Pitch in a Box: Some questions, answered
What do Pitch in a Box customers receive?
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 media list of the reporters and editors most likely to be interested in what you have to say, including their contact details
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.
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 ecosystem, carefully 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. Media databases are pretty unreliable for determining actual interest. Our principals put a significant amount of time into developing customized media lists for every client, and we take that same approach when we sell these kind of packaged services.
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 not only reaching out to press, but actively engaging with reporters and answering questions as sources.
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.)
Pitch in a Box 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 the contract 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 professionals, building media lists and reporter dossiers isn’t downmarket activity. It takes a lot of knowledge to do it well, and there’s simply no replacement for experienced research when it comes to driving press outreach.
Spend some time listening to “media Twitter” document bad PR pitches and try to make a case for being not being prepared or buttoned-up with your media outreach. Reporters remember bad, off-target pitches, and it 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.