This morning, Hunter Schwarz of The Washington Post shared a pitch about an app…that helps journalists review pitches.
It is literally like Tinder for media relations instead of personal relations.
*swipes left until thumb falls off* pic.twitter.com/GiyGqtS16i
— Hunter Schwarz (@hunterschwarz) June 24, 2015
After our friend (and consummate PR professional) Alyssa Galella of Moxie Communications Group alerted us to the existence of this product, we had to learn more.
“UPitch combines the swipe technology of Tinder with the self-service business model of LegalZoom, making it easy and convenient for brands and journalists to find eachother and connect.”
So the idea is that journalists swipe through your (anonymous) pitches until they find one they like. In theory, it could make mass pitching less risky…but then it could also make the process more impersonal than it already is. From the site:
“We’re not kidding when we say UPitch is the Tinder of the PR world. We’ve taken Tinder’s simple, elegant, anonymous approach to browsing through date options and adapted it to perfectly suit the needs of the PR community….journalists on the hunt for an intriguing story lead come to UPitch and anonymously swipe through the pitches, filtering by location and media category of choice. Journalists swipe left on the pitches that leave them cold and right on the pitches that spark their interest.
When a journalist swipes right on your pitch, it triggers a match. From there, you and the journalist can message each other directly within the UPitch app, and get to work on the particulars of the story and how to tell it best.”
…and there will be a paid premium version for PR users too. We asked one of our industry contacts about the app:
“I wonder which journalists would bother to use it? High profile writers and editors are unlikely to sign up for another app. I can see this for lower-tier bloggers and events, maybe.”
We then spoke to founder Jared Kugel, president of Manhattan-based firm Full Scale Media, who tells us that it’s about to launch.
Kugel says, “It’s more of a discovery tool…it helps people who are pitching to get their story across,” and it helps journalists “filter down to location and category” rather than just scrolling through the pitches in their inboxes.
He tells us that the app will have a website dashboard because “it’s a lot easier to cut and paste than to type [the pitch] on your phone.”
“Journalists don’t have a lot of time. With our app, they have full control…we wanted to put the power solely in the journalist’s hands.
You don’t need to rely on your email anymore.”
Kugel says the app will have character limits because “not everybody knows how to pitch properly” and “we found that journalists don’t want to read the fluff…they’re tired of reading emails.”
He tells us that the firm has already received positive feedback about UPitch, which might be fit for everyone from “a person who just wrote a book and can’t afford a publicist” to firms that want to remove a few pesky steps from the pitching process.
“Maybe it’s not about a relationship, but it’s effortless for people. You have nothing to lose because [the app offers] quick access to everyone in your category. “
So is this app a potentially valuable tool for people who pitch often, or is it a sign that the work they do has officially been commoditized? Is it the next step in the evolution of media relations or does it go against the very idea of MR itself?