Scottish automated PR service PingGo targets global start-up market

A new do-it-yourself PR machine, PingGo, aims to making branding affordable for start-ups.

A new do-it-yourself automated PR machine, PingGo, aims to making branding affordable for start-ups.

With the rise in automation across business services, PingGo founder, Sarah Lee, believes PR is naturally next in line. Even journalism is being automated by the likes of the Associated Press, Forbes and the LA Times, suggesting new ways to streamline traditional industries.

“My vision is to democratise the PR industry so that lack of budget and experience are not barriers to a company getting media attention.  It is the strength of the story that should determine whether the media picks up on a story and reports news,” Lee says.

“Media coverage cannot be bought. It has to be earned.  When a company is just starting out, it is critical that it establish credibility, but traditional PR is out of reach to most start-ups.”

The online service offers features like a press release writing tool, a media distribution and messaging service, and a planner to schedule news milestones. PingGo interviews the user in a series of questions designed to draw out the key information a journalist looks for.  The answers are then put into order of priority and a press release produced for the user to edit and share with colleagues. Key messages are kept consistent to all press releases and can be evolved over time.

According to Lee, PingGo does not mass distribute press releases to hundreds of journalists, as many human PRs do, but encourages the user to identify the key media outlets that cover their sector.  It guides the user to find the right journalist for each story, and further support is provided by a growing community of entrepreneurs and marketers.

This approach disrupts the traditional relationship between news source and media and enables journalists to access stories that would not normally make it onto their radar.

PingGo is the result of a 12-month research and development project co-funded by InnovateUK, the government’s innovation agency. PingGo soft launched to an international market on Product Hunt last month, and has seen hundreds of companies from over 50 countries sign up.

The Edinburgh-based start-up will initially be run out of the offices of Lee’s PR firm, Hot Tin Roof. With Lee’s 20-year career in PR, and her role as founder of the specialist tech PR agency, she believes it’s only a matter of time before PingGo expands. The company has plans to hire a full team over the next twelve months.

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