UPitch – the Tinder for PR Peeps – How Useful Is It?

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 2.49.44 PMPRDaily just published an article about UPitch, a new app dubbed as “Tinder for PR.”

When I first read the story, I thought, “man o man, why didn’t I think of that?!”

Here’s how it works:

  • PR professionals can use up to 400 characters and five images to post their pitch on the app and categorize it by topic.
  • Reporters can scroll through, swiping right if they want to contact the PR pro behind it. Or, they swipe left to ignore it and move on.

UPitch co-founder Allison Kugel wrote about the app recently for The Huffington Post:

We’re embracing Instagram images and tweets and rolling our eyes at long form declarations.

So why are businesses, brands and people still using 700 word press releases and page-long PR pitches if it doesn’t suit today’s current communicative mindscape? Why are we still jamming up email inboxes when we could be telling our stories more concisely, and to an audience who wants to view them?

Journalists have the ability to filter the types of messages they see—and PR pros can only contact them if the journalist has swiped right on a pitch.

Like I said, when I first saw it, I loved the idea.

Most reporters I know loathe their email inboxes and the hundreds of long-winded and often irrelevant pitches that await them.

And, most PR pros I know are tired of scrolling through the countless HARO posts that flood our inboxes as we search for that one reporter who wants what our clients have to give…only to never hear back from the reporter once a response is sent into the abyss.

So, on the surface, UPitch sounds great. Reporters can search by the beat they cover and in seconds, they can determine if the pitch is what they need.

Here are my concerns:

If a Pitch is Posted and No One Sees It – Then No One Sees It.

The app will only work if reporters use it. And, from what I’ve seen, there aren’t many reporters on the app. Before you say, well, give them time; they’ve just launched. Turns out, UPitch isn’t new. I found stories about uPitch from as long ago as October of last year.

So, until UPitch reaches critical mass with reporters, I’m not seeing much value. There is nothing in media or in the app’s FAQs detailing how many reporters are using it. I did a little straw poll of three reporters at TechCrunch, two at Wired, one at Mashable, one at BuzzFeed, three at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and two at NPR and none of them are on it. Hardly a scientific survey – but still worth considering.

Mass Pitching Doesn’t Build Relationships

My other concern about UPitch is that it is the embodiment of mass pitching – it’s the email blast in app form. And in my opinion, that doesn’t usually get the kind of results clients want.

In order to truly develop the right story, you need to start by developing the right relationship with the right reporters.

I think the value in UPitch is in mass distribution similar to putting a press release on the wires – only without the SEO. Once reporters are using the app, I can see some value. But, PR pros will always have more success sending a personalized pitch to a reporter and really taking the time to get to know them, their beats and what they most want and need from your clients.

Let me know if you are using the UPitch app and what your experience has been.

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