Every news story needs a spokesperson. The Press Index gives newsrooms instant access to UK-based CEOs available for comment who get bags of free publicity in return. Since launching in September 2020, the platform has set-up prominent media interviews with members, appearing in the likes of BBC, Sky News, The Times, ITV and Guardian.
Imagine if you could have journalists queuing up to put your business front and centre in a breaking news story about your sector. That’s The Press Index in a nutshell.
The double-sided platform matches businesses with stories, allowing you to boost your profile and build high-quality links quickly and cost-effectively.
As a journalist, The Press Index lists businesses who are available for interviews, searchable by location, sector and keyword, so they can reach relevant spokespeople quickly and easily when a story breaks. The service is free to use for journalists.
Nina is Founder & MD of The Press Index and Future, an award-winning corporate publicity consultancy. Future handles reputation management for global CEOs and business owners from its base in Manchester. Fellow PRs will have watched her rise on Twitter, dictating the news agenda for big name brands and industry gurus such as nightlife entrepreneur Sacha Lord.
I’ll primarily be reviewing The Press Index from the perspective of a startup CEO or marketer charged wish raising their company’s profile.
In a former life I’ve been a journalist and a publicity-seeking business owner. I’m still guilty as the latter. Having secured interviews and features with the Guardian, The Times, Marie Claire and many more publications via #JournoRequest over the years, I’m well placed to offer a comparison. I’ve had lesser success with HARO, which I find far more hit and miss. Both are a number of years old now and have somewhat lost their way so it’s exciting to review a new kid on the block.
Everything is behind closed doors so your only way in is as a paying customer. Create an account, select your package (Standard or Premium) and sell yourself with a compelling listing. That’s it, you’re media-ready in less than 5 minutes!
The Press Index profiles are designed to be skim read. Journalists will find you either by searching for location, sector and/or keyword. Going Premium it the only way to guarantee you appear first in results and to get a photo or business description on your listing.
Each listing is for a single business and spokesperson, so it’s really important not to sell yourself short.
The final step is to set your contact preferences and whether you’re available for print, broadcast and breaking news stories.
Don’t worry if you change your mind on any of this, you can edit your listing as often as you like from your ‘My Account’ page.
Journalists log into The Press Index and can search on various criteria to find a source. This puts the ball firmly in their court.
That said, Premium members will receive alerts to breaking news stories where journalists may be looking for interviews, in order for them to proactively reach out. Journalists are also sent details of all Premium members open to immediate interviews on certain topics, so there’s definitely a pecking order here. That extra £200 a year is worth it for this extra exposure alone. Once a match is made The Press Index then steps out of the way and the two parties can chat directly.
Nina simultaneously runs The Press Index and Future, her award-winning PR agency. So when not finding sources for every story she handles the reputations and personal publicity for hotshot entrepreneurs and CEOs. The Press Index members unlock a discount on services such as copywriting, press release drafting, media relations, media training and crisis management.
When news breaks speed is everything. The Press Index serves up quality over quantity, giving newsrooms a shortcut to potential sources they know are up to the job.
That’s The Press Index’s USP.
Similar services or hashtags are so well known that they have become saturated with publicity seekers. Enquiries lead to journalists being swamped with irrelevant replies that journalists spend more time filtering out the noise than interviewing the real experts. By focusing on the UK and letting journalists do the searching, The Press Index gives you the best possible chance of getting your story heard.
If you’re wondering if The Press Index really works, its founder claims that the majority of business secure a national or top business media interview within six weeks of signing up. Nod bad!
from £399 per year
At the £399 a year, the Press Index’s Standard membership isn’t cheap but it is good value. Still, you’re still going to want to go Premium. Standard gets you a searchable listing so you’ll show up in results but be competing with other sources with greater visibility.
Similar services, such as HARO, have freemium services but require you to endlessly pitch yourself to journalists. The Press Index’s value is in vetting members and being trusted by journalists, meaning your strike rate will be far better. This way, the opportunities come to you.
I’m assuming you’re reading this because you don’t have a PR agency on retainer. If so, you’re wanting a way to achieve the same results minus the expense.
The two main digital PR tools that spring to mind are Help a Reporter Out (HARO) and the #JournoRequest hashtag on Twitter. Both act as online matchmaking services for journalists looking for sources and businesses wanting free coverage. Although once a goldmine for free coverage and links, they’ve become flooded with low-quality responses and self-promoting bloggers, and have somewhat lost their way.
The Press Index’s real strength is in pairing journalists on a deadline with media-trained CEOs at top of their game and available for comment. The service is built on top of Nina’s own network, resulting in a higher calibre of sources that are based in the UK but can benefit from being picked up by publications and broadcasters with global reach.
The live chat function within the app is there for emergencies. Got a breaking news story and need to be on air in 20 with a guest to interview? Nina’s hands-on matchmaking service to the rescue.
The same hand-holding exists for businesses. Following both The Press Index and Nina on Twitter it’s clear that the service has bagged some seriously impressive interviews for members, regularly so too! Every last bit of exposure is squeezed out. Plus, there’s always the extra services (or ‘Bolt Ons’) for anyone who needs a bit more help in that department.
On the surface there’s not a lot of review here. Businesses sign-up to The Press Index and wait to hear back from journalists. However, this reversal of the usual arrangement is what makes the platform tick. While others offer scale, The Press Index promises relevance. A far more valuable commodity for national journalists.
The result is that The Press Index members are more likely to get picked up for interviews - a PR agency’s worst nightmare, unless you’re one of The Press Index’s agency members that is!
Is that worth £599+ a year? Well, yes. That won’t buy you a lot of account time with a decent PR agency, with no guarantees they’ll generate any coverage either. The roll call of publications and broadcasters signed up to The Press Index makes it a good bet for early adopters with Premium listings. The trust journalists have in founder Nina is baked into the platform, giving you a huge headstart versus other potential spokespersons.
No doubt this is just the beginning for The Press Index. It’ll morph into something much bigger and more comprehensive than it is today, with prices to match. My advice is to strike now, bag yourself a bargain membership rate and soak up all the attention from journalists hungry for UK sources. Before your competitors do!