Mar 12, 2012

Writing a great pitch

I sure love Rufus the Dog!

I’ve been reading some really bad pitches lately for my Examiner column. Thought I would bring back this post just as a quick refresher!

Getting to the point isn’t as easy as it sounds. So here’s a quick primer for the next time you write a pitch.

Before you write your pitch, answer these questions:

1. What do you want? Is it a guest post for their blog, a feature in the magazine, a column…most of the time people do not say what they actually want – they just talk about themselves. For the sake of this exercise, let’s say I want a book review.

2. What is one interesting thing about your product or service that will GET you what you want? In this case, I’m going to say that I have the only book about marketing written by a dog.  (Okay, extreme example but it would get MY attention)

3. What gives you the credentials to get what you want? For my example, my dog has been involved in many marketing campaigns as a spokesdog. In your case, you have spent the last 10 years finetuning your product…you have 20 years experience in your field…you’re extremely attractive (this will work for TV and especially if you’re pitching Fox) You get the idea

4. What is the next step?  For our sample pitch,  I would like to send a book for review consideration. In your case, perhaps you’d like to send the writer some story ideas. Or a video of yourself talking about your product or service…especially if you’re extremely attractive and pitching Fox

Now, write your pitch. Forget the flowery “I’m the best in the world” stuff. Forget the long paragraph that explains how the planetary alignments, economy over the last 10 years and Oprah Winfrey have all come together to create this moment where your book, product or service is the cosmic lightning that will change the universe. No one believes you, sorry!

For our example, my pitch would look like this:

Hello, I’m Rufus the Dog and I’m the first dog to write a book about marketing. Seriously, I’ve been the spokesdog for XXX brand for the past 10 years, and if you think marketing is a crazy business, you should try seeing it through the eyes of a dog! Plus, my owner (who helped me write it) has been a marketing specialist for the past 20 years, and has worked on major national brands such as XXX and XXX.

I would love to have you consider my book for review. May I send you a copy? Thanks so much for your consideration!

Seriously, that’s all there is to it. You can offer more background information, video clips, a book or project case study, but don’t send it with the first email. Get the media’s attention by getting to the point and knowing what you want. Once you have their attention, you can hit them with both barrels!

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29 comments on “Writing a great pitch”

  1. Owner???!!!??? Are you implying that I am OWNED by someone? He is merely my EDITOR, nothing more. And he needs to learn his place around here. The only reason I’m keeping him around is I have no thumbs and hitting that space bar is a heck of a task. :-)

    Now I’ve got to write that book otherwise that pitch line will never be used. Seems a shame to waste it on some extremely attractive bitch (the dog kind, not the people kind) pitching FOX.

    April 14th, 2011 at 5:05 pm

  2. Rufus, I’m awfully sorry of course he’s just an editor. but it does seem as though you need him for an awful lot. :)

    April 14th, 2011 at 6:02 pm

  3. Enjoyed reading this article (-:
    Read some of mine ^_^
    How to Start Investing in The Stock Market

    April 14th, 2011 at 10:53 pm

  4. Thank for the tips. Writing a excellent pitch is certainly not very difficult but you have to follow some basic steps.

    April 15th, 2011 at 5:48 am

  5. Very nice article! Bookmarked!

    April 17th, 2011 at 4:29 am

  6. Interesting points to consider before “Writing a great pitch”. Excellent writing means it has an easy flow and rhythm when read aloud.

    April 18th, 2011 at 12:31 am

  7. Funny how sometimes we try to make something better by making it more complicated.

    Thanks for the reminder that this shouldn’t be the case.

    April 18th, 2011 at 2:25 pm

  8. Excellent tips. I used to work for a record label where I spent the grand majority of my time soliciting reviews for the various artists on the label.

    Over the course of my time there I learned that anything longer than a single paragraph very rarely got a reply. I’m just bummed I didn’t read this post back then! It would have saved me a lot of grief wondering why no body wanted to write a review about the label’s bands!

    April 18th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

  9. It’s worth remembering AIDA – Attention (grabbing it), Interest, Desire, and… Action – ask for what you want! Great article.

    April 18th, 2011 at 3:39 pm

  10. I think I wrote a bajillion super long incredibly brilliant pitches before I figured this out myself, so don’t feel bad. :)

    April 18th, 2011 at 3:39 pm

  11. Some presentations are too long, and although they may contain a lot of interesting info, the purpose is to make a statement as clearly as possible. I think that this goes for every presentation, as well as PowerPoint presentations.

    April 19th, 2011 at 3:43 am

  12. firstly, you should always set up clear goals for the pitch. it is never a single player game: the other person (the one you are addressing) should as well benefit from cooperation.

    and when you draw a simple line between action and benefits, chances are your pitch will be a success.

    April 20th, 2011 at 9:43 am

  13. Very good tips…I especially like what you said about leaving out the flowery stuff. Like you said people just don’t believe the hype. Thanks for the advice.

    April 20th, 2011 at 9:46 am

  14. [...] last week’s posts on pitching, I was surprised to receive this pitch today from a huge “fan” of my blog whose name [...]

    April 21st, 2011 at 8:15 am

  15. I like the idea of drawing a line between action and benefits. Will remember that one for sure!

    April 21st, 2011 at 8:18 am

  16. Hey Rufus,

    You are officially the coolest, most amazing dog on earth. :) This is the first time I’ve seen a dog make a valuable opinion on marketing. Good take on writing pitches.

    December 4th, 2011 at 11:37 pm

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    December 5th, 2011 at 1:50 pm

  18. Thanks for the tips – everything seems so obvious, but while writing a pitch, we often neglect these simple but really important points.

    March 15th, 2012 at 6:17 am

  19. This is so true and useful for entrepreneurs and marketeers. The thing I’ve found that helps the most is to almost “trick” the person you’re pitching to, to ask more about you. Intrigue them enough to let them do the work of convincing for you!

    March 15th, 2012 at 8:52 am

  20. Nice article! I haven’t come across a “how to” for pitches before… very valuable info. Thanks for sharing!

    March 15th, 2012 at 12:19 pm

  21. Great article! I really liked the tips. Thanks for sharing!

    March 15th, 2012 at 12:39 pm

  22. This is such a nice article that i really enjoyed going through.Nice tips and useful information.Thanks for sharing.

    March 20th, 2012 at 5:02 am

  23. Ramit Sethi from “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” has a similar take on this (although his is more geared towards networking and getting job prospects). He says to make the first email/note/call as brief and clear as possible.

    He also says that explaining similarities and not mentioning the request in the first email are crucial. People are much less likely to respond if its obvious that you just want something from them.

    I need to make sure to incorporate both of these ideas into my networking.

    March 20th, 2012 at 1:59 pm

  24. Good term you used to give examples of marketing and its effective methods to deploy them successfully. Marketing always needs something very special or new.

    March 22nd, 2012 at 12:48 am

  25. Some thing differ in your blog and that is i like most. I really enjoy. Nice work

    March 23rd, 2012 at 5:31 am

  26. Awesome guideline to writing a pitch. Here in Denmark we have a lot of great books about piches, I’ve read, but I think this post sum-up the main points in a very good way.

    Thanks for shaing.

    March 28th, 2012 at 6:48 am

  27. It’s really great stuff overall, I just wanted to say thank you.

    April 6th, 2012 at 12:14 am

  28. Thanks for the tips – everything seems so obvious, but while writing a pitch, we often neglect these simple but really important points.

    great appreciation.

    May 26th, 2012 at 3:18 pm

  29. I haven’t come across a “how to” for pitches before… very valuable info. Thanks for sharing!

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    May 27th, 2012 at 2:49 am