You are working extremely hard on your PR; however, you have no idea what your colleagues are working on. Inefficiency is mostly caused by lack of awareness. It starts with the right tools for your PR activities. “With pr.co, you create, send, and measure your press and news articles with one tool, so that you can reach people you actually want to reach”, says Stefan Fountain, CEO of pr.co.
Stefan, how would you describe pr.co in one tweet?
“Our tool makes life easier for PR and marketing teams. Write, publish and pitch your stories with pr.co.”
What exactly does pr.co do?
“pr.co helps companies tell their story to the outside world, using an online newsroom – a sort of editorial space. You can spread all sorts of press or news articles using text, film, sound, or combinations of these. Besides this, pr.co is a tool to work together more efficiently with your team, because you see what everyone is doing and you can assign tasks to colleagues. After creating your content, you can send it via the platform to journalists, and share it on your social media channels. You see who opens it and this gives you more insight into the value of your content.”
Who is the newsroom for?
“pr.co is for every entrepreneur that is dedicated to the marketing and communication of his or her company, for what purpose does not really matter. For example, when you are looking for investment, it is not only important to show the numbers. The impact that you are making with your news is what pursues investors. A newsroom has a professional look and it generates traffic.”
How did pr.co originate?
“That is a funny story. A lot of companies want to get features in the news, but struggle to get there. They often send out a random Word-document to a journalist asking ‘would you write something about us?’, while that journalist may be experienced in a whole other field of business. The Next Web led us to make the connection between companies and journalists, and ‘Pressdoc’ was born. This eventually became pr.co, located in TQ in Amsterdam.”
Why the name change?
“When we entered the American market, we found out that when an American hears the word ‘doc’, they think of a doctor instead of a document. Therefore, the name did not serve the purpose of the brand story, because what is a press doctor? This led us to change our name to pr.co. Besides the fact pr.co is a rare two-letter name, the ‘pr’ in pr.co of course stands for public relations.”
How do you make the match between journalists and companies?
“With the CRM system, you keep track of you press contacts and you can send them your news articles. Through constant analyses, the system learns which journalists are specialized in which area of business, which results in a better match between the company and a journalist. Subsequently, you can track which receiver thought your message was interesting, and based on this you can assemble your next mailing list.”
What does it cost?
“The basic package, ‘publish’, is the newsroom and that costs 49 euros per month, an amount that is also attractive for startups. If you have a larger team, or if you are active in different parts of the world, then you can use add-ons. The size of the organization and the level on which the newsroom is used, determine the total cost.”
What are add-ons?
“Add-ons are functionalities with which you can extend your newsroom. At the moment, pr.co offers three add-ons: ‘outreach’, ‘collaborate’, and ‘global’. With ‘outreach’ you distribute content. With ‘collaborate’, you stimulate your team to work together. You can assign tasks to team members, which saves a lot of meeting time. ‘Global’ facilitates worldwide teamwork, so that communication is enhanced, newsrooms are made in different languages, and you publish the right content for the right country.”
What is the main progress you made in the last year?
“That is the add-on ‘global’. We launched this three months ago. With this, we help companies in the whole world to tell their brand story in a consistent way. Users tell us that it helps them work together more efficiently with colleagues in other countries.”
In what way does a user save time with pr.co?
“In PR, you spend a lot of time on making lists, looking up files and having meetings about division of tasks. PR.co offers a process optimization for yourself and your team. Most of the time: the bigger the team, the bigger the efficiency problem. We offer a platform that facilitates a quick communication with both colleagues and external parties, which saves you a lot of organization time.”
Can’t you just do that via e-mail?
“When you are active in different countries, for instance, communication often is problematic, or there is a total lack of it. The advantage of a newsroom relative to e-mail, is that you are actively aware of what your team in another country is doing, what the status is, and where you should jump in to help.”
What is the effect of a newsroom?
“In the long-run, you have built up a credible brand story that you can build further on. With a newsroom, you effectively tell a story that leads to response and impact. People will believe you sooner when you are consistent in this. Also, it is good for visibility in the media: you reach journalists that fit your brand.”
Which newsroom on pr.co do you like the most?
“Two jump into my head: Wetransfer is one of them, which I really like for their brand story and the way they are carrying it out with their newsroom. The second one is VanMoof, which I find very cool and inspiring. They can turn something common as a bike into an innovative product, by making bike theft something of the past. Our designer made a newsroom for both parties that perfectly fit their brand story.”
Is there competition?
“Google Docs and Office 365 are the bigger competitors when it comes to collaboration in teams. Besides this, you have companies that make pr-software, like Cision in Chicago. This is a media database that has been around for ages. You simply buy a list with media contacts there. You reach a lot of people with it, however the disadvantage is that your article usually ends up in a black hole of hope, and you just hope that a journalist picks up your story.”
What makes you unique?
“Pr.co is focused on telling a brand story in a professional and teasing manner. The combination with CRM makes sure you can keep track of your contacts and media. This option is not available in services like Office 365 or Google Docs.”
Do you work together with partners?
“Yes, and we are glad to work together, especially with PR agencies, of which some of them also use pr.co. The reason for this is that we do not produce content ourselves. Pr.co facilitates the platform where your brand story is told, for content creation we refer you to a PR agency.
How is pr.co useful for marketers?
“Marketing and PR are closing in on each other as a discipline. You should know who you want to reach, but also how you make a good paid add. What is the message that you want to tell, and how do you tell it? Those two areas of expertise need each other increasingly more. Marketers can use pr.co to integrate their content calendar, and then analyze which PR campaigns are effective. Because of these insights, you can continuously improve your marketing strategy.”
What is currently on your agenda?
“We are continuously working on our product, for which there are a few updates coming up, among others ‘PULSE’. The updates are already available as a private bèta, that our customers can ask for.”
What is PULSE?
“Due to the overflood of news, it can be difficult to discover trends. With PULSE, you get a good image of what is going on in your industry. PULSE uses a machine learning algorithm, with which we analyze publications in a specific industry. We retrieve information that might be interesting to your company. You get insights into which journalists write about your industry and what subjects are trending.”
‘PULSE’ is also a service of LinkedIn, what made you choose this name?
“We chose the name PULSE because with this update, you see what is happening in the core of your industry. The name represents the heartbeat of the industry, what happens, and how you can strengthen your message with it.”
What is the difference between PULSE and a regular news page?
“The purpose of a news page is to inform someone. For PULSE, the receiving company is the central target group, so you receive updates about the industry that your company is active in, not what is interesting for you as an individual. So, it is not about the news itself, but about the analysis of it.”
What does the future hold for pr.co?
“Besides the projects ‘PULSE’ and ‘Match’, we continue to improve our CRM. We are attracting larger clients worldwide, who also have more contacts and larger teams. This increase in volume brings challenges along with it, which we are preparing for each day.”
*) Find the original article on Emerce.