Latest Simplify Media News
Apr 24, 2023
Press Hook is a media relations platform company that connects media to brands and publicists at scale. And the company helps thousands of brands, publicists, and journalists connect with each other to facilitate newsworthy stories in a digital world. To learn more about the company, Pulse 2.0 interviewed Michelle Songy, CEO and founder of Press Hook. Michelle Songy’s Background Songy’s career path has been a bit different from most people in the industry. “Graduating in a financial recession led me to explore my own endeavors, and ultimately led me to found a mobile payment app called Cake in London. I had to self-teach myself PR on the go as a first-time tech founder, which was very difficult, time-consuming and I had zero connections to any journalists,” said Songy. “I tried every hack and stunt you could think of and eventually started getting a couple of pieces of press on my own for the business. I saw how powerful it was to my company in terms of investor and client interest in us. It also put us on the map as we were in a very competitive space, going up against and getting measured with huge corporations like Apple and Facebook.” Songy pointed out that she had to learn how to get scrappy while running the company full-time was super difficult. And Songy had no idea how to keep up with the media such as knowing who was writing about what or when and even how or what to pitch them at times. “It was a lot of lost time and effort and I was shocked by the lack of software and innovation in the space,” Songy added. “Eventually, I hired an agency but found them to face many of the same issues – it was harder to keep up with the media and land coverage. The media landscape changes often, there is high turnover, M&As, and journalists have tight deadlines with less time to write their stories. So there were a lot of missed opportunities.” Formation Of Press Hook How did the idea of Press Hook come together? “Press Hook is the first two-way, collaborative platform for journalists to connect with sources for their stories – think of it like LinkedIn meets Google for media. Businesses can create a digital press kit and include newsworthy content and brand assets so they can be easily surfaced by media as they use the platform to search a topic or keyword to find the relevant product, business, or expert for their story,” Songy explained. “It’s the first platform where media are in control of their own profiles and can input their beat, pitch preference, and more. Instead of other media databases that ‘scrape’ the internet and often have misleading information. Publicists can also join, create an agency account for their team and build digital press kits for each of their clients. They can also create press releases and then search for media by interest to pitch them on the platform.” Challenges Faced Building The Company What were some of the challenges that were faced in building the company? Songy reflected that starting Press Hook in 2020 meant they worked through a pandemic, facing unprecedented challenges on top of the usual startup concerns. The looming recession had caused more startups and companies to lack funding for growth and inflation caused their clients’ costs to increase, which means squeezing margins for marketing budgets. Plus the supply chain issues causes brands to not get product timely and properly plan their PR strategy. Then the latest bombshell was the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) so the company has been working on supporting the clients that were affected and helping them navigate their situations. Core Products For brands Press Hook enables brands to secure quality media exposure. Brands (or PR representatives for brands) are able to create and house your media-ready press kit and brand profile for journalists to easily find and access. Press Hook gets your products in front of journalists for relevant stories in real-time at a fraction of the traditional cost. For journalists Press Hook helps journalists get better sources, faster. And writers can explore press-worthy brands and their press kits for free and on demand through one convenient platform. Sample requests and trials are simplified through one streamlined platform. Source requests Press Hook has an AI-powered tool to help journalists and content creators file source requests for their stories and get immediate recommendations and responses from brands and agencies who fit the search criteria. And this feature enables journalists to speed up story writing by gaining instant access to a wider variety of expert sources. The tool removes the need for manual source-hunting, casting a wide net for journalists that can be easily narrowed down. And brands and agency users will also benefit from the feature, which will notify them whenever there is a source request that is relevant to their business. This service allows brands to focus their pitching efforts and build more beneficial relationships with journalists for future coverage. The AI element is also capable of ‘matching’ journalists and sources automatically. If a source or a brand and its products are highly relevant to a specific source request, the platform will recommend that brand to the journalist immediately, increasing the odds of brand coverage with no additional effort. If a journalist finds a match, they can initiate a conversation and request product samples or other source material with a single click, drastically reducing the overall time spent on source-hunting. AI-driven media lists Press Hook features an advanced AI media list generator. This breakthrough solution revolutionizes how businesses and agencies approach media outreach. Utilizing the cutting-edge machine learning algorithms from GPT-4, the world’s most powerful AI model, the AI Media List Generator allows PR professionals to pinpoint and target the most relevant journalists and media outlets with unprecedented accuracy and efficiency. Media lists are known as the backbone of PR campaigns to share timely news with a targeted audience. But until now, creating and maintaining such lists have been prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. But , with the introduction of Press Hook’s AI Media List tool, PR professionals can streamline their outreach efforts—a capability that has never existed before. Press release generator Finding the perfect way to communicate with the press is a major pain point for small to medium-sized businesses looking to dip their toes in the PR industry. And the Press Release Generator functions by simplifying this otherwise confusing process – breaking down a Press Release into just a few easy-to-fill form fields. After a user tells Press Hook the “what and when,” they use special prompts that are sent to OpenAI’s GPT-3 language model for processing. After just a few seconds, users receive a ready-to-edit and ready-to-send press release that will get them noticed. Pitch generator Press Hook has a new artificial intelligence-powered pitch generator that utilizes OpenAI’s GPT-3 language processing technology to help businesses and PR professionals generate editable, media-ready pitches within seconds. And the free pitch generator tool uses artificial intelligence and autoregressive language processing models to create formatted, human-like text that is pitch-ready. Users simply need to enter a few details into a simple form, including descriptions of the product, service, or story they are pitching, and the generator will instantly turn those answers into a pitch ready to send to journalists and content creators. Decision To Tap Into AI For Generating Pitches Why is Press Hook using AI for generating pitches? Songy observed that small businesses lack the knowledge and resources to know the best way to write a pitch to a journalist specifically and the result ends in a low-quality pitch or a pitch sent to a journalist that is not relevant to the story. “We configured the best practices, tips, and tricks from journalists and publicists to help create a better pitch style and structure, in the hopes that more brands craft a better pitch to the right reporters,” Songy commented. Biggest Milestones – Securing 10,000 press articles through our platform. – Reaching $1 million in ARR. – One client counted over 500 press hits secured through PressHook in their first year. – The company survived a pandemic, recession, inflation, and other supply chain issues in today’s business landscape. Customer Success Story – Sales boosted 30% in the first six months – 49 press hits and 37 sample requests in the first year – More than 1 billion impressions in top-tier media within the first year – 72 sample requests and press hits since August 2021. Funding/Revenue Press Hook has raised $1.5 million in total across 3 investors and from that grew to $1.5 million in ARR. “We decided against growth at all costs, and have instead driven towards efficiency and will be default alive very soon,” Songy noted. Total Addressable Market What is the total addressable market (TAM) size that Press Hook is pursuing? Songy pointed highlighted the $100 billion global PR industry as a start. Differentiation From The Competition Press Hook is the first AI-based media relations network. And earlier this year, Press Hook launched the communications industry’s first free generative AI writing tools with its proprietary press release and media pitch generators. “We are the first 2-sided marketplace in the PR/media tech space, for both brands and media to connect and collaborate with one another to create newsworthy stories,” Songy mentioned. “We are the first source request feature in the industry to allow journalists to write a request and automatically find relevant source needs.” Future Company Goals What are Press Hook’s future company goals? “To build the world’s largest AI-driven media relations network. To expand to other industries outside of CPG/lifestyle media to B2B, hospitality and professional services. To expand outside the US to more countries and offer a cost-efficient solution to businesses of all sizes to get media exposure,” Songy concluded. 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