Startup Idea: A Social Network / Web Service Connecting Bloggers with Public Relations People

This post is the first in a new category on The Future Buzz called startup ideas.  This category will feature content about services, .coms and social networks that could potentially be hits in the marketing/public relations industry and beyond. 

The current solution

ProfNet is a great service for the PR industry.  If you’re unfamiliar, ProfNet is (quoted from their site):

“An online community of nearly 14,000 professional communicators, ProfNet was created in 1992 to connect reporters easily and quickly with expert sources at no charge.  We now provide this same free service to other professionals looking for experts, including:

•   Academic Researchers
•   Authors/Screenwriters
•   Bloggers
•   Consultants
•   Corporate Researchers
•   Financial Analysts
•   Government Officials
•   Industry Analysts
•   Meeting Planners
•   PR and Marketing Professionals
•   Publishers

In action, it work like this:  journalists put a query out, seeking something specific for a story (interviews, experts, products, etc) – it is then distributed to thousands of communications professionals simultaneously via email, and matches are made.  This is all done through email addresses or ProfNet inboxes (I am guessing most of the interaction here is email). 

I use ProfNet daily as a communications professional, and while I do notice some blogger requests coming through, it is made up mostly traditional media people using and interacting with the service.

This may be to the fact that it is a very web 1.0 type of service, and (probably) has not had to radically change in years (I’ve only been using it for more than 2 years, and it seems the same as when I started). 

It does work great – but…

The service was created in 1992 and was designed to connect PR folk with traditional media.  It works wonderfully for that, and is an extremely useful service for PR people and journalists alike.  When the service works best, it’s a win for everyone – plus I have used it to make some fantastic media connections.

The question is this:  is something that was designed to connect traditional journalists with public relations people the right solution to connect bloggers and new media content creators with public relations people?  

It feels like to me there could be a niche solution, geared specifically toward connecting bloggers and PR professionals.  Do you agree?  Seems like a great startup idea to me.

As a public relations professional, I’d highly consider subscribing, especially if there was a wealth of bloggers seeking content to connect with on the service too. 

Bloggers are constantly seeking out fresh content within their niche, and PR people have clients that are experts or have news in that niche.  There are so many unmade matches in the blogosphere that are potentially great stories for bloggers and their readers, and opportunities for businesses to reach potential new eyes.

A new approach is needed for wide adoption of this type of service in the blogosphere

Perhaps a new system could work to better bridge professionals in both these fields.  I know these kind of connections are traditionally a personal networking game, where bloggers and PR people have to do the legwork manually (which is why services like Twitter are a great way to interact).

But, the best startups throw “traditional” out the window and reinvents the rules.  It just feels like there is an opportunity here to do something specific to bridge content creators like bloggers with people who are sitting on tons of content and want to get it out there.  It could even bring traditional journalists into the mix.

There are such amazing new social and connection tools available to connect people on the web.  This current service doesn’t use much of the networking tools, rating systems and crowdsourcing techniques that startups in other industries are taking advantage of to connect with each other.

I have a layout in mind of how this network could be executed properly to have mass appeal for both bloggers and PR people.  Unfortunately I’m not at a point yet that I can embark down the road of creating startups.  If you’re a venture capitalist or web entrepreneur by all means take this one on (you can always contact me for consulting).