Clear Newsmaker: Some questions, answered
What do Newsmaker customers receive?
It’s basically a pitch-in-a-box. Though it’s not really a box. The on-demand service consists of two assets meant to drive authentic media engagement and maximize a user’s odds of earning useful media coverage:
1) A highly targeted list of the reporters and editors most likely to be interested in what you have to say, including their contact details, and
2) Tips and notes that combine best practices with specific, person-by-person advice.
Think of it as an instruction manual for performing media outreach. It combines specific, actionable insight with leading practices to approaching media.
Where do the names on the media lists come from?
Once we receive an order, we read the user’s description of what they want to push and think about it for a bit. Then we scan the news, diligently researching who’s writing what at that exact point in time. Sometimes we’ll make some calls or lean on trusted relationships. We also have proprietary sources of data.
What we don’t do is pull up a media database and search based on beats or keywords.
Lists built with media databases only are about as useful as hot garbage is appetizing. Invariably, the beats listed inside those platforms are either to broad or too narrow to describe a reporter's area of interest. They're also static, while the news cycle is always moving. To define an audience of news reporters well, you just have to take the time to read and interpret an immense amount of news.
How long are the media lists?
Anywhere from ten to 15 names appear on an ideal media lists. There could plausibly be some exceptions to this, but that's the general rule.
Without exception, if a pitch can’t find interest out of a handful of well-targeted media stakeholders, then that pitch is not really newsworthy. Having a longer list won’t change that.
Who performs the research and writes the guidance?
Our principals, all of whom have substantial experience with not only media relations activity, but also in media training clients and giving interviews on the record.
Do you guarantee coverage?
No. Any agency, provider, or vendor that guarantees press coverage is either lying to you or buying ads and dressing them up as earned media. (We have ad-buying capabilities, too. We’ll just never bullshit our customers about them.)
Newsmaker is a manual for earning legitimate news coverage by using your own words to say the right things to the right people at the right time.
Another vendor promised me they’d generate coverage. Why shouldn’t I use them?
You should totally do that if you believe them -- particularly if they’ll put their guarantee in writing and let you hold their retainer fees in escrow.
Your website says you’re a strategic communications agency. Why do you sell media lists?
Even though it’s the kind of work that other agencies push down to interns or entry-level folks, creating media lists and reporter dossiers isn’t downmarket activity. It takes a lot of knowledge to do well, and there’s simply no replacement for experienced research when it comes to addressing media.
Spend some time reading “media Twitter” document bad PR pitches and try to make a case for not being prepared or buttoned-up with your media outreach. Reporters remember bad, off-target pitches, and this destroys the credibility of the company behind them.
Do I own the media list and the outreach notes?
Absolutely. And we really can’t stop you from sending them to your colleagues, friends, or any random stranger, either.