Seek or Shout Content Platform

Cision's Seek or Shout content platformCision’s Seek or Shout, billed as a “new community for anyone who creates or promotes content” and a place to collaborate “away from the noise of big social networks” is on my radar screen.

According to the propaganda I’ve seen (I’m in advertising, it’s all propaganda, people) you can use the platform to search industry news, look for editorial opportunities, ask the community for help, seek out interviews, products to review or docs for research, etc.

When sharing your content on Seek or Shout, you do it the same way you do elsewhere, with keywords and tags and the like. And after you’ve created it, you can promote your content, pitch, release, etc., with what they call a “Shout.”

Niche platforms and social communities spring up on a daily basis. The question, at least the one in my mind, is always whether they have what it takes to pull your interest from the communities in which you’ve already invested time, built networks, and where people are often already doing a lot of the same things this network purports to do. For instance, some of the functionality here happens daily on HARO. And much of it happens on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, G+ and other social networks where people hang out and participate daily. What bona fide incentive is there for me to reinvent yet another wheel, in another niche social network?

So whilst I’m pondering whether this new platform is worth my time, I did what we usually do: I asked my really smart friends what they thought. Here are some of their responses:

My amigo Doug Haslam, who’s with the social media practice at Voce Communications, a Porter Novelli company, shared this:

Seek or Shout (getting over the double-edged implications of the SoS acronym) seems like a good idea in that a niche network, if well managed, can be very attractive. The questions I have on looking at it are:

– Is it only aimed at PR folks? Seems to me the “seek” part would benefit from having both sources (represented by PR folks) and content producers (bloggers and journalists) as part of the network. What is the enticement for the content producers to join? Without them, it’s a group of PR people that I’m not convinced will frequently be willing to pool resources – it’s too competitive an environment. 

– I also have less interest in the “shout” side if it will just be PR people trumpeting their hits. If it’s not my client, team or agency, I don’t care (sorry, that’s the truth).

– Is the community being managed actively? What is the threshold for policing inappropriate content and conduct?

With those questions in mind, I do see the possibilities – perhaps this is a more social Profnet or HARO. But with the limited information available, even on the SoS site, it’s hard to tell.

Yes. I agree with all of this. And I love Doug’s honesty. Truth is that many people probably feel that way – if it’s not their client, they’re probably not much interested in sharing. To me, that’s the beauty of building a solid network in the social media space, where people share your content because they like and respect you.

Arik Hanson of ACH Communications, who’s also one of my fave-o-fave PR folks and named as one of the top 50 PR professionals to follow on Twitter by Everything PR, shared this:

Interesting. Not sure I have a solid opinion to share, but I’d like to know more about the network Cision’s built. I mean, if I’m going to start using it, I’d want to know how many “experts” and SMEs they already have signed up. Without that, it’s just another ghost town community. With it, it could be a powerful resource. Time will tell, I guess.

I’m an awful lot like Arik when it comes to new platforms and shiny toys. I tend to not rush to judgment but to have an open mind, try it out, ask around and see what kinds of experiences others are having, and let the newness wear off and the dust settle.

And the lovely and intrepid Allen Mireles of Mireles Marketing shared this:

I joined Seek or Shout some time ago, do not even remember when, and then did not build out my profile or try to find people to follow because the interface felt slow and clunky. The downside of getting involved in yet another network, even thought it may yield benefits, is that I feel stretched very thin right now with the social networks I engage in. I’m hard-pressed to imagine where to find the time to participate genuinely.

I did go back and build out the profile, added some tags and was then allowed to see some suggestions, based on tags of members I could follow. To me, this seems like one of the biggest problems of the site. I can’t view members and look for anyone I already know or names I recognize, unless they have similar tags appended to their profile descriptions. This makes building out your network slow and laborious.

And Allen hit the nail on the head for me when it comes to a new platform. If you require me to spend a lot of time building a profile and also don’t show me, quickly and easily, the value of being involved (e.g. which of my friends and/or people I’m already connected to are there), I have trouble finding the time to dive deeper – and real trouble finding value.

And last (but never least), my friend Andrew Fowler, a digital marketing guy and easily stalked @guhmshoo, actually created a platform called Newsvetter that was similar in some ways– and which launched in 2008. And when Forrester’s Josh Bernoff wrote about the “new model for PR influencers” … that he called HIRPS (Highly Relevant Pitching System) (bad acronym, no matter how you slice it), Andrew paid attention – because it was so much like Newsvetter. Bernoff  pitched it to the folks at Cision, who apparently listened. And now we have Seek and Shout.

But what Andrew found when he launched his now-defunct Newsvetter platform was simple and relevant to this discussion:

Only a few journalists took the time to fill out their profiles. PR people started using it as a free press release site paying little attention to the quality of their pitches. A few PR people complained that the questions were too hard (they are not). In other words, laziness killed it. So I took it off line.

So, there you have it. Four different bits of gray matter from four PR/digital pros that I respect immensely. What about you? Have you tried Seek or Shout yet and, if so, what is your experience? I know I speak for everyone at PR Breakfast club when I say that we’d love to hear your thoughts.