I started in PR back in 1995 working in a press office and in 2002 I founded my own agency. I have seen the fall of fax, the rise of email and the explosion of Twitter. The one constant has been the press release and its role in making news.
I was lucky to be taught how to write a press release at the very start of my career. I learned the forumula - the 5 Ws - where to put the lede, what a nutgraf is and how to make quotes work for your story.
In today's adrenalin fuelled agencies, now forced to work remotely, time has always been the enemy. There is no time to teach, no time to learn and the basics of writing a good press release are neglected. I know this because I have been guilty of it myself in my own agency.
Some years ago, someone asked me what could be automated in a PR agency. I replied: "nothing. PR is a craft, a skill that takes decades to practice and become expert at." And then I thought about that formula for writing a press release - who, what, where, when and why. A press release follows a structure with certain rules and that formula has not changed since the first press release was written in 1906. So, there must be a way for technology to facilitate the craft of writing.
At the same time I was struggling from the turn over of junior staff. I would hire a graduate and train them to a point where they could deliver to the same standard as I could. Then they would leave and I would start the process again. This went on for years and I could not scale my agency.
Again, this triggered the idea that technology could help with some of the processes that drive an agency. That software could automate the administration of planning, freeing us as PR people to focus on the skilled jobs that add value and need those years of experience.
The first feature I built was a press release writing tool, an early version of what you see here today. And I aimed it at the startup market. A market I knew well. We launched on Product Hunt and soon had over 3000 startups using the platform. Many loved it and have returned again and again but those who struggled to use it were those who didn't understand PR and how it worked. I knew then that I needed to return to my original market - my people - PR agencies.
Time has moved on, the digital natives are now in senior positions in agencies and want tools that will make life better.
We now have a new founding team in place. A team of specialists in building beautiful digital products that enhance our lives. Ed Molyneux, Stuart McMorris and Jenny Herbison. Together we make a powerful force, ready to write this new chapter in PR history.
And so we have started from scratch. Rebuilt the platform from the ground-up during lockdown. Working life for PR agencies changed forever in 2020 and the need for products that help remote working and distributed teams is here.
I am passionate about the power of PR. I love the craft of making news and writing. I have created PingGo to be a single source of truth for PR agencies so time is not wasted, newbies can learn and experience beshared.
Let's make news!
Sarah and the PingGo team x