Can you automate a PR media pitch?

Imagine a situation where your pitch is automatically sent out to the most appropriate journalists based on a series of automated analyses? Sci-Fi ? At the moment, yes. But, there are still a lot of PR functions that can be automated now and a number of Indian PR companies are offering their own automated systems designed to cut down on the grunt work in PR.

Says Sandeep Kalsi, CEO, Skribe, a digital platform for media insights and connections targeted at marketing communications professionals “ PR pros need to move into a world of PR automation, a natural sub-set of marketing automation. It’s not about ‘automating PR’ but how technology can leverage PR pros to be more effective in their roles and not just about managing and refreshing media lists that’s old school thinking!  Knowing who to engage with and how to start the conversation is a must.  In today’s age, PR pros time is better spent on creative, content creation and community building.  Data service providers like us understand media and can marry the web, technology and big data — to provide media intelligence and insights As in other industries, automation will play a significant part in the PR industry. “

Aakriti Bhargava, co-founder, Boring Brands says that, “Anything that runs like an algorithm in a PR professional's head can be automated. From creating lists, to tracking to measurement, everything can be automated, and we are slowly and steadily moving towards creating tools for such automation.”

Boring Brands has recently developed DOS under their digital PR tool platform Wizikey, a system that allows you to automate your media coverage reports. Wizikey also let’s you generate media lists based on your brand and industry and target them accordingly.

Bhargava feels automation will help to take away the tedium of media relations saying, “As young professionals from distinct backgrounds enter the industry, it is imperative that they see PR industry in its true colours and not just another assistant’s job profile. For that tech has to play a role in empowering the industry.”

Anurag Mittal, director, Click Stream Media Pvt. Ltd which owns press release distribution platform NewsVoir says that real time consumption of content means that “There are  some unique challenges for communications professionals who are faced with the task of not only creating the online/social media friendly content but also to ensure that it is relevant, informative, interactive, search engine optimised, has rich media elements and engages their target audiences. Automation of this process is something thing most of the PR and communications people grapple with.”

While PR pros do use mass distribution platforms such as News Voir, Businesswire and PR Newswire, to fine-tune content distribution, the soft skills work of pitching a story is a tough one to automate.

Can you automate a pitch in PR?
Christopher S. Penn, VP, marketing technology with Shift Communications in an article considers the question raised by Silicon Valley Watcher’s Tom Formeski that, “ PR’s challenge is that it is an artisanal, hand-crafted service operating within a brave new digital media world that rewards scale. Ad agencies, SEO services, Facebook, Google, Twitter, know how to scale their promotional work through technology.”

Penn believes that some of the categories in red below can be automated as they involve ‘machine’ as opposed to pure ‘ human’ elements:

Earned Media Hub PR Strategy 


Source: Shift Communications 

Penn says you can automate the online publishing chunk of owned media and large parts of paid media through digital advertising and programmatic buying as well as specific software applications such as Demand Side Platforms.

But the biggie, the media relationship pitch is not conducive to automation. However, there is case for automating the information required for making a good pitch just like a good KYC due diligence. This would include reporter story trends, news opportunities to pitch and brand details.

Indian Platforms such as WiziKey, News and Skribe are in very different ways-attempting to do that.

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