Being an entrepreneur doesn’t require a job application. However, it does involve sending numerous pitches to people. Whether you send a pitch to the media or a pitch to a prospective customer, you will send numerous pitches.
Since entrepreneurs send so many pitches, it only makes sense to master them.
What To Know About Pitches
When entrepreneurs send pitches, they usually pitch to the media and high profile entrepreneurs. They pitch a product promotion, a potential interview on a notable television show, or something else.
Most people understand why entrepreneurs send pitches. Few people think about the receiving end of the pitch. All pitches have one thing in common:
Someone is going to read the pitch
And chances are this person reads through dozens of pitches every day. For this person, reading through pitches can quickly become annoying. Just to get an idea, envision yourself reading the college essays of all of the students applying to Harvard within a few months.
If I had to read that many essays (a few thousand assuming the work gets split up with other people), my head would explode.
The people who you are pitching to have been pitched to before. The higher up you go on the food chain, the more likely you are to send a pitch to someone like that person reading through the college essays of Harvard hopefuls.
How does someone read through that many pitches? The answer is that they don’t. If the pitch is long, it gets skipped over. The person reading your pitch doesn’t like your first sentence and then it doesn’t matter what you wrote after that.
Write For The Person Reading The Email
What does someone want from a pitch? The answer is clear and concise information. When I send a pitch, I am very careful about the words I use and how long my sentences are. If a sentence is too difficult to read, the pitch will get skipped—regardless of how good the pitch is overall.
Most of my pitches are just five sentences long. Important information is presented in a bullet point format. I know these people get numerous pitches every day. But I also know these people have lives. They aren’t robots reading emails. These are real people with families of their own who don’t want to spend all of their time reading emails.
Writing a short pitch allows me to get more attention when my email shows up in these people’s inboxes.
Start With Why
I send a pitch to the Huffington Post. I got a response and I’ll be a contributor for them soon enough. A few years ago, I would have sent a long pitch that focused on my credibility and what I have accomplished.
Luckily, I chose a different route. I decided to start with why. In Start With Why, Simon Sinek explains that people care more about why you do something than who you are and how you do it. What is the mission? What is the purpose of your work?
Once you identify why you do what you do, you can then establish your credibility. The entire pitch should be no more than 10 sentences with five sentences being the preferred amount. Writing any more than 10 sentences risks you losing the person reading your email.
Do Some Research
Depending on who you are pitching to and what you are pitching about, it is possible for you to do some research. Doing research allows you to identify what people are looking for. What types of stories does ABC want? Who is the ideal guest for 60 Minutes? What type of content finds its way on ProBlogger?
Conducting research in advance makes it possible to write a better pitch. Many blogs that offer guest blogging opportunities want guest posts that are different from the content already on the blog. If you pitch an article about getting more blog traffic from Twitter, but an article about getting more blog traffic from Twitter was just published yesterday, your pitch probably won’t get much consideration.
Even if you wrote a blog post better than the one ProBlogger just put up, the content is about a very similar topic. Imagine how much of a different reading experience ProBlogger would provide if EVERY article was about getting more blog traffic from Twitter.
If someone doesn’t have a Twitter account, then ProBlogger wouldn’t mean anything to them. That is exactly what ProBlogger wants to avoid.
So instead of pitching the article about getting more blog traffic from Twitter, consider pitching an article about getting more blog traffic from Facebook.
Being informed about what ProBlogger (or the person/media you are after) wants will allow you to construct a better pitch. Constructing a better pitch increases your chances of your pitch receiving attention.
Sending Out The Pitches
It takes time for people to read through all of the pitches they get in a given day. But if you send many pitches, it will also take time for you to send those pitches. After sending out numerous pitches, I discovered the two best ways to save time with sending pitches:
- Outsource the work to someone else. That can easily be done with UpWork.
- Use the same email. For most of my pitches, I use the same email. The only thing I change is the name of the person receiving the email (I don’t want to send an email to a John saying “Dear Jim” because that’s the easiest way to get your pitch ignored)
Figure out which of the two works best for you. Outsourcing the work would definitely save you more time, but before you outsource, you should get some experience with sending pitches. The more experience you have with sending pitches, the more advice you can give to the freelancer who does the work for you.
Sending out the right pitches to the right people/media can result in a massive increase in exposure. Having a powerful story and effectively telling that story in a concise manner results in a successful pitch.
While pitches present great opportunities for gaining exposure, you should not view a successful pitch as your lottery ticket to success. A successful pitch isn’t the make or break point of your business.
They help you get more exposure. Before you start submitting pitches, make sure you are ready for that extra exposure. Would that extra exposure lead to the right message reaching more people? More sales for your product? More blog traffic and subscribers?
In other words, if your pitch was successful, would you achieve the results you desire from that successful pitch?
Right now, I want to hear from you. Have you sent pitches before? Which tips do you think our pitches can’t afford to live without? What do you think makes up a great pitch? Sound off in the comments section below.