There’s a great piece today on Reputation Online about PRFilter. Becca Caddy has sought the views of a number of members of the media community – Chris Lake, Gordon Kelly, Sally Whittle and Kate Day – about the application and the wider issues relating to the importance (or not) of press releases and distribution in general. Read the article here.

You can read my two penneth on the issues raised in the comments (though some slight technical issues with Disqus may be preventing this at the moment) or reproduced below for information:

“It’s great to see that PRFilter seems to have sparked such a lively debate about the whole area of distribution and the press release itself. For my part I think anyone would agree that a personalised approach is always going to be the most effective way to communicate a story. But in a world where both the PR and Media industries are under so much pressure to produce results is it always the most efficient?

In our daily lives the people in our personal and professional social networks (both on and offline) play the most significant role in advising and informing us of what we might be interested in. Despite this we still value a tool like Google as a way of finding an answer to a question quickly and easily, either because our networks (or other media) can’t provide it, or because we are looking for a comparison.

Making things easier..

Like Google (though not on quite the same scale or complexity!) PRFilter is trying to get technology to do the heavy lifting to efficiently find relevant stories for a journalist or blogger where personal methods fail, are inefficient or as a comparison. Unlike Google it does this by showing an “active interest” in what they write about and analysing their articles/publication to try and understand their personal interests. Effectively responding to that age old plea “if you just read my publication/blog/articles you would know I wasn’t interested in XYZ”. Also by creating a hub its ability to learn from feedback saves the journalist from having to educate multiple sources as the relevance of all the content in the system should then improve in future, not just the releases from a single source at a time.

Which is declining?

I would also ask is it the press release that is (possibly) declining in influence or broadcast distribution methods of communicating them? Our other implementation of the technology is as part of our own distribution process precisely because we believe that relevance in outbound distribution is needed more than ever. But I wonder how many pitches that start on social networks, or through a conversation, still end up with the detailed content of the story being relayed in a form that either is, or is substantially similar to, a press release?

We want PRFilter to be of genuine value to the PR and Media communities, that’s why in response to helpful feedback from PRs and journalists we are already working hard on improvements to the system’s functionality and accessibility. We hope to have these ready to go live by early next week and will be very keen to know people’s thoughts.”