From Pitch to Print

It only took 12 months.

Twelve months to go from the initial media inquiry to the published page. But what a spread it was. A bit of a jump-up-and-down-with-the-mail story in one of our favorite lifestyle publications - Sunset - showcasing "A Perfect Day in Boise, ID." We thought the journey from pitch to print was worth sharing.

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The thing with long-lead, top-tier media pitching that most people may not know (or like to acknowledge) is that it's about multiple moving parts all coming together at the exact right moment. A perfect storm, you might say.

For promotion of place, parts of that storm include organic advocacy and buzz, multiple entities sharing the same enthusiasm for the topic, a bit of surrendering of ego for the greater good, personal passion from the "pitcher" and, ultimately, sources that deliver on the promise of the pitch.

Last March we received an email out of the blue from a Northwest freelance journalist. She'd found our website, and then a peer in the PR world told her "Get in touch with Red Sky!" when she asked for PR folk who knew the Boise area. She was on deadline for a pitch and needed ideas ASAP (in the next 24 hours.)

The power of an agency, and when all involved share a similar passion, is that you can crowdsource at a moment's notice. We powwowed a series of "verbal snapshots" to share for an urban Boise story and hit send. I should mention, while we do work on behalf of the Idaho Wine Commission, 80% of what we sent her way had nothing to do with any clients. We pitched purely with passion about the place we where we live, work and play. When you have a crush on a place like Boise you enjoy sharing its distinctions and hidden gems (#damniloveboise) and setting the story straight whenever you can.

Among the quirky/interesting/new/must-experience snapshots we shared about Boise:

  • Linen District
  • Urban Worms
  • The Basque Factor
  • Industrial Chic Wine
  • Brew Cluster
  • Alternative Theater & Arts
  • DIY Attitude
  • Treefort Music Fest
  • Savor Idaho
  • Several of our favorite downtown Boise restaurants & watering holes

In the two months after our quick email exchange, and while she was connecting with other peers in the market (like the PR team at Idaho Tourism), the story began coalescing around cool "urban" things going on that might surprise some people who have never been to Boise. She also was planning to come in for a long weekend in June to explore several of the ideas she had heard about (including Savor Idaho). In my mind this was a coup for Boise, because oftentimes stories come together completely through web search, emails and phone interviews. But nothing can replace experiencing the place itself.

Needless to say, when she began pulling her story together she had a lot to choose from. With limited space, she had to narrow it down. When she reached back out in August to fact check she also asked for our thoughts on what we consider the top five experiences for someone visiting Boise who may not be heading into the hills to recreate. This time around we grouped under themes:

  1. Brews, brews and more brews
  2. Intimate cultural experiences
  3. Elevated comfort food
  4. Get hands on
  5. Up and coming wine region

Because of Boise's two-degrees-of-separation, we heard when Sunset photographers were in town in September checking out Bricolage and visiting the Boise Guest House.

And then...silence.

This is that uncomfortable black hole time of a media interaction. You know the reporter is interested, you know they are working on a story, you've done your best to pitch the themes and ideas and sources. But when will it appear and what will it look like? 2013 wrapped up and 2014 kicked off and we waited until two weeks ago when the March issue of Sunset appeared in the mail.

Kicking off with, "From indie boutiques to a foodie-friendly downtown, Idaho's outdoorsy capital has plenty of urban fun," Sunset featured:

  • Urban chic wineries
  • The Basque Bloc
  • Molto local food
  • Etsy-bitsy art
  • Tapping into the Treasure Valley
  • Sunshine, trails & an exploding wine scene

Nothing quite like seeing the journey from pitch to print with results that align with how you view your hometown.

So, what's your take on "A Perfect Day in Boise?"

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About Jess Flynn

CEO Jessica Flynn co-founded Red Sky after a career in journalism and a stint leading global communications for an all-season resort. Jessica’s strengths lie in her journalism roots, which enable her to ask the tough questions, seek creative solutions to communication challenges and incorporate multimedia and social elements into highly successful public relations campaigns on behalf of clients large and small, local and global.

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