My colleague Chris Michaels blogged just the other day about crowd sourcing news in his post on Fusion PR forum.
This is the flip side to User-generated PR, a topic I just wrote about. Crowd sourcing and collaborating on news covers the demand side, drawing on the reach (if not wisdom) of the crowds to connect bloggers and news writers with sources and story fodder. It is a fascinating concept, and one that illustrates yet another way that the PR business is changing every day in response to Web 2.0 and social media.
One such service that has gotten lots of attention lately is HelpAReporter.com. Peter Shankman, the site's creator, lives and works not far from Fusion PR's office. He came in as a guest speaker for our internal education series this week. It sounds like his service is really starting to get some traction.
I have signed up, and it is indeed sending a steady pipeline of qualified inquiries, three times a day.
Also, I learned about Sally Whittle's GettingInk website when she commented on my blog. According to Sally:
This service has been running for several months now, as has a UK blog (run by me) called Getting Ink Requests, which provides free media requests by email, RSS, Twitter and on the blog itself. We're still quite new but have more than 1,500 regular subscribers and growing!
Another site I learned about recently is Andy Fowler's NewsVetter. We got to chatting based on a conversation thread on my blog about poor PR writing (with blogging you get collaboration, knowledge discovery and networking all rolled into one, isn't it a beautiful thing?)
I spoke with Andy at length about his novel concept. He has developed a site (still in beta) that lets people not only submit stories, but also provides a format that guides users through the process of writing a pitch. It provides pointers along the way, alongside entry fields for different parts of the pitch, and a handy checklist at the end.
If it is not cure for poor PR writing, at least it gets you thinking about how to organize your thoughts.
Further, the site promises:
News media review the submissions, provide feedback in the form of ratings and comments and, if warranted, contact news presenters to discuss possible publication of their story ideas.
He lets you share the pitch publicly, or you can mark it as private and instruct the site to forward your pitch to the desired targets.
On the demand side, reporters can sign up and indicate their interests. This is a key difference from the more established media databases, which are not opt-in (the last time I checked, anyway).
It seems the positioning he is taking is to be a step up from the sites that simply broker story opportunities and PR connections. His site seems to want to go to the next step to ensure that interchanges are productive. He spoke about some interesting plans such as adding all kinds of metrics tracking.
Andy impressed me with his research, and is obviously well connected. He has spoken with many influential people and it seems like he put a lot of thought and effort into the site.
Andy has some ambitious plans and may well be interested in taking on the heavyweights like Cision and Vocus. Although he has quite a ways to go, some very respected names in tech journalism that tech PR folks like myself know well and respect have signed on, earning credibility points with me and showing me that he may just be onto something with NewsVetter.
Here are a couple of other interesting concepts that I will explore further and blog about in a future post:
Fast Company writer Francisco Dao has created a Fast Company Buzz Pitch portal for people to pitch their buzz worthy stories. People vote for the submitted ideas, and the highest rated ones make his column.
And a service called Handshake 2.0, which my colleague Bennie pointed out to me today, appears to do the same thing.