Friday, February 15th 2008
A new online service aimed specifically at providing competition content for regional newspapers and their associated websites has just been launched - promising to fully automate the way the media organise and run competitions for their readers.
Highly Prized ( www.highlyprized.com) utilises a radically different approach to placing competitions in regional newspapers and their associated websites. Using bespoke technology designed by Games Press Ltd., Highly Prized provides everything regional games journalists and promotions departments need - and even handles the distribution of text and assets, cutting down what used to be a highly effective but time-consuming endeavour into one which is fully automated.
For journalists and promotions people, this means they can effortlessly organise competitions - without ever having to pick up the phone.
The system is beautiful simple. Once a free account is opened at www.highlyprized.com, users simply log on and pick competition prizes from the site. Text - in varying word counts, images and even a sample question - can be downloaded with one click, and run "as is" or adapted to the publication's house style. Competition winners and clippings can be uploaded directly back through the site - with Highly Prized mailing prizes to the media outlet or to the winners themselves.
All of this is offered free to any qualifying paper. Whilst the site is initially pitched and regional newspapers and their associated websites, the service will be extended to cover additional media over time. At the moment, Highly Prizes is offering videogame competitions - but its offering will be extended to cover all entertainment media.
The website is the brainchild of Barrington Harvey director Simon Byron (who remains at Barrington Harvey full time), Zoë Mode Creative Director Ste Curran and freelance journalist David McCarthy. Highly Prized Ltd. is a joint venture between the trio and Games Press founders Steve Owen and Jonathan Davies.
"The team behind Highly Prized has comes from journalism, public relations and web design backgrounds," says Simon Byron, Highly Prized. "As such, we're in the unique position to be able to design an online resource which highly efficient, highly targeted and - if you've been expecting the pun - Highly Prized. The site takes what can be a labour intensive job for both PR professionals and journalists alike and fully automates it."
Highly Prized has been running under a very limited beta test for the last couple of months - but it has already proved its worth, with competitions running across over 4,000,000 ABC-audited newspapers and many more online.
Feedback from the beta test has been overwhelming positive. Lucy Trevelyan, who looks after competition content for The Daily Record among others, says: "Highly prized is an excellent resource for games columnists such as me who are always in need of competition prizes and often need to tie them up at short notice. The beauty of Highly Prized is you get an answer to your competition request instantly without having to hang around waiting for a PR person to get back to you - which could take ages because they have to check with their client or because they're out for a seven-hour lunch or something. Highly Prized is definitely on my favourites list."
Diarmuid MacDonagh from the Dorset Echo adds: "Highly prized is an invaluable resource for all newspapers. It is easy to use, offers excellent prizes, and has already saved me countless hours during its beta test. I've been extremely impressed by its comprehensive service and flawless operation, and will make it my first port of call for future competitions in the paper."
Ian Crump, from the Southern Daily Echo concludes: "Highly Prized provide a fantastic service with helpful staff and an easy-to-use website. These guys really take the strain out of arranging competitions. We have used Highly Prized to find competitions many times in the past and we look forward to working with them in the future. It's a real honour to have access to such a wonderful service."
The service is now fully live. Journalists can use Highly Prized for free, simply by registering for an account at www.highlyprized.com.
Publishers interesting in signing up for the service can do so by contacting Simon Byron on 07801 932746 or emailing email@example.com.