As much as the media landscape is shifting and consumers are turning to the social sphere for their news, I still find myself seeking local news from good local print and online sources. My area newspaper is the Asbury Park Press, which I enjoy reading every Saturday and Sunday morning. There’s also a community social network that really digs into what’s going on in my area. When it comes to local news, you just can’t get that from Twitter.
Now, maybe it’s because of my age (let’s just say that I’m over 40) or perhaps because we have teenagers at home, I’m interested in the news in our area. But, I believe that at any age you can find entertainment, sports, and news that will enhance your community life. This is one of the reasons I was so happy to come across a new service called Simple.PR, which is a free twitter newswire designed for local businesses to help them reach the local media. Simple.PR will also be launching a widget next month that enables bloggers to have a filtered twitter newswire based on location and category on their blogs.
The founder of Simple.PR is Eddie Kim, a student at the winter semester of founderinstitute.com. Before moving back to NY in July 2009, he lived in Shanghai, China for nearly four years where he co-founded NextStep, currently one of the largest business networks in China, NextStepDirectory.com and Tangential Consulting.Eddie is also a volunteer with Wokai.org where he is building out their online store.
My interest in Simple.PR is two-fold. As a PR person it’s great to see that local news lives and as a small business owner, I also know how difficult it can be to connect with local media due to lack of resources. I stumbled upon Simple.PR when I was checking my tweet streams a couple of weeks ago. After learning a little more about it, I tweeted out the URL to my friends. Within a few minutes there was excitement about the service.
Eddie reached out to me last week to thank me for my tweet and asked me if I wanted to learn more. Of course, with an interest PR, local media and being a small business owner myself, I couldn’t pass up the offer. For the record, I have no material connection to Simple.PR or Eddie for that matter. I’m just a passionate PR person/entrepreneur who wants to know what goes on locally in her community.
Here’s what why I like Simple.PR. It’s at no cost to small businesses. Although right now, it’s only in the New York area, Simple.PR has the potential to build connections between small businesses and local media in any area. The service, which is a Twitter based model now, allows the small business to tweet out their announcements or news with a hashtag, #simplePR. By using the #hashtag, the conversation is picked up by local media looking for story ideas. In many cases, Simple.PR will actually reach out to the media on behalf of the small business and their announcements, to make them aware there’s a potential story of interest.
To date, Simple.PR has about 3,000 to 4,000 small companies and over 40 media outlets within the New York area. The plans for the service, in the future, include building up their databases of both businesses and the media and providing a platform that allows small companies to build their own news releases and distribute them for $20.00 per news release to local aggregated news outlets. Simple.PR is not looking to compete against the many Twitter Clients that already exist. Rather the company hopes to be integrated into one of the popular tools to make it even better to use.
Simple PR is an easy solution for connecting local businesses with local media. At a time when resources are scarce and companies don’t have large media budgets, a no-cost service is a great option. I’m sure there are other business owners and PR pros like myself who enjoy their local news. What’s your interest in local news and how are you capturing it?