Storify Business launches for brands—what you need to know

The popular tool among journalists for compiling and organizing social media updates launched a service for brands. PR Daily talked with one of the founders about it.

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Social media may have changed the way we get our news, but Burt Herman and Xavier Damman, co-founders of Storify, have revolutionized the way we get our news through social media. Since Storify became available to the public, the service has offered storytellers—from news organizations to bloggers to brands—a way to curate the best tweets, videos, and photos to essentially shrink social media. In Herman’s words, the service can “stop time.” For instance, within moments of a shooting reported on the campus of MIT on Thursday night—an event later connected to the Boston bombings—several people used Storify to collect the most authoritative social media updates to help tell the story. Recently, the Denver Post included its Storify coverage of the Aurora, Colo. theater shootings as part of its winning Pulitzer submission. While Storify’s value to news organizations is now indisputable, its business value is still being determined (not unlike the platforms from which it curates content). Is it a news destination or simply a service that organizations can pull into their own sites? Or is it a content marketing tool that brands should be jumping all over? Brands such as Pepsi, Microsoft, IBM, the San Francisco 49ers and HBO have already used the platform in some interesting ways. It’s up to Herman and his team to make the service more attractive to those willing to pay for premium service. To that end, the company recently launched Storify Business, which offers private stories that companies may not want to share with the public. Storify Business also offers custom story embeds and enhanced support. We caught up with Herman recently to find out more about what Storify is up to, and what’s in store for its future. PRD: How has Storify evolved since its launch? Herman: We started off with the tool—basically a way to bring social media together as a publishing tool. It came from journalism. My background is as a reporter for the AP. I worked for 12 years, mostly overseas, as a correspondent. We were really thinking, as news is happening people are reporting what they see all around the world. That’s great, but it’s also really overwhelming and normal people aren’t going to sit there and sift through Twitter to find out what’s happening at the Boston Marathon. Or in Chicago with the floods in the area [last week], how can we bring together this amazing on-the-ground resource but make sense of it and put it into a forum that regular people understand? That’s where we started—purely news and taking what’s out there—and I guess we’ve seen different evolutions along the way. That idea of being able to stop real time and take things out and save them somewhere seems to be useful for more than just news. We saw newsrooms doing this—not publishing but sharing draft stories to share internally—but we also noticed that getting responses are key for brands, too. PR agencies, ad agencies are doing product launches and social campaigns and wanting to mine the data. They might be using all these algorithmic tools to do that for sentiment analysis and broad-based statistics, but also they’d just like to show that, “We posted this, and this is what people said.”

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