We talk a big game.
We can get all the backlinks our customers could ever need.
We know all the best influencers and know how to speak their language.
Sales? We can get those numbers soaring.
That’s the talk, anyway.
Meanwhile, we’re behind our computers trying not to let our customers know how much work is really involved—trying to pretend we’re just SEO geniuses like:
Behind the scenes, it’s a lot of freaking work.
Why You Should Outsource Your Influencer Outreach
We can get real about how tough the behind-the-scenes work is here—the customers aren’t listening to us.
Not even talking about SEO, SERPs and sales, getting those backlinks via influencer marketing and PR management is a full-time job in and of itself.
If you’ve ever spent time building backlinks, you know it’s a long, long slog, marked by organizing spreadsheets full of email addresses starting with words like “support” or “contact,” and sorting through social channels in search of the influencer du jour.
Follow up, after follow up, after follow up—and keeping it all straight. Then, when you don’t get back an immediate and overwhelmingly positive response, it feels as though you’re flushing your time down a giant digital toilet.
Pitchbox is a tool designed to make finding influencers real easy pickings.
Let’s cruise through the features, here, shall we?
Pitchbox Review: See What’s in the Box to Outsource PR Prospecting
What Is Pitchbox?
Pitchbox is an outreach tool for SEOs, bloggers and public relations pros of all kinds.
It was designed to help users target influencers and other PR opportunities, and it functions as a CRM (customer relationship management) tool.
What makes this so appealing is that it allows users to spend less time picking through the weeds. It does all the research needed to create a buzz around your products, services or articles.
You can focus less on research and management and more on actually building relationships.
That seems like a big promise, though. How much is it going to cost?
Pitchbox Plans and Pricing
Let’s get this out of the way: Pitchbox ain’t cheap.
I took one of the company’s free webinars and Kevin, our helpful host, mentioned this product is used by the full range of content creators—bloggers, agencies, web hosts and so on—but most users are part of larger organizations.
This tool could be a serious boon to the smaller marketing companies or freelance writers wearing too many hats, but the two-user monthly package (the basic account) is $195 per month.
From there, it goes up with more features and users, so larger agencies pay $395 per month and enterprises are likely to end up paying $1500 per month.
Whether or not it’s worth the money for your organization depends on how much work it automates, and how many people’s hands it frees up.
You should keep in mind that Pitchbox isn’t a standalone tool for content marketing or influencer outreach—you’ll probably want to invest in complementary tools like a backlink monitoring platform. Prepare to spend a little more to be more well rounded in your outreach approach.
For example, a backlink tool like Monitor Backlinks will let you stay completely on top of the backlinks that your influencer outreach generates, along with many other key SEO metrics. It’ll even let you scope out competitor backlinks to improve your outreach strategy. (Try it free for 30 days to see why you’d want to pair this up with Pitchbox.)
Take a serious look at how much time you’re spending on the basics of influencer outreach, then see how the key features of Pitchbox (coming up next) can take those tasks off your plate. If you’re spending a lot of time and energy on PR research and outreach tasks, there’s a good chance this will end up being worth the cost.
The Key Features of Pitchbox
Right off the bat, I was overwhelmed by the myriad features of Pitchbox.
It’s a significant step up from the Excel sheet process anyone in the marketing game uses on the regular. But you’ll quickly see the program works like a CRM—a la Salesforce or Base.
Let’s take a look inside.
These are your outreach efforts. You can create a campaign for targeting influencers, for example, or a campaign for shifting your efforts toward sharing your content on platforms like news outlets and blogs.
Just enter a few keywords, and Pitchbox will scan the internet, turning up outreach prospects with contact details and authority info.
When you start reaching out, the tool’s opportunity tracker will be there to help you track your progress.
2. Lead Vetting
Let Pitchbox generate leads for you, or do it yourself, it’s up to you. In any case, you’ll need to manually select those leads that you’d like to reach out to.
3. Product Reviews
Part of Pitchbox’s beauty is the ability to research without leaving the program.
So, adding to the cool factor is the fact you can easily find websites that do product reviews—and can tag and pitch to people who you want to try your products.
The product review feature matches you with review sites based on your keywords.
