Totem.com – Build A Good Looking Press Page
The guys who created Totem consider that as important as press communications may be, almost nobody pays due attention to them. Their philosophy is to give that issue the relevance it deserves, and to provide the tools so that different organizations can make better press releases.
Let them say it, so allow me to cite directly from their website:
“Totem’s mission is to make sure that every website for every company in the world has an awesome press page. Press, analysts and influencers are your earliest audience, and your most important one. They should be treated as such. They deserve better”.
Totem provides a web platform with an easy interface so that everybody can feel comfortable in it. “Totem is beautiful”, they say. The beauty lies more than anything in having a good template for making your press page, with relevant and well organized information.
How Improving A Service Created A New One
The guys from Josh Dilsworth Inc., a marketing and PR company, are the ones who gave birth to Totem. While working on their usual services, they realized that very few companies, especially startups and new businesses, had good press pages, or did not have them at all.
“We would build press pages for our clients on a case by case basis, but ultimately realized there was an opportunity to build a product that solved this problem once and for all”, told us Kevin LeHaise, the press contact for Totem who gave us some answers by e-mail.
Josh Dilworth, founder and CEO of the company posted the following on his personal website:
“Why have the press, who we court so emphatically, been catered to so poorly, for so long?”
So they saw the chance and grabbed it.
“We spoke with over 100 reporters to learn what frustrated them about press pages and what types of information they needed most often for their stories. With that real-world feedback in-hand, we built Totem”, claims their homepage.
They are no newcomers to entrepreneurship, so this allowed them to use their resources to create the product. But they took their time and developed the idea in no hurry, leaving out the stress from the process.
“We worked with a team of independent developers and designers over the course of 2 years. The project was bootstrapped and incubated at Josh-Dilworth Inc.”, said Kevin.
It is worth noting, though, that Totem was born out of Josh-Dilworth Inc’s own need to improve a process they were doing for each case they came across. “We started Totem because we were scratching our own itch. But we learned over time that more and more people needed easy, beautiful press pages. The vision has grown along the way”.
Which is kind of funny, and proves that great ideas can appear everywhere and when they are least expected.
Markets, Threats And Opportunities
Totem will be useful for small businesses (included startups, because even Totem has its own Totem press page!) which are not handling a high budget. By using this service they will avoid hiring designers, because they can do their press pages by themselves. As Josh Dilworth explains on his website,
“The reality is that press pages often involve too many middlemen – designers, developers, and webmasters. And the people who understand what makes a great press page are seldom the ones building them, much less keeping them updated in real-time. […] Totem is reverse-engineered to make press happy – that’s the only goal that matters. The last thing you want to do is make it harder for someone to write about your company or product.”
By now, you might be thinking if Totem could take away work opportunities from those guys who design and develop websites. If you are one of them, I’m pretty certain you are getting worried. Why would companies hire web designers and developers if they can do press pages by themselves?
That is true, but I don’t think there is any threat in Totem’s service for web developers. If anything, it will create an opportunity for them. Sounds confusing? Let me explain.
To begin with, any startup and small business with a low budget wouldn’t turn to designers for making a press page anyway. There is not much chance that they do so given the little attention press pages get. We could say, then, that there is no market for press page designs. In other words, there is no pie from where to get any slice.
Small companies don’t have yet the culture of creating good communications about themselves, and they’d turn their economic resources to other services. On the other hand, designers, if they could manage to land some job in this area, would get low payments. So they turn their backs to designing press pages and look for better opportunities. In this way, they are pushed away from this market. In the end, the whole market disappears.
But when more and more startups begin to use Totem’s free service they will gain a lot and become aware of how important it is to generate good information and share it. The results, if things are done seriously, will make a business grow from a small startup to an influential company. When this happens, it will be able to pay for all the designers and developers it wants for making press pages and anything else they might need.
In the process, a culture of the advantages of press releases will have been generated, and every business will want good press communications. Behold now the newly created market of quality press pages.
Some projects for the future
Totem can provide good press sections for big businesses as well, which is their main source of income.
“We offer an upgrades “PRO” version of Totem that provides custom domain names, additional branding capabilities for your Totem page, and removes the Totem branding so that you can seamlessly incorporate your press page into your existing site”, explained Kevin.
So don’t stay with the idea that it won’t be a good choice for your established business. Their PRO version has a $99 fee, which is quite affordable anyway.
And it appears that we can count on Totem to bring us some more innovations, although we must be patient to see them.
“Right now we’re focused on making improvements and enhancements to the core product, but we do have plans to build more. The next phase of Totem will be about analytics on your coverage and reporting capabilities that save marketing teams time, and help them optimize their PR programs to get measurable results”, said Kevin.
Totem.com In Their Own Words
Our users are businesspeople, typically with marketing communications duties, that work at or work for small and medium-sized businesses, including startups.