Here’s a product built for a very specific need: Totem creates press pages where reporters (and anyone who’s curious) can learn more about a company, find images and reach out for further information.
Does this seem like an awfully narrow product? Well, as a tech journalist, I can tell you that many of the companies I write about have press pages, and I do visit those pages when I need more info or cool screenshots. But a big percentage of them are, well, not great.
Totem was founded by Kirk McMurray and Josh Jones-Dilworth, who leads the marketing and PR firm that bears his name. Jones-Dilworth argued that Totem press pages work because they’re designed to meet a reporter’s needs rather than, say, feeding a company’s vanity.
“We built Totem with the view that the press is like our customer,” he said. Pointing to maybe-obvious-but-often-ignored practices like always including a specific press contact (not just a generic email alias) and offering a single repository for images and other media assets, he added, “It was very easy to templatize that, to make it a hosted web service. What Totem is trying to do is create a common format for press pages.”
Totem has been used to create more than 1,000 press pages for companies including Runtastic, App Annie and Chaotic Moon, with 20 percent of those companies ugprading to the pro version. Now the startup (which operates out of the Jones-Dilworth, Inc. offices but is technically an independent spinoff) is unveiling some big changes, including a new business model.
Instead of offering free and pro tiers, Totem will charge $99 for setup and then a $9 subscription fee per month. In exchange, customers will get Totem’s concierge service, where their page is automatically updated by Totem team members. That means you no longer have to worry about keeping the page fresh with links to the latest news, because Totem will do it for you. (Existing customers can stay in the free plan if they want.)
Totem is also introducing a “follow” button, so that journalists can opt-in to receive updates from a given company. Jones-Dilworth said this is a “first stab” at the idea to create “a frictionless marketplace for news” where journalists get the updates they’re interested in and not just a bunch of random pitches that flood their inboxes. In addition, Totem’s adding support for Google Analytics, so companies can measure things like which screenshots journalists are downloading most frequently.
Oh, and there’s a redesigned look, as well. You can read more about Totem on — you guessed it — its own Totem page.