The relationship between journalists and public relations professionals has seen its ups and downs over the years. PR professionals do their best to present clients as thought leaders (and perhaps slide in a product announcement or two), and reporters are hard at work finding new article angles and sources.
The tug-of-war situation that comes into play for journalists is what to cover and what not to cover. Sometimes, there simply isn't enough time to sort through every pitch in their inbox. As a result, some great stories may be missed.
San Francisco-based startup Upbeat may have the solution to this problem with its cloud-based PR platform. This week, Upbeat announced its $1.5-million funding round that included the following venture capital investors: Draper Associates, Maverick Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, FirstRock Capital, UpHonest Capital, Quest Venture Partners, SV Angel, 500 Startups, Stanford-StartX Fund and Y Combinator.
Rather than paying a large monthly retainer to PR agencies, the Upbeat platform uses data science to both find the appropriate journalist to contact, gauge story ideas and prep clients for interviews. To help aid the platform, companies succeed at a higher rate with a few in-house media professionals.
Upbeat's CEO Ricky Yean commented on how the company's data science platform is changing the PR arena. “What’s interesting is by reducing the friction of engaging a PR agency, we make it easier for all kinds of stories to bubble up to the surface,” he says. “Innovation in PR is overdue. Technologists did a lot of infrastructure-level work to help online advertising go the way of the exchange and help us trust strangers enough to ask them to drive us around or let us stay in their house. We think we're doing similar infrastructure-level work with Upbeat for media and PR to exchange stories.”