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Summary:

When I heard that the folks at Pressitt in the UK had launched the beta of their social media news release tool, I decided to check it out. Pressitt says the site’s focus is on providing journalists and bloggers with a primary research tool for stories. […]

Social Media News Release (SMNR) creation, publishing and online news distribution service - PressittWhen I heard that the folks at Pressitt in the UK had launched the beta of their social media news release tool, I decided to check it out.

Pressitt says the site’s focus is on providing journalists and bloggers with a primary research tool for stories. PR types can upload releases into the system that should then be available to these journalists and bloggers.

My very first experience with the site wasn’t great. When I first went to sign up (as a PR person) I was faced with these restrictions on the registration page:

“I confirm that the content I am about to publish is not related to adult explicit, alcohol, activism, extremism, petition, prescription or other drugs, religious, ringtones, tobacco or vitamins related themes.”

As a social media consultant with a variety of clients, projects and events to publicize, I was immediately put off by the limitations, namely because the two things I wanted to create social media releases for were a wine branding company (alcohol) and a philanthropic campaign (activism, petition).

Undeterred, I filled out the rest of the registration so I could at least check out the tool’s features. Pressitt is entirely free, compared to the existing social media release tool PitchEngine which I wrote about previously. Here is an example release I created on the PressIt site.

Here’s how Pressitt stacks up as a Social Media Release (SMR) tool:

  1. Ease of use. Pressitt has a very straightforward fill-in-the-blanks format. The link to create a release is prominent and obvious. Once you start one, you have the ability to choose which brand to attach to the release to.
  2. Content prompting. Pressitt offers basic fields for your release headline, overview, and core facts. It does not accommodate for the main body text, but instead prompts you to build your release with overview, core facts, as well as quotes and links. Unfortunately, Pressit doesn’t prompt you to develop a Twitter-friendly blurb for your release so you can easily tweet a link to it.
  3. Multimedia Integration. One of the critical aspect of SMRs is the integration of multimedia into a release. Pressit lets you upload videos and images, as well as document files (.doc, .docx, .ppt, .pptx, .xls, .pdf and a maxiumum filesize of 8MB). While uploading my release to Pressitt, I ran into a technical glitch that I couldn’t get past. First, it would not let me upload .jpg files because it was expecting .jpeg files.  The site specified it could accommodate these files: jpeg, gif, bmp, png and a maximum file size of 4MB. I changed the .jpg to .jpeg and tried again. Pressitt gave me an error message saying .jpeg files were not allowed. So I converted the images in PhotoShop to .bmp. The site then gave me an error message saying .bmp files were not allowed. I gave up, so my test release doesn’t have any extra images.
  4. Social Media Options. The second critical aspect of SMRs is social media integration. I was impressed with the extensive array of 16 or so social media posting options on Pressitt, including some that are probably more popular in the UK, such as Bebo and Propeller. Pressitt doesn’t seem to have its own URL shortener. It is also a little confusing to have Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin buttons at the top of page, but instead of being able to share the content using these services, these are meant to be links to the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts for the person sending the release.
  5. Enterprise-level features. At this time, Pressitt doesn’t offer more enterprise-level features, or embedded social media newsrooms. While major companies might be using Pressitt, it is more likely for the ease of use and the fact there are fewer SMR tool options overseas than because of robust enterprise solutions.
  6. Reach. It is a little too early to see if Pressitt will expand beyond being a UK- or Euro-centric tool. That isn’t a bad thing, but it just might not have the marketing muscle to make a big impact in the States.

The Verdict

If you are looking for a fast, easy solution without a lot of bells and whistles, Pressitt could work well for you. Me? I like the idea of using all the social media release resources available, particularly when I want a more global reach. I’m still disappointed, however, that some of my company’s clients will never be able to use Pressitt because of the site’s legal limitations.

Which SMR tool do you use and what do you like about it?

  1. Thanks for your feedback on Pressitt, we’re sorry you were not able to create a release around all of your chosen sectors. As I’m sure you will appreciate, it has been necessary to place restrictions on sectors such as alcohol, drugs etc in order to keep the service spam free – a common problem with news release services, particularly those that are free. However, we take customer service seriously and are always willing to be flexible and consider exceptions when we are contacted directly, (e.g. alcohol example – http://pressitt.com/smnr/little-beauty-makes-debut-appearance-at-the-wine-show-09/466/).

    Obviously Pressitt is still in beta and so from time to time we encounter issues such as the image problem you mentioned – we are working around the clock to resolve any problems when they are reported . All Pressitt releases are Tweeted, but we take on board your comment about users being able to develop their own Tweets. We currently have many new features and updates for the site under development which we hope to put live in the New year – so please watch this space. Finally, all feedback is gratefully received and we’d love the opportunity to talk to you more about your experience of Pressitt. We can be contacted via team@pressitt.com

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  2. I used pressitt.com for the first time and I must say I’m very happy. Story was indexed by google news within less than an hour, so now waiting to see what sort of exposure the story will get from social media.

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