Pressboard has launched a new product allowing brands to boost their press mentions on publishers’ social media accounts.
Launched in 2014, the startup has historically built software that helps amplify sponsored content. Pressboard’s new software, Pressboard Boost, can increase the reach of earned media content, with brands footing the bill.
"I’ve been in advertising for 15 years," said cofounder Jerrid Grimm. "This is the first time advertisers, editorial and the publisher are aligned: they all want to get the story to as many people as possible. The brand is just funding that distribution."
The service is available on Facebook and Facebook-owned entities, Grimm said. Later this summer, it will expand into Twitter and LinkedIn.
Grimm disputed the notion this could create a pay-to-play model or that it would blur the lines between editorial and advertising. The product only allows content that has already been published to be boosted, he explained.
"We have a strong belief in church and state, that editorial should be separate from ad dollars," Grimm said. "Sponsored would be influencing the content itself. This is about distribution."
Social media companies automatically tag posts that have been boosted, Grimm added. However, the brand won’t be tagged within the post as that would imply it had a role in the creation of the content.
For the pilot launch, Pressboard hand-selected brands who operate in a competitive environment and have positive press coverage. More than 100 publications within the business, travel, lifestyle and parenting verticals signed on for the pilot launch, including Refinery29, Group Nine, Penske, Apartment Therapy and Newsweek.
News will not be part of the launch, but "issue-based promotion" does intrigue as a future opportunity, Grimm said. The problem is with news there are far more variables to consider.
"This is something brand new for everybody and we wanted to test it out and go through those questions in a more controlled environment," Grimm said.
Gaming company Nintendo and chipmaker Intel are already using Pressboard Boost to amplify coverage and reviews from BGR and TechRadar during big events like E3 and Computex, Grimm added. Direct-to-consumer brands Trunk Club (clothing) and Birchbox (cosmetics) are also pilot partners for the launch.
"Nintendo products are often being reviewed and mentioned in the press and on social media," said John Azevedo, head of marketing at Nintendo Canada, in a statement. "Having the ability to quickly identify and amplify that coverage, through the publisher or influencer’s social channel, gives us a whole new way to get our story in front of audiences."
By using Pressboard Boost, Azevedo said Nintendo was able to put its media coverage in front of a "much, much larger audience."
"In fact, nearly five-times as many people saw Nintendo coverage than would have without the boost," he said.
One of the key advantages of this software is it gives brands the ability to extend the lifecycle of a positive story.
"News is only one day," Grimm said. "Pressboard Boost can bring back positive coverage anytime in the future and use our [already available] tech to target."
Pressboard is also onboarding influencers for Boost, Grimm said. These are, again, not paid endorsements. This is content where influencers are "naturally" talking about a brand’s products and services. The company may start using celebrities in the same way, Grimm added.