Pressfolios, an online portfolio platform with headquarters in Washington D.C., recently relaunched with some new features. Free accounts can add up to 12 stories with the text backed up on the server along with the ability to upload PDFs. Other features are available to “pro” accounts that cost $12 a month. Co-founder Marc Samson spoke to J-Source about some of the “exciting” new features available to journalists.
J-Source: Can you describe what Pressfolios is for those who aren't familiar?
Marc Samson: I think the best way to describe it is that we are building tools that'll allow journalists to back up their published work and to build a better online portfolio … I would say that Pressfolios exists to help journalists take control of their published work and their professional identity. As we continue to develop the platform, we plan on going deeper into the vertical and providing a larger suite of tools to help journalists do this two-phased thing of taking control of your work and building a professional identity.
JS: What would be the advantages of hosting a portfolio on your platform, over, say a WordPress blog?
MS: Pressfolios, we're not just about building a website, and that is a very important component of what we do, but it's only one component. So with WordPress you can go and build a website, you can put all your stuff up, that's great (but) you have to realize and journalists are starting to realize that it's a mass-market tool … it's built for everyone.
Pressfolios (is) building specifically for journalists and because of that everyday we're going to be adding more value for journalists.
Every time you add a story to your Pressfolio we automatically go out and we back it up. We clip the story, we pull it into your Pressfolio and that backup is stored on our servers, it's only accessible to you and if the link goes dead, which happens far more often than a lot of us like to think about or realize, you still have that story.
We've built the back-end to exist as a, we're calling it a personal repository. We're trying to make it an intelligent archiving system so that you can bring your entire body of work into our system and we give you a dashboard, a content management system on which you can actually have all of your work in one central location that you hold control over.
Let's say you for some reason need to remember the name of a source from a story you wrote two years ago — how are you going to do that outside of Pressfolios? There are ways you can search and can find it, but it's going to take a lot of legwork. If you've been using Pressfolios and you have all your stories in it, you literally just log in to your dashboard, you can search short filter and function. If you remember any words from that story, just type it into the search filter and it will pull up any story in your Pressfolio that has those words.
There are three components to Pressfolios that we're building out and it's a personal repository, a cloud backup system, and website builder all wrapped into one.
JS: This is actually a relaunch, so what new features are you most excited about personally?
MS: The ones I'm most excited about are the RSS integrations … Why I'm really excited about the RSS integration is if you have an RSS feed, if it's an author-specific RSS feed, you give us that link and every time a story is published to that RSS feed, we automatically pull it into your Pressfolio and back it up for you.
The other side of the RSS integration equation is bulk story uploading. So again, you can give us your RSS feed and we'll go back as far as the RSS feed will allow us and we'll populate all of your stories and you can pick and choose which ones to add. (Journalists without an author-specific feed can add the beat's/organization's RSS feed and identify their stories.) It just allows you to add your stories far more quickly to your Pressfolio.
The reason that's important to us is, everyone in the world is busy, especially if they're connected to the internet. Journalists, I would argue, are more busy than most … they don't necessarily have the time to continue coming back every couple days and copying and pasting links to their Pressfolios … So we really wanted to put new integrations into place to increase automation for adding the stories and so that's what we've finally been able to do with the RSS is make it so that your Pressfolio can literally function as a background job. You just set it and you know everything is being stored and all your stories are safe.
JS: So a lot of the features cater to print and online work. How can video-journalists benefit from your site?
MS: Multimedia integrations are something that we have been asked for a lot and ever since we've launched and something we have every intention of building up in the site. We are planning to make it so that you can embed video within your Pressfolio as well as audio files, so if you're a radio-journalist as well. Currently the way we're seeing multimedia journalists use it is by uploading their video to another hosting service. So Vimeo or YouTube or Soundcloud or AudioGuru and then taking that link and adding the link to their Pressfolio. It's an extra step that we have every intention of removing, ie: adding integrations for multimedia. But there is a way to do it and we're seeing people do that so it's great. Anything there's a link to on the internet, you can add it to your Pressfolio, essentially.
JS: Is there anything you want to add?
MS: It's never been more important to keep track of your work and to maintain an active online presence as a professional. We all realize it, but we don't necessarily do it. We have social media accounts, but we don't necessarily keep track of our work. I think that your career as an individual, regardless of your industry but especially in journalism, I think you're going to be best served by adopting the mindset of an entrepreneur rather than that of a serial employee.
If you adopt the mindset of an entrepreneur, you make that mental shift, the first thing you do is you start to view your employers as clients instead of employers. And the next thing you realize is everything that you do for that client is your work, it's your product. It's what your next employer is going to be judging you on. And so naturally you decide to back that work up. And you decide to keep track.
Most of the jobs are landed by people who aren't looking for them, the opportunity just comes up. With that said, the better your presence online, the more up to date your website is with your best work, the more you put your best foot forward when you're Googled, I truly believe the better your chances are going to be over the course of your career and moving your career forward.
This interview has been edited and condensed.