The world of PR can be clunky and hard to navigate regardless of what side of the pitch you’re on.
Journalists are inundated with pitches via email, voicemail, and LinkedIn. But when faced with a quick deadline, they often turn to outlets like Help A Reporter Out or scour Twitter for viable sources. On the other side, PR agencies and brands blast out emails with a big list of journalists and hope for a response. That process often leads to irrelevant pitches that go unreturned.
Atlanta-based entrepreneur Michelle Songy saw the need for a solid B2B marketplace connecting journalists and brands for high-quality source leads. So she built Press Hook to be a one-stop shop for the media relations space.
Journalists and members of the media register on Press Hook’s platform and provide details on their beat or what type of sources they are looking for. PR agencies and businesses pay a monthly subscription and use the platform to house their clients’ press kits on the platform, create press releases, manage inbound inquiries, and track product samples going out.
Beyond just streamlining the writing and content creation process, Songy said the platform also makes media relations “more efficient and more inclusive” since it is “democratizing access for smaller brands.”
Press Hook launched with a focus on food and beverage brands but has started expanding into the fashion and beauty, gaming, and lifestyle spaces.
The platform also has almost 100 PR agencies involved, according to Songy.
Some brands on the platform have seen a major uptick in press hits since joining. Songy pointed to one that saw a 30% increase in sales from 49 press hits during their first six months on the platform.
A Marketplace for Media Relations
This is Songy’s second startup. Her first, a payments platform Cake Technologies, was acquired by American Express in 2017 while she was living in London.
It was during the process of scaling Cake that Songy said she really understood the true power of PR.
“We were the small but mighty guys,” Songy told Hypepotamus. “We tried to figure out how to get the word out beyond our own networks. But we really saw that when we did PR the right way…it had a huge impact on our business, from customers to investor interest to client interest. It really just gave us the credibility we needed as a small, bootstrapped startup.”
The University of Georgia grad ended up working for American Express in New York City after the acquisition, saying that Press Hook was her creative outlet during that time.
But she said it was a trip to Indonesia in late 2019 to a remote homestay that cemented the idea. While speaking to her homestay host in the country, Songy realized that much like Airbnb connected homeowners to global travelers, there was a need for a marketplace with “brands on one side and media [companies] on the other] so that they can connect and engage with one another for stories.”
She moved back to Atlanta in 2020 and has been building Press Hook ever since. The team has since grown to 20 employees located across the globe, with a strong presence in Austin, New York, and Atlanta.