Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from guest blogger, Jason Kintzler of PitchEngine. This is a terrific service that every PR practitioner should be using. So, get over there and sign up.
How it was born
I don’t claim to be a PR or social media expert, however I have had experience on both sides of the coin, as a journalist and as a PR guy. I’ve seen the disconnect between media and PR when it comes to technology, and I realized that there are better ways to close the gap and better media relations. That’s how PitchEngine came about.
The first phase of PitchEngine is the Social Media Release Builder which gives PR firms (large and small) the ability to create and share digital content easily. It differs from what’s out there today because it’s easy, it’s free and it’s designed to be shared via social methods instead of through PR distribution services.
Jason Baer shared the need for PitchEngine in a recent blog post:
“The hang-up with social media releases has been actually getting them built. Most PR folks are not Web programmers, and the very nature of what makes a social media release useful (tags, links, multi-media) makes it tricky to execute if your definition of high tech is inserting a footer in Microsoft Word. PitchEngine is out to change all that. Their slick, exceptionally easy online social media release creation engine is by far the best I’ve seen. Literally, if I took the time to explain what a “tag” was to my 9 year-old, she could make a release (it would probably be about ice skating or the dresses on The Titanic).”
The second phase, which we’ll be rolling out this week, is the Social Media Newsroom. Now, users will be able to create customized newsrooms for each brand they manage within PitchEngine. These Newsrooms host and archive current and future PitchEngine SMRs and can be added via link to a brand’s website (or integrated into a frame set or iframe on their site). This will be a subscription-based service for $600/yr. We’ll have more details up on the site this week!
This phase is the one I’m most excited about. Typical newswires offer media access to a selection of pre-determined RSS feeds full of traditional releases. The media side of PitchEngine will give journalists and bloggers unprecedented controls over PR content. Users can create a completely custom and individualized feed for their newsbeat, industry or category – no two feeds will be alike. Once a media user has a profile, they can send all PR pitches through the PitchEngine system, where they can approve or deny each of them based on their interest level. It’s an innovative platform that I’m anxious to unveil.
The need is apparent. People like social media consultant and blogger, Chris Brogan, are already sending PR people directly to the site.
“I’m going to refer EVERYONE who pitches me to the PitchFeed part of PitchEngine, ” Brogan said in his post on chrisbrogan.com.
The experts weigh in
I’ve read posts and tweets from a few critics of PitchEngine. Without much investigation, they’re quick to jump in and tell people that it won’t work or it’s a pipedream. I’ve heard how newswires are drawing parallels to their services and comparing apples to oranges. I believe PitchEngine competes with Microsoft Word more than it does with PR distribution services, especially at this early stage. I welcome the criticism. The beauty of a start-up like this is that my intentions are genuine and I have no one to answer to except our PR and media users.
The feedback from the alpha run of PitchEngine was incredible. Practically every user I invited fired back an email or a tweet expressing their appreciation for what we’re doing. That says more than any ‘expert’ opinion out there.
Deirdre Breakenridge from PFS Marketwyse and author of PR 2.0 posted this comment within a day of our launch,
“I think that you will really help many PR professionals to learn about the social media tools that are available in such a way that they will feel comfortable and confident with these easy to use resources.”
There are lot of people doing great things out there right now. From a PR perspective, I value the insights of people like Brian Solis and Todd Defren. Peter Shankman’s HARO is great example of someone pushing the boundaries beyond tradition in PR circles as well. My views may vary slightly, but it’s that spirit of change that drives me. I want to inspire others to rediscover their passion for PR and media. When that happens, PitchEngine will succeed.