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Pitch Me with upitch: Public Relations & Journalist Pitch Discovery App

September 22, 2015 Comments off

upitchThere’s an app for that. If you want to pitch me a story, you might want to try upitch. The upitch service is an app and a website where you can pitch your stories to journalists who use the app. The app is also for journalists who filter your pitches based on content. The app allows journalists to connect via a chat applet with the pitch posting company. Companies can post their pitches directly to journalists who want to see them and journalists can filter the pitch noise to focus in on what’s relevant to them and their beats. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m just surprised, and sorry, that I didn’t think of it.

Every day, I receive at least two dozen PR pitches from various sources for stories to be posted on ZDNet, The Frugal Networker, Datamation, or other venues that I write for. Most end up in my mail client’s Trash folder. Some intrigue me enough to respond with a, “Please send me the announcement (or whatever) under embargo, but no promises.” A minority actually interest me enough to say, “Hey, let’s schedule a call for this.” It’s a public relations person’s job to pitch stories to journalists in hopes of getting their clients some ink on a website or to get a reviewer to review a product. I get it. I’m sensitive to it. Some products, services, and companies just don’t make the cut for my beats. We all have to live with that.

upitch: How it works

There are pitches that just aren’t right for the products and services that I write about. I don’t mean any offense when I say, “No.” Hopefully the PR person hasn’t only queried me for a potential story.

I sometimes say, “No” because of a poor approach, a bad pitch, a company that just doesn’t resonate with me, or for any number of reasons. I almost always say, “No” to pitches that involve companies that use cheap labor locations. It’s just my personal thing.

From the iTunes upitch app page:

upitch is a self-service public relations app (PR tool) for anyone looking to get media coverage, and a convenient and easy discovery tool for journalists to browse and swipe through story pitches and news announcements (or concise press releases).

Brands/People/Charities/Public Figures

Are you launching a product, company, movie, music single, art exhibit, event or maybe just have news you want press coverage for?

  • Upload concise, formatted story pitches and news announcements through the upitch mobile app or at UPitchApp.com on your desktop or laptop
  • Choose your industry and geographical filters
  • Your pitch will now appear on the smartphone or tablet screen of every journalist who is searching for stories in your industry and geographical location
  • When a journalist swipes right on your pitch you will receive a notification and you and that journalist can now message each other directly via upitch instant messenger.

Journalists/Producers/Bloggers

Are you looking for your next news story idea?

  • Log in and choose your industry and geographical location filters
    Start swiping through concise and easy-to-read pitches that are relevant to what you cover
  • Swipe right on pitches you wish to pursue as stories and make direct contact with the person or brand who uploaded the pitch via upitch instant messenger to coordinate the story or to learn more
  • When you wish to end communication, simply hit “End Chat”

What’s not to love about a service that actually helps people connect with journalists who’ll write about their products and services? This is not an app review, but I have to tell you that I love upitch and I’ll be glad, hence this post, when more companies start using it so I can get some great stories that I choose to pursue.

Yes, it’s frugal. Any app or service that can help me do my job in a faster, more pleasant manor is frugal, because I don’t have to spend valuable time skimming through every random pitch that ends up in my Inbox. And I don’t have overzealous PR folks calling my cell phone number that somehow keeps being placed into the Cision database despite my protest and multiple removals.

The upitch app works for me. I like it. I’m glad that someone created this app and this service to better connect journalists and companies that have stories to tell. It’s not that I don’t love my PR homies; I do. It’s just that, for me, upitch works and it works well.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a paid or sponsored article and I’m in no way associated with upitch either financially or personally.

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Watson’s Mobile Challenge: What could it mean?

March 28, 2014 Comments off

WatsonBy now you’ve probably read all about IBM’s Watson Mobile Developer Challenge, but what you might not know is what the long term implications of such a challenge are. The primary implication is that mobile developers will be able to tap into the power of Watson via mobile applications or apps. I know it sounds like a cliché, but the implications of the mobile to Watson connection are only limited by developer ability and imagination.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Carlos Paez, IBM’s Lead Mobile Developer, MobileFirst Global Center of Competency. Carlos will be developing some reference applications to help challengers get started on creating mobile apps. You can watch the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge Virtual Roundtable video (below) to get a full explanation of what’s going into the challenge and how it works.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQCfzYNHqow%5D

The video is 32:31 minutes long and also features Jen Knecht, Director for IBM MobileFirst Marketing, Sridhar Sudarsan, CTO for IBM Watson Ecosystem, Ron Norman, Chief Architect for IBM Mobile Innovation Labs.

And now back to the implications of this challenge and what it could mean for developers and users alike.

One significant implication is for driver-assisted navigation. For example, if you’re travelling by car, you could ask the app about weather reports, road conditions, hotels, gas stations, restaurants, rest areas, and points of interest without ever looking away from your steering wheel.

For television watching, not only could the app learn your watching habits, but it could also steer you toward shows and series that you want to watch based on a question such as, “I’d like to watch a comedy starring Steve Martin.” In seconds, the app would display a list of those comedies in order according to your watching habits and preferences.

Emergency responders could use an app to diagnose and treat trauma patients in car accidents, in fires, or in natural disasters. More lives could be saved and shorter recovery times might be possible by giving the proper treatment to patients in the field.

In education, a Watson-powered app could be used to drill students prior to an exam or to assist students in learning a new language. Teachers could use an app to create adaptive tests for students to assess their level of achievement on a particular topic.

“The power of Watson in the palm of your hand is a game-changing proposition, so we’re calling on mobile developers around the world to start building cognitive computing apps infused with Watson’s intelligence,” said Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson Group.” Imagine a new class of apps that deliver deep insights to consumers and business users instantly — wherever they are — over the cloud. It’s about changing the essence of decision making from ‘information at your fingertips’ to actual insights.”

But not every example of a Watson-based app has to be so practical. One could design an app to help predict March Madness outcomes or to narrow down the possibilities in a dream team challenge.

I see this new era of computing as expanding the possibilities for intelligent applications. It will allow humans to interact with computers in a natural way, via spoken or unspoken language. Wouldn’t it be cool if someone could write an app that would watch a deaf person using sign language and interpret those gestures into spoken words to a listener on the other end of a telephone conversation?

The Watson Mobile Challenge is an opportunity for creative thinkers to really show the power of their own innovative ability plus unleash the power of a supercomputer via a mobile app.

From IBM:

The IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge is part of the IBM MobileFirst strategy to help businesses of all sizes adopt mobile technology to better engage with customers and extend their businesses to new markets. The news also represents the latest milestone in the newly formed IBM Watson Group to fuel an ecosystem of developers, start-ups, tech companies and venture capitalists building Watson powered apps as part of the Watson Developers Cloud

To date, more than 1,500 individuals and organizations have contacted IBM to share their ideas for creating cognitive computing applications that redefine how businesses and consumers make decisions. In fact, global developers have created and plan to go to market in 2014 with Watson apps across a variety of industries.

IBM_logoThis post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

Categories: Articles, IBM Tags: , , ,
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