How many tech PR pros actually regularly read the content produced by the journalists they're pitching? Based on all the inappropriate e-mails I get, I'm guessing not many. And based on other journalists' feedback, the tools that PR pros use to identify targets aren't very intelligent either.
A couple of years ago, a friend of mine decided to tackle this challenge of making tech PR pros smarter about how they identify and track appropriate tech authors for publicity purposes. It turns out it's a data problem--not stupidity or laziness (OK, maybe a *little* laziness)--that explains why PR people are so often completely off the mark when targeting and communicating with authors.
ITDatabase is launching Monday and tackling a very specific opportunity--get all tech news indexed in one place, and make it much easier for tech industry pros to analyze/aggregate trends about what's being said across all tech news. The company is starting with tech PR pros as the initial target customers, but believes the product offers a lot of research value to product managers and sales roles as well.
"There are thousands of tech authors covering tens of thousands of vendors and themes," said Travis Van, founder of ITDatabase. "Multiply them all together and you get a huge unstructured data mess, which largely accounts for why tech PR folks are often hitting the wrong journalists with the wrong content."
Like the vast majority of online start-ups, ITDatabase is built on an open-source stack:
- Wicket--a Java-based Web app framework
- Hibernate--Object/Relational Mapping (ORM) framework & JPA (Java Persistence API) provider
- Hibernate Search--provides ORM integration with Lucene
- Lucene--search engine
- Tomcat (behind Apache)
Van admits there's an enormous universe of data and that ITDatabase is still finding new/missing tech industry authors every day. "That's just the nature of an information product--we're always going to be finding new tech industry authors and sources," he said.
I think we often give too much credit to Google alerts and portals, expecting them to bring us all of the information. Services like ITDatabase can offer a wealth of actionable data to make you more efficient.
Disclosure: I am an informal adviser to ITDatabase.
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