JournoRequests – what’s it all about?

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A few of our clients have told me about JournoRequests.com, a tool that helps them spot PR opportunities based on hashtags and keywords used by journalists and bloggers. The social-media monitoring tool alerts users of journalist requests via email as soon as they’re tweeted. It’s a great way to get the latest opportunities without being glued to social media and wading through spam.

Although the company has clients such as Cancer Research, Frank PR, Edelman and other big names, the tool was made by two entrepreneurs with no experience of PR or journalism. I got in touch with founder Ed Moyse to find out more about the service.

How did you come up with JournoRequests?

We found that spotting relevant PR opportunities using the Twitter hashtag #journorequest was really difficult. Firstly, there’s a lot of spam and irrelevant posts. 70 percent of the tweets we process are junk. Secondly, if you’re only interested in a particular area, such as tech, you still have to read everything on the hashtag. Finally, some requests are spread across other hashtags, such as #prrequest, or not marked with a hashtag at all.

Using the #journorequests hashtag is hard work:

A typical journalist request

Free haircut request – also typical

Some people would call this an advert


You work out how to respond to this request

We decided to build an email service that made the Twitter hashtag more accessible, so we blasted out the first version in just a week. My girlfriend, a PR and marketing manager, was our first beta user. She ended up getting coverage from the Daily Mail, Stylist, and a few other publications in that first week alone. We knew we were on to something.

An example of JournoRequests' daily digest

An example of JournoRequests’ daily digest

Why does the market need your product?

Journalists need to find sources faster than ever, and existing solutions just don’t cut it. For the last few years, journalists have come under increasing pressure to turn stories around quickly as a result of shrinking editorial teams and the explosion of online content. Meanwhile existing source-finding services have barely changed in over fifteen years.

You’ve never worked in journalism or PR, what lead you to creating a PR service?

Tech and PR seemed like a natural intersection for us. Most software in the PR industry is quite frankly pretty terrible, so it’s exciting to make leaps forward.

Harry and I are both software developers by trade and passion, but we’ve always done our own PR too – with great success. We’ve been featured by Apple, TechCrunch, Product Hunt, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, and the BBC, to name just a few. We’ve also helped friends to get national and international coverage for their startups, and wrote a guide that has been used by thousands of startup founders.

You seem to be building a good client base. How did you go about getting your name out there?

We had previously created a media database called Hey Press, which was very popular on Product Hunt, and is where we got our initial influx of users. Since then we’ve grown to thousands of subscribers largely through word-of-mouth.

What are you doing better than your competitors?

What really sets us apart both for journalists and PRs is speed. Our competitors take anywhere from an hour to a couple of days to get a journalist’s request live. Our average time is under 3 minutes.

By the time you see a request through one of our competitors, it will most likely be gone already. One of our subscribers will have beaten you to it.

Do you use anything other than hashtags to find PR/journo opportunities?
Yes. Sometimes the very top tier journalists don’t mark their requests with a hashtag at all, often because they’ve got so many followers. So we’ve written a piece of software that follows every major journalist in the UK on Twitter and detects opportunities you might miss otherwise.

Setting up a DIY system to gather requests from Twitter seems quite straightforward. Why would we pay for your service instead?

You don’t have to pay at all. For free, we will filter out the Twitter spam – typically only 30% of posts are relevant – aggregate opportunities across multiple hashtags and individual journalist accounts, and send you a daily digest email of all opportunities broken down by topic. We think this is a big time saver, and it doesn’t cost you a penny.

That said, many of our subscribers choose to pay for our premium features to get more. For example, you can filter requests down into hyper-relevant niches with our keyword filters (e.g. “Oculus Rift”), and land more of the top opportunities with ‘instant national alerts’. Everybody can try the premium features free for fourteen days.

What are you planning for the near future?

We’ll continue building first-class software to connect PRs and journalists. Our ethos is to ship quickly, get feedback, repeat. This week, we launched an email shortening service for journalists. As well as shortening their email to easily fit in a tweet, it makes exchanging contact details much easier.

Links

JournoRequests: www.journorequests.com (Free 14 day trial)

Email Shortener for journalists: www.journorequests.com/journalists

Article – How to get coverage for your startup