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It’s All in the Pitch

TODAY’S BUZZ TIP | May 1, 2009

I’ve been giving you guys some pretty great contact information.  Yesterday, Sarah Jessica Parker, the day before, Oprah Magazine’s O List editor.  But what are these contacts worth if you don’t know how to pitch to them or how to leverage them to build your brand.  I’ll take on the media first.  Next week we can discuss how to leverage your celebrity resources.  Here are some tips for writing a great pitch letter:

Say it Plain: Don’t fill your pitch with lots of hype and descriptive words.  What you want to do is intrigue the editor to want to know more.  The best response to a pitch is, “That’s interesting, can you tell me more?”  So, figure out how to position your company/product in such a way that it elicits that response.  If you are the only company on the planet that develops a particular product…then say that.  It’s your unique selling point.
Is your product at the forefront of a particular technology?  Say that too.  Or, if you can tie your product into the latest hot news, then exploit that as well.

Target Your Pitch: I’ve said it many times before, it’s extremely important that you target your pitch.  You may only have one version of a press release, but a pitch letter gives you an opportunity to tailor your pitch to a particular media outlet.  Let’s take the O List.  You should have researched several issues of the magazine to get a sense of what types of products they’ve featured over the last six months.  You can then get a sense of their preferences and craft a pitch accordingly.  You can also get a sense for your chances.  If you still believe your product fits the criteria, go for it.  I suggest contacting the editor via email and include a product image and link to your site.

Follow up:  It’s okay to follow up after a few days to determine interest.  Editors are very busy and sometimes need a little nudge.  And if you are lucky enough to elicit a positive response to your initial pitch and they’ve requested more information, then make sure and send that information swiftly and make reference to your original pitch or message in your letter.  Chances are they’ve already forgotten the angle you were pushing, so make sure and repeat it.

Next week I will provide samples of great pitch letters so you can actually see what I’m talking about, so stay tuned.

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