Last Friday, when Joe Thornley
, Martin Waxman
, and I sat down to record the Inside PR podcast
, Joe asked us if we’d heard of AirPR
Neither of us had, so he walked us through what he knew, while we both frantically clicked links to learn more.
AirPR is a startup that “matches” companies with PR professionals.
Billed as a dating-like site for PR, you input when you want to start your campaign (they recommend three to four weeks before you want media coverage), fill out your name and email address, and answer a questionnaire.
It asks you things such as, “How often do you want to communicate with your PR pro?” and at which stage of development you have your startup.
It also provides a list of services for you to prioritize. Those services include media relations, social media relations, business development/relationship building, communications strategy, and events/trade shows/conference management.
PR as a commodity?
When Thornley asked us both if we would participate in a site like this, our resounding answer was no.
I went off on a tangent about how this commoditizes the work that we do. We’re more than just publicists, and it doesn’t require any messaging, positioning, or strategy. Not to mention, three to four weeks before you launch a new product is not
It also allows clients to rate your services and share that with other AirPR users. Not unlike references you have to provide with new business prospects. The only difference is you aren’t providing the list of clients for prospects to call.
At most, the startup pays for a 60-day contract. Not something you can make payroll on or count on for cash flow.
Benefit to PR pros
However, in the past week, I’ve softened my view on it a bit. We’re in the process of building the earned media department at Arment Dietrich
and this would be a really interesting tool to use to see if it could help us with business development. If it works, it certainly would provide us some of the resources we need to continue growing.
And the RFP process that most companies require agencies go through? It pushes that aside and provides an opportunity for solopreneurs, freelancers, and boutique firms to compete for big dollars without having to pull their entire teams off client work to complete an RFP.
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The company also says if the startup isn’t the right fit, they’ll turn them down. And the PR pros? If you have low ratings, they’ll excuse you from the process.
I think we’ll try it and see what happens. It could be a disaster or it could be genius. I’ll let you know.
Gini Dietrich is founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, Inc. and blogs at Spin Sucks, where a version of this article originally appeared.