The recent Southern C Summit brought together great minds and creatives of all types. Part of that experience included the opportunity for at least a dozen or so entrepreneurs to “pitch” their product, talents and ideas to some major players in the print media arena, such as Traditional Home magazine, Hoffman Media Group, Domino magazine, Coastal Living and Better Homes & Gardens.
I took the occasion to chat with Brian Hoffman and Brooke Bell, of Hoffman Media, and Tori Mellott of Traditional Home, to get input on what we could all do to be better prepared for to get their ideas across, so let’s get down to some basics on how you can be ready. You never know when the opportunity will present itself!
- Know your audience:
An observation of my small focus group was that most all of those pitching had not taken the time to research the readership of the magazines to whom they were presenting. Make it easy for them to say yes by demonstrating a working knowledge of their reader demographics. They will notice that you took the time and therefore you can tailor your pitch for their readership. This is critical; otherwise, you are wasting their time and yours. You can usually find these demographics on the magazine websites under advertising.
- Know why your product or service is uniquely qualified for their reader
After you have done your research this step becomes a great deal easier. If your demographics are similar to their reader, then you have a story to tell. Give them a taste of what your demographics are and why they like your product or service. For example, if you are a photographer, give them an example of how your style of photography aligns with the editorial content of their magazine.
- Be concise
A mistake often repeated during the Southern C Summit pitches was trying to tell them everything you do or make in 3 minutes. Give a quick overview and then focus on selling one specific idea. You want to leave them wanting more. If you ramble, you have lost your one great opportunity to catch their attention. If you focus your message and present it in a way where they can imagine either their readier or themselves using your product or services, you have set yourself apart.
- “Show and tell” when possible
Humans are inherently tactile. If you can let them see, feel or taste your product or service it will make an impact. Do not leave it up to their imagination. These editors are pitched all the time and cannot remember everything. If you are pitching in person, having your product in real life will make it more memorable. One of the pitches to Brian Hoffman and Brooke Bell was from an Artist. She had done her research and created mini memories of something that was important to each of them with her embroidery work. They were blown away and impressed by the research she had done. They now have a visual of what she did and her process of telling stories through her art.
- Ask for the order
Never leave the pitch without asking about the next steps. What will they need from you in order to write an article or use your services? In addition, follow-up with an email and a hand written thank you note. Lasting impressions are made when someone is touched by your brand multiple times.Lasting impressions are made when someone is touched by your brand multiple times. Click To Tweet
To help you frame this pitch outline a little better, think of it like this. Say you have to write a cover letter to go along with informational material you want to send out and you have only three paragraphs with which you can articulate your message.
- 1st paragraph: Recite some interesting fact you have learned about the company
- 2nd paragraph: Why you, your product or service are uniquely qualified to pique the interest of their reader.
- 3rd paragraph: Ask for the order…meaning something like, “I would like to arrange a follow up meeting or phone call. What date would be good?” or “what else do you need from me to make this happen?” Always leave a hand out or business card with your contact information.
Good luck and be ready for your next pitch opportunity.