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New self service PR platform claims it will disrupt industry by helping businesses email journalists directly

A new self service platform is claiming it is set to disrupt the PR industry by giving small businesses templates to write press releases and pay-as-you go access to journalist contacts. 

Brooke: Cheaper than a PR agency

Handle Your Own PR founder Jules Brooke told Mumbrella the idea for HYOPR came out of a meeting in early 2009 where she realised many smaller businesses couldn’t afford a full service agency.

“I think we’re going to empower the small business owners that can only afford an agency for a month or so or can’t afford to do it all,” HYOPR founder Jules Brooke told Mumbrella. “Where we’re really disrupting is that we are making it accessible.”

HYOPR’s subscriptions start at $29 per month, going up to $299 for the Agency package. The basic package includes 10 journalist connects per month with pay-as-you-go contacts from $5 each while the more expensive plan gives unlimited access.

“One of the common complaints we used to hear from SMEs trying to do it for themselves was that they couldn’t get access to the media contacts they needed. Rather than using a service where the media outlets and journalists are not specified, we offer the names, email addresses and phone numbers for the contacts so that a direct relationship can be built between the journalist and the business owner pitching their story,” said Brooke.

“We’re trying to educate people about PR so when they do have money to go to an agency they’re not going ‘I want to be on Sunrise and Sixty Minutes’, they’ll understand the process and how easy that may or may not be.”

Brooke also sees the tool as being useful for independent agencies as well as clients, “we’ve created a platform that smaller PR firms can use as well,” she says. “They can run their own campaigns off it and they can build their media contact list, they can write their own media release on it and send it off from there.”

The industry though isn’t convinced it needs a shakeup with Jenny Muir, the Public Relations Institute of Australia’s national president telling Mumbrella, “the PR and Communication industry is a leader in disruption, benefitting from technology and big data innovation, increased direct contact with audiences, and high-value content.”

“However, disruption doesn’t automatically translate into throw the old out and replace it with the new. It is in a PR professional’s DNA to be constantly evolving the way in which we engage and influence audiences.”

Muir also believes PR services aren’t beyond the reach of smaller business. She said: “Professional PR and communication services are not beyond the reach of a small business. There are many speciality PR and communication professionals across Australia who have tailored their services to support a small business’s plans for growth and recognition.”

Included in the Handle Your Own PR packages are partnerships with service providers such as Media Manoeuvres, Source Bottle and Prize Pig, “We’ve gone out to businesses that are feeding directly into the market as well which are  complimentary services,” Brooke says. “We want to be the place where people can go to get everything they need to run their own PR campaign.”

The PRIA’s Muir sees parallels between the PR industry and other sectors, “PR and communication is similar to other professional services like accounting, law and finance – you can do it yourself and achieve a certain outcome, or you can enlist our expertise, advice and years of experience and have a greater level of certainty around the quality and outcome of our professional services.”

Brooke currently has 150 businesses signed up to the platform and says the business has been growing quickly since the launch, “my phone has pinging like mad as the word is getting out.”

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