Some time ago, George Deeb, Managing Partner at Red Rocket Ventures, wrote an article for Entrepreneur where he perfectly summed up the difference between a vitamin and a painkiller in the context of an idea for a startup from the VC perspective:
When you’re an antibiotic from the start, then the issue of development is simpler – the path from the problem to the solution is short because it’s mainly based on client feedback. A vitamin, with ambitions of becoming a painkiller, must build solutions to new problems and create demand that way. That is, without abandoning the key values that it delivered – otherwise it pivots.
We’re lucky enough that Prowly operates in only a seemingly small market segment. According to the most recent numbers from The Holmes Report, the PR agency market is worth $14 billion, with its growth slowing to 5%.
Together with the changes in the media market, we see a drop in the demand for PR but a rise in content marketing. It’s not cheaper, but it’s simpler and quicker to build your image in your own media. As a result, content marketing is becoming an increasingly more attractive tool in communication and thus it’s getting more and more play from the folks in public relations. I don’t believe that experts from other fields will deal with this challenge any better than PR pros. Take, for example, Allegro, a Polish company that built its content marketing (brand journalism) under PR. I also think that the only problem PR is facing is acquiring analytical capabilities, because as we know, this industry has had problems with this for years. However, it’s only a matter of properly prioritized investment by PR in these new skills.
The rise in popularity of content marketing is further confirmed by PQ Media research, according to which global spending on content marketing already reached $145 billion in 2014, and according to Global Content Marketing Forecast 2015-19 will reach $313 billion in 2019. The difference in the rate of growth of both markets is clear.
Prowly’s beta version verified the need in a niche that is public relations, or media relations, to be exact. The 1.0 version was a direct response to the needs expressed by our clients at the time – PR people. The premiere of the Brand Journal – first with Spotify, then Allegro – was a preview of the changes we want to be associated with as the first when it comes to PR tools.
The biggest change when it comes to the construction of the product is a departure from the monolith.
We offer 3 products: the Story Creator - if you know Storify or the new LinkedIn Pulse, then you have to say hello to our content creator because it raises the bar for all the other players on the market, and this post is a testament to that; the Brand Journal – a tool for creating a wide array of content sites, from newsrooms to blogs (like this one) and brand magazines; and the Audience Pitch – a tool for distribution, measurement and dynamic segmentation of our audience. Our clients are able to use our products together or separately.
Looking at Prowly from the outside, some would say that the 2.0 is just a perfected version of the functions we’ve offered from the start. For us, it’s one of the biggest milestones in our development directly resulting from the huge amount of time we spent on data – that of our clients, those who almost became our clients and market trends.
To keep the euphoria in check, I should also add at the end that this was the toughest update yet – we ended up being a good couple of weeks late with delivering the new features. Like in all startups, doing something for the first time, we were not able to foresee some things. We rewrote pretty much the whole system based on a new tech stack and optimized database structure which drastically differs from that in 1.0 and was created with the quick adoption of the planned new features in mind.
Above all, I must first sincerely apologize for all the issues with 2.0 during the first days after the launch. Then, I would like to thank our product team led by my partner Sebastian, without whom Prowly wouldn’t exist at all and who is the driving force behind my development as a CEO, for the immense effort and a lot of heart that went into Prowly 2.0. Sebastian, Adrian, Chris, Kamil, Team Marta & Marta and Marcin – you are the true heroes of my reality.
Because even miracles take a little time
Fairy Godmother, Cinderella