Sarah Lee
Sarah Lee

Automated PR service launches in Scotland to target global startup market

PingGo, a new do-it-yourself ‘PR machine' has launched this week in response to demand for affordable PR from startups and the small business sector.

New company PingGo, helps companies keep PR inhouse, create credibility and build reputation, through ‘earned' media coverage. PingGo is part of a growing trend for the automation of business services and the use of automated journalism led by Associated Press, Forbes and the LA Times.

Sarah Lee, Founder and CEO of PingGo explains: “My vision is to democratise the PR industry so that lack of budget and experience are not barriers to a company getting media attention. It is the strength of the story that should determine whether the media picks up on a story and reports news.

“Media coverage cannot be bought. It has to be earned. When a company is just starting out it is critical that it establish credibility, but traditional PR is out of reach to most startups.”

The online service offers a number of innovative features including a press release writing tool, a media distribution and messaging service and a planner to schedule news milestones. PingGo interviews the user in a series of questions designed to draw out the key information a journalist looks for.

The answers are then put into order of priority and a press release produced for the user to edit and share with colleagues. Key messages are kept consistent to all press releases and can be evolved over time.

PingGo does not mass distribute press releases to hundreds of journalists but encourages the user to identify the key media outlets that cover their sector. Guidance is given to the user to find the right journalist for each story and further support is provided by a growing community of entrepreneurs and marketers.

This approach disrupts the traditional relationship between news source and media and enables journalists to access stories that would not normally make it onto their radar.

PingGo is the result of a 12 month research and development project co-funded by InnovateUK, the UK Government's innovation agency, which completed in February. PingGo soft launched to an international market on Product Hunt last month and has seen hundreds of companies from over 50 countries including the US, Australia, Iceland and Europe sign up.

Creative Programme Lead Technologist Matt Brown from the Government’s innovation agency InnovateUK says:

“PingGo really stood out as a great concept that our expert assessors thought would bring a lot of benefits to micro and small companies looking for PR services. It’s just the kind of early-stage project that we are looking to co-fund. PingGo made it through a rigorous selection process designed to identify the most interesting digital media businesses in Edinburgh.”

Based in Edinburgh, PingGo will initially be run out of the offices of Hot Tin Roof and the company has plans to hire a full team over the next twelve months. PingGo has followed lean startup methodology and plans to release new features and enhancements regularly in response to feedback from its customers.

The product was designed and built by the award winning digital product studio NEU based in Glasgow, specialists in creating products aimed at disrupting traditional industries.

According to Grant McLennan of NEU: “One of the fundamental effects of the internet is the democratisation of information. PingGo super charges that effect by enabling great ideas, from anyone, to reach everybody on the planet. PingGo is at the forefront of the seismic change from old world ruled by a few to the new disturbed network of shared citizen power.”

Before launching PingGo, the company's founder and CEO Sarah Lee, worked in PR for 20 years. She is founder owner of Hot Tin Roof, Scotland's first specialist tech PR agency, which has been behind the launch of some of Scotland's brightest startups including FreeAgent and Money Dashboard. Other clients include organisations that make up Scotland's tech ecosystem, including ScotlandIS, Scottish Equity Partners, the Scottish Government and Skills Development Scotland.