AND get attention for your brand
If you’re a writer or an entrepreneur, most likely you’ve written a pitch of some kind. If you haven’t, rest assured you will at some point or you maybe you’ll hire someone like me to do it. At any rate, it’s important to know how to use a pitch to grab attention for your product or service. I was very uncomfortable the first time I wrote a cold pitch. A cold pitch is pitching to someone you have no connection with. The fear of rejection was palpable. But did I die? Nope, and neither will you. Now I write pitches so often I don’t even bat an eye. Fortunately, I hear back more often than not.
If cold pitching gives you the hives, I’m going to walk you through a few pointers. You can also check out a sample pitch that I used to cold pitch a current client of mine. Use it as a template to write your own perfect pitch.
Ok. You’re probably wondering why would you need to write a pitch at all. Here are some times when you may need to pitch someone:
- Cold pitch your services to clients or agencies
- Pitch product to blogger or journalists
- Guest post for blogger
- Contribute to publication
- Pitch startup for funding (different beast)
Now that you know why you need a pitch let’s get to work. Keep in mind that keeping your pitch brief is best. Journalists and popular bloggers don’t have a lot of time so keep it short and sweet. If they’re interested and want more information, they’ll ask you for it.
A pitch has many functions but it always needs to be tailored. Don’t be that person sending out a run of the mill spammy cold pitch. It’s the hallmark of an amateur and will be sent to the trash immediately. Journalists and bloggers can smell spam a mile away. And trust me…it wreaks.
The first step is to do your research and find the correct person to send your pitch to. Research the specific person’s real name, connect with them on social media and even comment on their posts. It also helps to show that you’re familiar with their work by referencing a similar story they’ve covered in the past. The same applies if you’re connecting with a journalist to pitch a product. As a journalist myself, I know that research is the foundation of a great pitch.
Tip: Give a little information about yourself but focus on what you can offer/provide. State any features and benefits.
Pitch The Angle
Why are you writing this pitch? What are you hoping to gain? Publicity, exposure, connections…those are the usual suspects. Ideally, you already know the answer but if not figure it out beforehand. You’ll also need to do some brainstorming on the angle of the story. The goal is to do as much of the work for them as possible. I know this sounds backwards or like a lot of work but by doing this, you’re more likely to get exactly what you want. For example, If you pitch a popular blogger to guest post on their blog, I suggest giving them a choice of 3 topics that you can write about on their blog. This also helps you because if they accept your submission you already have a topic and you can get straight to writing.To pitch a popular blogger or publication, give them 3 choices of awesome topics you could cover on their blog. Click To Tweet
Tip: Perform a search in the bloggers toolbar to make sure the topic hasn’t been covered recently. If it was previously covered, simply work a different angle or solve the problem. This is a gimme if that particular post was really popular (comments & shares). You can also read comments and get ideas based on reader’s pain points.
The Call to Action
One of the most important things that people miss is a good call to action or CTA. It seems simple but you’d be shocked at how often this is forgotten. I’ve also seen weak calls to action. “Well um if you want to check out my stuff…”. Where’s the confidence, friend? You’re awesome and so is the product/service you provide. Why wouldn’t they want to feature you?
There are various ways to prompt the reader to act and move the process forward but you have to make it easy for them.
Below are a few CTA’s you can use or use a variation of a few:
- Add social media links (Link to your most popular/used social platforms)
- Link to best samples/portfolio
- Link to demo video
- Contact information (A MUST)
- Schedule meeting
- Link to E-commerce or brick & mortar business
- E-Press Kit Link
- A relevant source
The CTA is one of the most important elements of the pitch so don’t leave it out. Put yourself in the readers mind and include information you’d want to know but don’t give away too much. Don’t write a book…just give the basics.
Tip: If you’re pitching a submission to write, include your turnaround time and the # of words you project the piece to be.
As I mentioned earlier, anyone you’d want to pitch to is likely super busy. If you don’t hear back immediately, don’t feel slighted. Most professional bloggers and publications have an editorial calendar planned out months in advance. Your story may not fit into their content plan or strategy at the current moment. Maybe they’re on vacation or it fell off their radar temporarily. Don’t let it fall off your radar. The key is good old-fashioned follow-up.
I always end a pitch or any request with the following line: “If I haven’t heard from you by __________, I’ll follow-up with you”. Then I drag it to my calendar and follow-up with the person when I said I would.
Hopefully, this gives you the structure for writing a pitch to get you noticed. Have you had to write a pitch before? Let me know in the comments!