PR pros have a new way to connect with reporters

By Marjorie Comer

telephone-586266_960_720-641331-edited.jpgAxia reviews the Upitch app

Building a strong relationship with journalists is a key component of public relations. It ensures you aren’t pitching a story to the wrong person and creates a connection you can leverage for future stories. However, as technology evolves, newsroom staffers continue to get cut and journalists get more and more jaded. This means that making a journalist’s life easier is another key component of PR.

One way you can make journalists’ lives easier is by using online resources such as HARO and ProfNet. Axia Public Relations successfully connects with journalists who are looking for specific sources using these platforms.

To that end, we decided to test the relatively new Upitch app. Read on to see what we found.

Overview

Currently available only for iPhones, Upitch is like Tinder for journalists and PR pros.

PR pros use the app to draft and distribute pitches, which journalists can then view and swipe either left or right respectively to either dismiss or connect with the PR pro about his or her client.

PR pros have a very limited amount of space to catch a journalist’s attention with a title, summary, pitch and at least one image.

  • Title: fewer than 50 characters
  • Pitch summary: 200 characters
  • Pitch: 400 characters

From there, searches can narrow by location and topic keyword, such as “beauty,” “business,” “entertainment,” “family interest” and more.

Once a journalist swipes right, expressing interest in a pitch, she moves to the matches screen. The pitcher then uses the chat component of the app to start a conversation with any matches.

The app does a good job of walking you through the process of setting up your pitch. If you are a PR pro, you can even upgrade your account to allow you to have multiple pitches available to journalists at one time.

Feedback

Prior to downloading Upitch, my biggest concern was how many reporters were actually using the app. Unlike HARO and ProfNet, you don’t really know whether journalists are really using the platform and checking out the pitches, nor do you know how many pitches might already be in the business and finance category, for example, or the health and wellness category or whichever category you choose.

The analytics section can give you a percentage detailing how many times journalists opened your pitch, but it doesn’t tell you whether it was one journalist opening it multiple times or who it was who opened the pitch.

With such a small character count, the pitcher needs to catch the reporter’s eye right off the bat. This may lead straight into the trap of using those “cringe-worthy” words like “innovative” and “pioneering” that make journalists want to automatically dismiss a pitch.

Another point of concern: Journalists want their lives to be easier, but they’re already inundated with everything from pitches and cold calls that don’t apply to them to impending deadlines and having multiple beats to cover. They may not want to download another app or have to search for the right type of pitch when they can use a specialized and trusted service like HARO to get the exact kinds of stories or sources that they need.

Results

I originally tested a pitch about a tax expert as tax season was quickly approaching. I set the date to 14 days out and waited. After that, I submitted a pitch about a client who is a world-champion kickboxer-turned-franchisor. Neither pitch found a match.

A quick search online for Upitch success stories isn’t very fruitful, either. Upitch lists well-known media outlets with journalists who downloaded the app; however, people who successfully used the app aren’t posting about it online.

One way to improve Upitch would be to let pitchers know how many reporters swiped left on a given pitch. That way, a PR pro would know whether he should change the content or category of his pitch or in order to receive a better response.

If you’re looking for a new way to pitch, Upitch is worth a try; just know that you may find that your normal strategy for getting your news out may actually serve you better.

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marjorie-comer-axia-pr.jpgMarjorie Comer is an award-winning PR professional at Axia Public Relations. She graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication. Marjorie cheers for her hometown Kansas City Royals. Marjorie has worked for Axia Public Relations since October 2011. Follow her on Twitter @Marjorie_Comer. Learn more about Marjorie Comer. Read Marjorie’s recent blog posts below.

 

 

Featured image credit: Creative Commons

Topics: Public Relations, Featured, Media

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