I’ve been working this past month helping PBwiki, the world’s largest providers of wiki software and hosting, to build on recent successes by getting some good press coverage. My goal was to secure commitments to publishing four stories, which I’ve done. (I’ll add links when the articles become available.) [Update: five now.]
There’s good and bad in doing press placement, especially if you are, or have been, a journalist (as I am and have been). The good is, once you get the commitment, you don’t have to write the story. In fact, in most cases, you can‘t, since you’re in the subject’s camp. The bad is, once you get the commitment, you can’t write the story. Sometimes, you have to find the writer but even then, if you’re on the up-and-up (oh, and I am) you can provide access, but can’t puppet the writer around because that would, among other things, reduce the credibility of the piece.
There is a nice thrill when you hit though, when your vision of The Story is appealing enough, presented well enough and focused on the right people and the editor, or reporter says, Yes, that’ s a great story.
With PBwiki it was easier than most. For one thing, the company had three good stories ready made.
First, they recently received over $2 million from Mohr Davidow Ventures, acquired competitor Schtuff, struck a deal with 30Boxes and unveiled a new point-and-click editor. In other words, they’re surging ahead in a crowded field. (Well, they’re dominating it, with 150,000 users.)
Second, I saw an interesting, and easy-to-apprehend trend piece in their vital relationship with educators. Of their 150,000 users, 30,000 are educators. Wikis are a real pedagogical tool (not just a resource) for educators and their students. PBwiki has an educational advisory board of 50 professionals, has an enthusiastic group of educators who started to give presentations on how to use the product quite independently of the company (though it is now actively encouraged) and stories of the educators’ creative use of wikis, including a collaborative design/build project in New Orleans.
Finally, PBwiki partnered with the United Nations on the “Global Compact.” The Global compact initiative is a collaboration of around 3,000 companies and 700 organizations in over 100 countries to create a voluntary corporate responsibility pledge. PBwiki is providing the collaborative frame work for this undertaking. (Totally awesome? Yuh-huh.)