It’s no secret that I’m a fan of PitchEngine, a “new kind of social PR platform.” I’ve used it to share my customized stories and to be found. Because PitchEngine has launched its new platform with enhanced SEO capabilities, I thought it would be a good time to update you on the progress.
Jason Kintzler, who is the founder and CEO of PitchEngine, was kind enough to answer a few of my questions regarding how PitchEngine and PitchTM are helping communications professionals. Here’s my interview with Jason:
Q. Tell me about the new PitchEngine platform and how it helps businesses and PR professionals to tell their stories?
At a basic level, it enables anyone to package their story content – text, multimedia and more – into a nice little package we call a “Pitch.” From there, your pitch starts connecting with your contacts, followers and fans. It plants its feet in major search engines so that people looking for you can find out what your story is, not just your address and phone number. It’s like the old Yellow Pages ad, but interactive and mobile.
Q. Why is search engine optimization so important today for companies as they share content?
As Brian Solis puts it, “Everything starts with search.” He’s right. SEO has been important for several years and many of the bigger brands have been able to leverage it. Our platform has really opened that process up to businesses and PR firms of all sizes. Think of it this way – everyone who comes to PitchEngine and creates a pitch has the same goal – to get the word out. Because of this, our authority in search has risen which can be leveraged by the crowd. We call this, “co-op seo.”
We were fortunate enough to partner with Jeff Herzog, one of the pioneers of the SEO industry for our new platform. I’ve learned more than I could’ve imagined in the last 18 months. It’s not just about having your story found, it’s about providing backlinks from an authoritative site like PitchEngine to your own corporate site. That’s why you can’t just do this stuff on a blog, for example. The real story here is that SEO used to be limited to big businesses and computer ninjas. Now, we’re providing it in a unique way to the weekend garage band or coffee shop.
Q. What are some of the greatest features and functions for professionals on the new platform?
Understanding the need is a big deal. This is a new kind of publishing mechanism. Unlike a blog or your website, which is on an island, a pitch is mobile – interacting with your site, social networks and search engines. We’ve had a year to hear what our users were looking for. We’ve spent months thinking through all of it on many levels. For the PR Pros, we’ve cooked-in new distribution methods like our media database partnership with MyMediaInfo and Technorati blogger outreach. We’ve also put a focus on more analytics for each pitch as well as the Supercharged SEO offering, which is really amazing. We’ve also tried to accommodate the PR agency by making it possible for agencies to have multiple users, all logged-in at the same time, working on various accounts. Agencies will even be able to resell or pass through the costs to their clients directly. We’ve tried to live by a few rules. Most importantly – simplicity is key.
Q. How has PitchEngine and the Pitch changed traditional PR, in terms of news release distribution and pitching story angles to journalists?
The best thing I ever did was create PitchEngine from scratch to serve the needs of PR pros and media – of all levels of experience and understanding. We didn’t build a “me too” kind of product, which has resulted in competitors trying to insert “social” into their traditional PR methods to keep pace. As you well know, it doesn’t quite work that way. You cannot make a press release “social” by adding a few share buttons. It’s a new ball game, and it doesn’t start with a traditional press release. As brands and businesses, we have to stop trying to get published and start publishing ourselves. If you wanted to see a great article about your client’s product or event, then write it, because it’s never going to be published the way you want it if you’re relying on a third-party to do it. If a journalist and/or news outlet finds your news compelling (which may be a result of 1,000+ people already finding it compelling on Facebook or Twitter), then they will cover it. Journalists and bloggers are news consumers, just like the rest of us. If they find something interesting, they’ll tell they’re readers. (Ex. David Pogue Tweets Release to 1.3 Million.)
Q. How often is too often to tell a story to bloggers, the media, customers, and other stakeholders? Should there ever be a limit to your Pitch?
I think it varies by the subject matter. Most companies don’t share frequently enough. We’ve been able to help large public companies share their feel-good stories with their customers and investors. Before, they’d never take the time to draft a press release and pay for it to be distributed through a newswire. Plus, no media cared to write about the “fluff” that might actually be important to your brand. In this new media age, we have to build a bond with our customers or readers and sharing is a great way to do this. Be concise. Write well. But, write often.
Q. What’s next for PitchEngine with respect to social media tools and technology?
I get a little choked up thinking about it. Our vision for where to take things is grand and I believe in my toes that we can accomplish massive change. Instead of trying to push content at people, we’re going to make it findable. We can’t predict all of the technologies that will arise, but I guarantee we’ll be a driving force. We’ve been open to new partnerships with other emerging technologies that share our vision, and you’ll see the results throughout the next few months. If the old traditional services out there can keep pace, we’ll all be better served. That’s what makes it fun.