Pitchbox allows you to write email templates that you can send to prospective leads. You can customize things like the name and company of the recipient—a la MailChimp and the like.
From there, you can create additional templates for following up. For example, after your first attempt at outreach, you can send a second email a week later, then a “final attempt” email again at a later, prescheduled time.
This is probably one of the best features this tool has to offer as it helps you keep your outreach efforts automated and organized.
5. Opportunity Detail Screen
This is yet another nice feature for keeping your information organized.
You’ll be able to view each prospect’s info while in the app and add tags to opportunities you’re about to reach out to.
Workflow isn’t available for basic users, but all other tiers have this option. What Workflow does is allow you to search and filter through your results—results being your prospects.
Prospects are determined by Pitchbox, based on whatever criteria you punch in. Say you’re a food tech company—your search results might come with a list of food blogs, review sites and influencers interested in your new solution.
You can then drill down, making your recommendations more relevant—weeding out competitors or sites that don’t quite align with your goals, or sites with a MozRank lower than 75. You get the idea.
The Strengths of Pitchbox
While testing this platform, I found that the blogger and media outlet outreach capabilities were pretty darn cool. The bright spots here were the central hub feel of the whole thing and the prospecting and tracking features.
The product, as per the webinar, was designed in such a way—tackling all the most essential PR research and outreach tasks—that some teams spend full eight-hour days working within Pitchbox.
The tool allows you to track the progress of each pitch and every subsequent interaction. If you’re working with a digital PR team or influencer outreach is your main gig, this will be your new favorite companion.
Additionally, the range of campaigns you can choose from—link building, influencer marketing, guest posting—all within the same platform is huge for people accustomed to spending hours on research for a variety of outreach efforts.
You can also blacklist irrelevant results, a competitor or someone you’ve reached out to in the past and don’t want popping up again. You can eliminate irrelevant info, too.
A preview window allows you to quickly scan each potential partner site to ensure they make sense within a given campaign.
Pitchbox uses your choice of service providers (Gmail, Office 365) to send emails. You can pre-schedule them, but they’ll go out over a period of time, so you won’t get in trouble with your ESP (email service provider) for sending too many items at a time.
You can preview emails before they go out—Pitchbox recommends this, especially for first-time users—so you’re not sending out something you might be embarrassed about later.
The Weaknesses of Pitchbox
Pitchbox was designed primarily for companies, not individuals.
As a solo content creator, a lot of what I do is prospecting, manually. And frankly, it takes a lot of time—seeking out new clients and potential spots for content. A tool like Pitchbox could be handy, automating some processes and helping with organizational and administrative tasks.
Pitchbox is a touch out of reach for the solo-preneur. The cheapest plan clocks in at just under $200, which isn’t crazy for an established company or small team that’s dedicated to PR outreach, but it would be nice to see a plan with more limited features and a more affordable rate for independent writers, marketers or consultants.
Aside from the price, the company is a little stingy with access to the tool for prospective customers. I set up a demo and it was canceled, as they didn’t have enough information about my “business.”
It turns out that, while the tool is available to freelancers, PB asks you to take a webinar, then sign up for a demo, then commit to a two-week trial. And, if after that you decide to take the plunge, you’ll sign a one-year contract.
It could have something to do with my general dislike of talking on the phone (I’m sure there are a million millennial think pieces on this), but I wanted to check things out before getting the sales pitch.
I’m not sure of the benefit all this vetting provides, as it could lose potential new customers.
Is Pitchbox the PR Miracle It Promises to Be?
Overall, I was impressed by the sheer breadth of Pitchbox—the automated prospecting and lead analysis alone were enough for me to consider parting with $200 a month. But, I don’t know what it’s really like to use it, and honestly, it’s a little disappointing.
As much as spending your working (and, let’s face it, leisure) time online can rob you from experiencing something on a tangible level—clicking around on new territory is an essential piece of the buying process. Kevin, the webinar host, really sold me in a lot of ways, but I would have liked to play around myself before watching someone else use the tool.
Ultimately, I was intrigued by the process of streamlining my administrative tasks, but a year-long contract? A little too much for my inner commitment-phobe.
If you’re ready to automate your PR work and it sounds like this platform really has all your bases covered, take a Pitchbox webinar and talk to the host about your options.