Today I interviewed Jason Kintzler, founder of PitchEngine. Jason has been a journalist, television anchor, PR guy and is now the founder of his first web startup. PitchEngine was created out of Jason’s passion for media and a desire to close the technology gap between media, PR pros and business in general. PitchEngine is something that I’m very excited about and think that anyone who is involved in PR should give serious consideration to using.
Why do you think PR and social media fit together so well?
One of the biggest pieces of social media (that often gets over looked) is the technology aspect. Social media isn’t just about the conversation, it’s about sharing content like videos, photos, comments and more. That part alone is a natural for PR pros who are interested in delivering media PR assets. It replaces the need for a printed press kit and saves them time and money on image CDs, folders, etc.,
I also think from a business marketing perspective that PR people are critical to engaging consumers. Marketers tend to “push” brand content out to consumers, where (good) PR pros are more likely to engage with them and develop relationships with consumers – similar to that of media. Either way social media certainly blurs the lines of marketing and PR – something everyone is very excited about.
How would you describe a social media release to someone who has never heard of it before?
That’s easy, it happens all the time! Traditional press releases are limited in functionality and flexibility – A rigid Word document with type. Maybe an embedded, low-resolution image or a few links are included. PR pros must find ways of providing high-res images, video, logos and other content to media contacts and then figure out how to deliver it – email attachment, press kit by mail, image CDs, etc., Sounds pretty frustrating doesn’t it? Add to the fact that no one does it consistently, which makes media crazy.
The social media release is like a micro-website that allows PR pros to include all of the assets in one nice little package. It can be tracked, archived and is living – since it’s comment enabled media can add comments and questions at any time, while PR pros can make changes whenever they want- unlike a printed and circulated traditional press release.
Why should a business who has always distributed traditional print press releases consider creating and distributing a social media release?
It’s no secret that I don’t believe the current methods of PR distribution are flawed. You take rigid Word docs and pay to send them out to as much media as possible. Seems like all those flyers you get in your mailbox at the Post Office, doesn’t it? With an SMR like PitchEngine’s, users not only learn how to engage in social media, they also become better PR people delivering more concise pitches in a clean, web-enabled format. I do think the transition will be gradual, so the two formats can certainly live together for the time being.
How is PitchEngine different from other internet PR services that are available?
The big PR services out there all involve distribution via wire services. There are a couple services that provide ways to include web-enabled content for distribution through those services. Unlike those services, PitchEngine wasn’t designed to accommodate traditional distribution services, it was designed as a tool for PR and media, that’s a big difference. It’s far more social, and hands-down the easiest of all those services to use- that’s not coming from me, it’s coming from the great feedback we’ve been receiving since our alpha launch last month.
What does the future hold for PitchEngine?
Well, I have to hold some stuff in reserve, but I can tell you it’s incredibly exciting. Getting off the ground is the first step, and making sure the users are getting everything they want is key. We’re working on partnerships with other innovative social media applications and finding more ways to change the game entirely. PitchEngine lends itself very well to an international user base – I think you’ll be seeing some rapid growth there very soon.
I’m not afraid to challenge tradition. I don’t answer to board members, share holders or web “experts” and I believe that will allow PitchEngine to remain innovative. Users will ultimately decide the future, and from the response so far, they’re hungry for it. It’s wide open, and that’s very exciting.
PitchEngine makes it possible for PR pros, brands, and agencies to build and share digital, social media releases (SMRs) with their contacts for free. The SMR takes the press release to the next level, eliminating the need for antiquated email attachments, word documents, image CDs, and more. PitchEngine SMRs can then be delivered by email or via integrated social apps like Twitter or FriendFeed. Users and media recipients can also post them to Facebook, Digg and other bookmarking/news sites. PR pros can upgrade to a customized Newsroom for their brand or client where we’ll host and archive all of their SMRs. The media side of PitchEngine (coming soon) will offer media the ability to filter press content and even approve or deny pitches from PR pros.