You’ve put in a lot of effort and created a great product, and now it’s time to get the word out. How do you go about pitching your idea to those who might be able to help you get attention for your work?
Because our podcast has a lot of listeners, I frequently get “pitched” by publicists and authors wanting to be a guest on the show. I love getting to know about work that I might not otherwise be exposed to, and in many cases the book or potential guest ends up being a great fit for our audience. (In some cases, it’s not a fit, but in that case we always try to help out in other ways if possible.)
However, on occasion we get pitches that are… less than stellar. They are the equivalent of a form letter, or they spend so much time touting the amazing credentials of the potential guest that I can’t really understand the core message of the pitch. (What exactly is it you are asking for, again?)
This morning I received a pitch that started off sounding like a nice, personalized email inquiring about an interview on the podcast, but quickly devolved into an obvious form letter. In essence, the email said the person was a “big fan” of our work at AC, and that the recent post “CLR1: Intro To Creative Leader Roundtable” contained many nuggets of actionable wisdom. It was “off the charts!”
The problem? That post was nothing but a 30 second announcement about an upcoming podcast series. There was no content, and certainly no actionable wisdom.
The pitch was nothing but a form letter in disguise.
As I’m prepping for my upcoming book release, I’ve been going to school on the best ways to share it with others, whether on websites, podcasts or radio, or in magazines. I care deeply about Die Empty, and I want to get it in front of as many people as possible.
Here are some guiding principles that I’ve learned in the past few years as an entrepreneur and author:
1. Be authentic. No posturing. If you sound like you are over-hyping your work, others will discount you. Yes, be confident, but make sure that you are being real. Authenticity goes a long way. And… no form letters!
Along those lines, don’t say you’re a fan unless you really are. Fake appreciation is worse than none at all. If you’re going to make a pitch, get to know the platform well, and explain how previous content relates to your project.
2. Shape your message for the intended target audience. You have to consider how you can best position your message so that it serves their audience, and so that it will be informative, actionable, and inspirational. Don’t come in talking about how great you are and how much the audience will love you. Instead, show that you have an understanding of the needs and aspirations of those you hope to serve.
3. Be sensitive to timing. Don’t send an urgent email the day before your project releases and ask for an interview the next day. At the same time, don’t send an email nine months in advance hoping to schedule an interview for release in conjunction with your project release, as most non-print content creators aren’t working nearly that far in advance. Be sensitive to the needs and timing of the person you are pitching. (For AC, about a month in advance of when you need it is perfect.)
In the world of business pitches, timing is especially critical. Always make sure that you are taking convenience into consideration when making a pitch. Also, if you’re turned down, don’t take it personally. A lot of times, it was simply a matter of timing. A kind re-visit a few months later might result in a different outcome.
4. Be crystal clear about what you want. You have to hone your message to a fine point. Explain what you’re offering, how it will be of benefit, and what you’re hoping could be done to support you. If you are specific, kind, and gracious, you’ll be surprised at how many people will support you. If they don’t, again – don’t take it personally.
To get attention for your work, regardless of what it is, requires effort and persistence. It also requires that you gain an understanding of how to approach those who might help you get the word out. Be confident, be authentic, and be clear. If you do those things, you will be far more likely to succeed.