PRFilter – a breakthrough in PR relevance?

Andrew Lim – Editorial Director, Recombu and Founder of UKTJPR “PRfilter is a fantastic way to manage press releases and find interesting stories.

James Holland Editor, Electric Pig “Catering to the whimsy of fickle journalistic tastes is no easy task, but the intelligent tuning behind PR Filter shows great promise. A service that cuts the clutter, and brings me news I can actually use? Sign me up!

Stuart Miles Owner/Editor, Pocket Lint “PRFilter looks to be the service that will help me get the news I want and filter out the press releases I don’t

To date the use of technology to solve the issue of irrelevant or badly targeted PR content has been relatively limited. Database structures used for press release targeting are generally based around categorisation or perhaps keywords. Depending on the level of granularity this can often result in a poor match of a particular press release to individual journalists or bloggers.

Recently new language analysis based databases have started to be released that look at a journalist or blogger’s output in order to try and identify those who talk about a particular topic the most. This improves the intelligence of the approach for the sender if they use such tools effectively.

But even tools such as these do not address the issue from the individual journalist or blogger’s perspective. They don’t allow the recipients themselves to decide how relevant something must be to get their attention. Meanwhile spam filters or rules based inbox systems are often crude or time consuming to manage.

At RealWire we thought we would try and take a different approach. Having built a system to improve the targeting of our own distribution (which we will be applying in the coming weeks) we decided to go further. We asked ourselves – what if we could adapt the system to provide relevant releases to individual journalists and bloggers across thousands of releases a day from multiple sources?

So after months of development, in a bold experiment to both demonstrate our filtering technology and as a potential solution to the issue of irrelevant PR we have built PRFilter.

We believe PRFilter is something different:

Like the language analysis databases, PRFilter’s active interest technology builds a profile of a journalist or blogger’s interests from their own, or their publication’s, published articles. It then refines and updates this profile as new articles are published.

But then it flips things on their head and applies this profile to an inbound aggregated stream of press releases from multiple sources, presenting the individual journalist or blogger with the releases it thinks are most relevant to them – in a given time period, in selected geographies and even on a certain topic.

The user can then set their own personal relevance threshold and subscribe to alerts which pass this test (currently via RSS, other notification systems to follow). They can even train the system to improve its predictions by providing feedback on when it is right and wrong.

Making finding relevant stories a quicker and easier task and ensuring that senders of PR know that when their releases are indexed by PRFilter they will be seen by the most relevant media.

As the quotes above show we have already had some great feedback from initial beta testers, but like all beta applications we know it won’t be perfect and are keen to get feedback from all interested parties. Either contact me @AdParker, [email], follow @PRFilter or register your interest in a beta account or updates here.

Hit Me Presentation – Online PR, its all about Relevance

I hosted the Fresh Business Thinking HitMe Summit on Online Marketing on Tuesday this week. It was a jam packed day with some very interesting speakers. I rounded things off with a brief overview of the online pr world and the importance of relevance. For anyone who is interested here it is.

Irrelevance – the pollution of the Online Media World?

Pollution Protecting the real world from the ravages of pollution and preserving our natural resources was once considered the preserve of environmental activists. Not anymore. Recycling, energy conservation and reducing our carbon footprint are now mainstream activities.

In the Online Media World I would suggest the equivalent to pollution is irrelevance, and the time, and money, that are wasted dealing with it (never mind the frustration caused). Unfortunately the PR industry is one of the culprits in producing this pollution; with the interesting stories it does create often getting lost in the millions of press releases produced each year, many of which are often sent to significant numbers of people for whom they are irrelevant. This means only a small proportion of these messages actually lead to someone talking about a story.

The positive response to our recent Online PR animation suggests that many (all?) people in the PR industry are aware of the importance of remembering that there are real people at the end of each of these messages. Given this, if irrelevance is polluting their environment shouldn’t we all be asking one simple question:

What have we done to improve our relevance today?

For us at RealWire this means making sure the existing things we do to improve our relevance are performed 100 per cent and looking for new ways to reduce our “irrelevance footprint” all the time. Many of these improvements and processes are based on feedback from the receivers of our news themselves. Some things are simple, the equivalent to turning the light off when you leave a room or not leaving your TV on standby, and others take more effort and investment on our part. They all have one end purpose though – to deliver greater relevance to all the receivers of our news and so reduce the amount of pollution we create.

We realise we’re far from perfect, but then how many people recycle 100 per cent of their waste in the real world? Does that mean that we shouldn’t all try and recycle more just because perfection is probably unattainable? That’s why we are always looking to improve. After all it is only through delivering relevance that the PR industry can ever hope to release the influence it desires.

I noticed today that PRNewswire have recently started to provide their content through sector specific Twitter feeds e.g. PRNTech, rather than all through one single feed. RealWire also did this a few months ago as we realised, as PRN would appear to, that people following news content would find this would significantly improve the relevance of the content to them. It’s not rocket science, nor is turning off your TV, and it won’t solve the problem of PR pollution by itself, but as with the environment a lot of small individual measures can make a big difference overall.

So hats off to PRN for also taking this step and perhaps we could all ask ourselves what have we done today to improve the environment in the Online Media World we all inhabit?