One of my favorite quotes is hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” While it may apply to many aspects of life and taking risks, it can also pertain to writing pitches to promote your business as well. Here are three tips that help you get free publicity and pitchbetter.
1. Create a simple pitch
Before I genuinely knew how to create a pitch, I would usually go the “keep it simple” route. One of the first people I ever pitched was the well-known professional organizer, Peter Walsh. I asked him if he could provide tips for an article I was writing.
The articles I wrote were for a site that generated a great deal of traffic to a specific audience. I used that data as part of my pitch. I explained who I was, what I was writing about, asked if he’d like to share insight and explained how this could benefit him. I also provided a link to my work in the signature so he could see the quality of my writing.
He agreed to do it and I was able to post a Q and A style article. I can’t say this would work for every person you’re trying to pitch. I leveraged the popularity of the site I wrote for and took a chance. I also knew his personality and style after watching him for years on Oprah. Getting to the point was vital.
2. Pitch away.
Most of the pitches I write have more meat to them than how I approached the expert above. You have to know what is appropriate for the person you are contacting. The search engine gods have well equipped the interwebs with a variety of ways for the average person to come up with a pitch. Sites like Hubspot, Linkedin, Entrepreneur and other places on the web can show you sample pitches or provide tips to get you started with writing one.
Be specific when you research. For instance, many magazines will have guidelines and a specific person to contact. Read several back issues in the section you would like to appear in beforehand. Also, you want to make sure you aren’t pitching an idea they have already covered recently.
With free publicity, you might receive many no’s before getting a yes. Or, you might not even receive a response. That’s normal. You still want to keep trying. Sometimes you can have a fabulous pitch, but you get turned down for a different reason. That happened to me before. I used to write about saving money on food, so I approached the food section of a popular magazine. Here’s a rejection email I received:
I’m sorry I didn’t respond sooner. Thanks for your idea, but this is something our food editor would be likely to address in-house; we don’t generally assign food content. Thanks again.”
In this case, there wasn’t anyway for me to know this until I tried. That’s just part of the process. You can keep a spreadsheet of this type of information to make sure you don’t accidentally pitch this person again with a similar idea.
The Bottom Line
No matter the media outlet, be it television, print articles or podcasts, be sure to to do your research on it first. The time you invest in this process will pay off in helping you promote your business better with free publicity