January 9, 2020

PressRush is your route to newsrooms

Female journalist at press conference, writing notes, holding microphone
PressRush suits companies that haven’t yet found an audience for their story – for that, they need help from reporters.
PressRush

What the press doesn’t know about, it can’t write about. Finnish company PressRush helps businesses and organisations connect with reporters that might genuinely be interested in listening to them.

A reporter at a major news outlet can receive countless pitches, story ideas and press releases every day. As they also have their actual job to do, the time they spend reading generic messages might not amount to much – which is why your message should be on point and, especially, should be sent to the right person.

While companies have always been looking for ways to gain press coverage, Finnish software developer Ville Laurikari used to have another problem. He wanted to set up a business that would offer him the freedom to work whenever and wherever. With a background in software development, his go-to choice was a software product rather than consulting, as that would have bound him to a time and a place.

He decided to build a widget that could be used by bloggers to track traffic on their site.

“It turned out that bloggers aren’t a great target market,” Laurikari tells and laughs. “They’re not used to paying for anything, so it would’ve been difficult to build a business I could actually live on.”

He approached some digital marketing firms and spoke to them about the challenges they wanted to tackle, hoping he could make use of the technology he had built for the widget. One common thing emerged: all agencies wanted tools to reach out to reporters and be able to get their stories spread.

Finding the right ones instead of everyone

What matters is what customers need, not what happens to be easy

Laurikari had to abandon his widget and start again from scratch.

“The entire of point of utilising the technology I had created went out the window,” he recalls, “but what matters is what customers need, not what happens to be easy.”

Laurikari knew of news tracking, which means to closely follow what’s going on in the news cycle to be able to pitch your story from a topical angle, thus maximising the chances of getting it through. Building PressRush, he used a similar logic. The service tracks what reporters and bloggers write about, and then, as they’re searched for using certain keywords, automatically creates a list based on relevance: who has written what, how much and how recently, and how to contact them.

“This way, there’s no need to send a generic message to a huge list of recipients, but instead you can customise a message for a smaller group of people who have just been working with something that’s of relevance to what you do,” Laurikari explains.

Although writing a personal message takes a little bit longer, the possible return on investment is much bigger, when the recipients have been carefully selected.

Hand holding a smart phone

So far, PressRush has served clients in the English-speaking world.

PressRush

A team from all over the place

Currently, PressRush serves English-speaking clients in text form. There have been requests to have the service in Spanish, too, but for now new language versions aren’t in the making.

Laurikari believes that in the coming years PressRush will have to start tracking video content as well. Video is already huge and constantly growing, but PressRush is yet to be able to deal with it.

“For us to remain relevant, this will need to happen in the next five to 10 years,” Laurikari says.

Most users are based in North America, but many also come from the UK and Australia. PressRush is particularly useful for startups, growth companies and SMEs, as well as PR and marketing agencies. Laurikari makes his money through monthly fees, which vary based on the number of users within the client company.

The PressRush team consists of Laurikari himself and a group of partners and freelancers, each of whom is based wherever they happen to live in the world. Whilst on the subject of freedom, how has Laurikari taken advantage of the liberty PressRush has brought him? Has he moved somewhere with shorter winters, for example?

He responds with laughter and admits he’s involved in another software startup.

“I was working only on PressRush for a couple of years, but then I got a little bored. When you fulfil your dream and find the freedom you were looking for, soon you’ll start searching for ways to shackle yourself again!”

Man standing in front of a wall.

Ville Laurikari started PressRush as his personal quest for freedom.

PressRush

Text: Anne Salomäki

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