1. Pitch on topic. Don’t waste people’s time. They’re busy enough; they don’t need more email plugging up their inbox or other correspondence that is off-base and off-topic. And they’ll black list you. And they’ll tell their friends. Trust me.
2. K.I.S.S. Yes, it should go without saying, except it never does. Keep It Simple Stupid. End of story. Don’t drone on and on. Write a nice and precise paragraph on why your concept/idea/product is bang on with what they’re looking for. Or with what they don’t know they’re looking for yet! A few sentences on what your brainwave is. A few sentences on why they need it, or better yet, why they will WANT it and why they must HAVE it.
3. Talk the Talk. Speak their language. Don’t go overboard with industry acronyms and jargon, that’s just plain ridiculous. But do get to know them before pitching. Know their market. Know what they’re after, or, what they don’t know they’re after yet. I was pitching a hot PR firm out of LA not long ago. I used totally different languaging than when I pitch corporations. More relaxed. More funky. More targeted. And it worked. It was a smashing success.
4. Play nice. Get a rapport going with the firm or reporter you’re pitching to. I’m not talking about buttering them up – they’ll see right through that – but be nice. Be professional. If you see something that will fit with what they’re looking for (even if it’s not you!), send it along! They’ll remember you. Don’t inundate, but you can send along a lead or two.
5. Jump in, the water’s fine! In other words, don’t be afraid to pitch. You’ve got nothing to lose. This is your business, your marketing initiative, your concept, whathaveyou. So pitch away! Pitch with confidence, pitch often and pitch well.
6. Don’t assume anything. You might think it’s pretty obvious that everyone under the sun has an email signature that includes their contact information. (Because, well, it is pretty obvious. And everyone does have an email signature that includes their contact information.) But email programs are laid out differently (ie: Gmail piles them up at the bottom of all emails – very annoying when you’ve got a long string of messages going), and people are laid out differently. People simply may not scroll down to find your contact info, especially if it’s lost in a long string of messages! Have it clearly in the body of the message somewhere. Clearly. Link to your website, link to your email, have your name standing out. Don’t forget this. Introduce yourself properly.
7. Make it personal. How are you different – what can you do differently to grab their attention. To get their interest? I had an opportunity to pitch Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York, at an event earlier this year. What got her interested was the fact that I was a female with a new start up, heading down the entrepreneurial road. Make sure you know who you’re dealing with, what their interests are, and off you go!
8. Network, Network and more… Social Network. Do you follow the key players on Twitter? Are the hot PR folks in your Biznik network? Do you get urgent queries fast, like, yesterday? Get to know these people, see what they’re about. Connect with them. Get going!
9. Keep On Keepin’ On! In other words? Don’t give up. Ever. This is your business, your baby, you’ve got to shop it! Work it! Own it! Remember, it’s rumoured that JK Rowlings pitched Harry Potter over 100 times before it was finally signed. Consider your product your own personal masterpiece and keep on pitching! Keep On Keepin’ On.