters. That said - we are in private beta, limiting to just 10 people right now and testing to make sure this is the case.
Shoot us a note through contact page, would love to chat further.
My first reaction to searching a phrase for my industry was "great!" -- I found 5 articles written by reporters over the past few months.
My second reaction was "Wait -- these are stories they just wrote. If I reach out to them, their response is going to be 'Thanks - but would have been great to know about you before I wrote the story!'"
One of the things our PR firm did very well was have a connection to reporters so that they knew about us before the story got written.
If the story's already done, unless they have a beat on the same topic, then isn't it already too late?
Introduce yourself and tell them briefly what you're doing. Then do quick checkins with them every ninety days or so. When they write the follow up story it's highly likely they will reach out to you. You will probably accomplish more than you could with a limited PR budget.
You will be creating connections of reporters instead of your PR firm, and you will maintain those connections.
Shoot us a note through contact link, be happy to explain more.
I think all of these services that make PR easier are great, but I'm not sure that I see the value here over your competition.
As much I think having a PR pro help you with your pitch is important, I think our machine learning differentiates us from this site and other list-building hacks.
We use machine learning to create custom media lists by comparing the pitch to reporter archives and what they've written over the last 6 months. Everyone else uses simple keyword matching.
I'm not familiar with PressFriendly, but it looks like they look through entire archives of what reporters have written and curate lists of reporters based on their past articles and their fit with your topic. Again, I'm not 100% sure.
Two different approaches, both helping people with the same issue. I think it's great to see companies such as PressFriendly around. There should be more of them around, this is a painful problem for companies and PR Firms is a bad solution.
Someone could just as easily fill the fields with junk just to get at reporters emails', I suggest implementing a character counter for the fields at the least to ensure content is being entered and not junk/useless data.
But good suggestion, will give that a try.
Try it for 14 days. Would be happy to hear your feedback.
Crossed the 60 second mark just now.
Where are you at? Send a note through contact form. Will do my best to send a beer your way.
EDIT: Just tried that search and a few others and all returned quite quickly. My initial search actually just hung forever, so I eventually closed the tab. Not sure how to reproduce, but hopefully just a fluke? I know no Dev ever wants to chalk something up to a fluke though...
(edit, I re-tried and it was fast, I guess site was HN'ed)
I use this: http://press.customerdevlabs.com/
Also, you don't need the form for asking ppl questions and formulating the email. That's the EASY part.. the hard part is automating the process of finding the journalists, and getting their emails. Just show me that list, and let me export via Excel. That's all. Everything else is plain overkill and dilutes your value proposition.
Again - 14 day free trial with all the plans, and we just launched private beta, so not much to loose here.
We want to make sure you are reaching out to highly relevant reporters with tailored pitches.
This makes no sense. How does this not yield basically a random pick and dismiss most relevant but less active journalists?
N.B. I searched for "travel"
14 day free trial.
Would love to hear any feedback you have.