All of us are eager to benefit from your blog, so you need to pitch yourself… but that’s really scary for a lot of people. It’s hard to put yourself out there, but you have to!
DOs and DON’Ts
- know your brand. Know who you are and be able to give your “elevator pitch” in thirty seconds.
- know your audience numbers.
- know what can you provide. How often can you post? What can you do for a tv post? What can you offer as an ambassador?
- know what makes you special.
- think about your email signature. It makes it clear that you take yourself seriously.
- know exactly who you’re pitching. We all get irrelevant pitches. Take your time and pitch three people that you know. Get their names, read their blogs, watch their shows. Get the correct spelling of contact names, shows, and publications. Follow these people first on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc… know what they share and respond to them intelligently to show that you’re paying attention.
- be cognizant of deadlines. Magazines work months in advance.
- keep it short and simple. Some major bloggers get 75-100 pitches a day and it can be overwhelming. If you have to include full press releases, include a short intro paragraph.
- avoid spelling and grammar errors and email “no-nos”. Spell check!
- always show someone else your work, especially when it’s your first pitch. Ask them to see if your work makes sense and is professional.
- know your weak spots. Be extra aware of the things you struggle with.
- create a memorable headline – make it memorable.
- think about what you’re giving instead of what you want.
- think carefully about timing.
- always ask if it’s a good time to talk.
- approach a radio or tv producer when their show is on the air.
- get discouraged. When you put yourself out there, you will get some nos. Be persistent and professional.
- send pitches on Friday afternoons or Monday mornings.
- use cursing or sexual language.
- use crazy fonts. They don’t always come through.
- include large attachments. They often go right to spam. Send small images and offer to send bigger ones; send links to videos instead of the videos themselves.
Good pitches get right to the point and are concise. Keep emails professional and clean. A good pitch shows a clear understanding of the target audience, is easy to read and understand, and is memorable.
Bad pitches suffer from bad writing, poor punctuation, sexist thoughts or language. They use offensive ideas, rude language, and ridiculous wording.
You have two goals with every business document: you want a particular response from your reader (everything from taking notice to taking action) and you want to help your reader help you. Remember that you are a reader as well as a writer, and when you write you cannot forget how readers think.
Most people tend to only read the beginning. Few people read the middle. Many people read the end. In about 80% of pitches, the most important information is in the middle, where most people don’t see it. By putting the most important information in the beginning, you make sure your pitch gets seen.
Put your bottom line on top. What is your main reason for writing this document? The purpose or objective statement is your single most important element. It should be apparent in every blog post, every document. There should be no question in a reader’s mind about why they are reading.
Don’t make it all about you and what you’ll get from a pitch. That’s the writer’s perspective. Shift to the reader’s perspective – count your use of “I,” “me,” “mine” vs “you,” “your,” “yours,” and “our.”
With each sentence you write, ask yourself “so what?” Why should my reader care?
Technical skills matter. You can be an editor too. Be aware even on Twitter. Be careful about common grammar mistakes.
- apart/a part
Pay attention to parallel structure and apostrophes. Take out “here is” or “there are.” Be careful to use active voice: “i will clean the room” vs “the room will be cleaned.”
The best pitches are selective, specific, and offer more information without listing an overwhelming amount in the email. Remind the reader about previous connections.
Think Like a Brand
There is a lot of misconception about what a brand is looking for in your pitches. Maybe you want to be an ambassador, get paid to write, get product to review. We all have a lot to offer, but you need to understand what they want in order to get the results you’re looking for.
Do your homework. Research brands – look at who they’re reaching out to. What are their key messages? Where are they in their social media? Why are you interested in working with them? Great pitches will include new information, exciting ideas, and clear proposals. With persistence, you can establish a relationship with your target brands, and those relationships can often lead to payment for your services thanks to your clear dedication.
Authenticity. #BeYourself! Who you are is really important. Be engaged enough in the product that the company will want to engage with you.
Identify a need. What could the company be doing better? Why are you the right person for the job? What can you do and how can you do it?
Sell, baby sell! How much you charge for your services is very personal and very specific to the brands or companies you’re approaching. If you can sell yourself to the brand, they will be much more likely to make a connection with you. Show the companies exactly what value you can add.
Persistence pays. Be aggressive. It’s alright to keep following up even if someone says no to you. Continue to establish that you’re passionate and want a relationship. Be relentless but gentle. If you know PR people who are working with brands that you love, befriend them and share your ideas with them. Those relationships can be incredibly beneficial for both sides.