February 15, 2012 / Tips + Tricks
10 Questions To Help You Write a Media Pitch
Publicist and brand builder Elena Verlee is one of Forbes Magazine’s “20 Women for Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter,” holds the distinction of an All Facebook “10 Facebook Pages Every PR Professional Should Be Reading” and is a Visa Business Network Syndicate. Whew! When she’s not racking up limelight honors, she manages the high-growth and technology PR agency Cross Border Communications, which services the UK, Canada and the US, and maintains the irresistible PR in Your Pajamas, a blog that focuses on equipping smaller-budget entrepreneurs and businesses with do-it-yourself marketing savvy and know-how. In this guest post, Elena talks about how entrepreneurs (who, like most of us in the photography industry, probably never studied writing) can craft on-target media pitches to maximize exposure for their business. Here are her top 10 most vital tips for DIY marketing magic!
Follow Elena Verlee on Twitter.
Post by Elena Verlee.
I have friends whose big dream is to sequester themselves and write a book. Although I like to write, it’s not something I dream of doing day in and day out. I don’t like sitting in front of a blank page, but I do know that once I get an idea and get started, things usually flow.
Most entrepreneurs I know are not writers. You started your business because your passion and natural gifts are in a particular space.
Most entrepreneurs I know didn’t realize how much marketing they would need to do in order to succeed. And that effective writing- from websites to sales materials, direct mail to blog posts – will be a crucial part of you getting heard above the noise.
If you’re doing your own PR, writing a media pitch can be downright intimidating. I know it’s hard to sit down to a blank piece of paper. So I’m sharing with you some questions I ask our clients, in order to help your creative juices flow and create a compelling media story.
1. What does your company do?
This is something that you must be able to communicate with ease. This is your elevator pitch and the two or three sentences that you use every day, that clearly introduces your company.
2. Why did you start a company?
Being an entrepreneur can be hard work. Where did the motivation, inspiration and drive to start your business come from? Or, is there something funny or accidental about how you got started?
3. What makes your product or service offering different or unique?
I’ll be honest that I think almost nothing is really new. Right? But there is something in how you offer it and how you present it and how you market it that is going to be unique just to you. Find out what that is and tell the world about it.
4. What’s the pricing and how is it available?
Please, do make it easy for the reporter to communicate how customers can buy from you!
5. What makes you uniquely qualified to be successful with this company?
People buy from people so it’s really compelling that you figure out, “What is your story?” What’s your relevant background or experience that can allow your potential market to connect with you? What have you done in the past that has given you the skills or knowledge to create your product or service? What kind of awards have you won that establishes you as a particular expert in your field?
6. Who is using or could use your product and service right now?
This is about being really clear about your target market and it might seem like common sense. Which is why most people tend to leave it out when they’re pitching to media. Don’t assume it will be clear to a reporter who has never met you and never heard about you.
7. How will your product or service make your customers’ lives easier?
You need to make people’s lives easier, whatever it is you’re offering. There is a pain point that someone in your target market is having and your product or service is meeting that need. So, communicate that clearly because if the editor doesn’t understand why their readership should care, then they’re not going to be interested in writing a story about you.
8. If you could make three points about your company, product or service, what would it be?
Think of the three most important points you want somebody to come away with. The answer to this question alone is an entire media pitch.
9. Do you have an approved customer testimonial you can use in your marketing?
Obviously, testimonials carry a lot of weight or at least show that your product, service or offering is real. You can check out a post I’ve written on How to Get Testimonials if you need some.
10. My favorite question – What’s the boldest, most outrageous or provocative statement you’re willing to make?
I love this question because this is the question that’s going to make you stand out. You know, if you’re going to be doing your own PR , you need to believe in yourself and believe in your company and make a claim that you know is true…but are afraid makes you sound self-promoting.
If you don’t do it, someone else will make a stand for what they believe and what they’re passionate about, what they think the potential of their product or service could be and THEY will get the press and the sales.
I just want to share a quote from Michael Jordan which I found really interesting. He was asked how much he bets on golf. And he says, “Whatever makes me nervous.”
So I want to challenge all of you to be nervous about stepping out and getting buzz for your business. Being nervous just means you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone and are growing.
Make sure when you’re writing your media pitch, to get on the edge. Get on the edge of what you want to say and take a stronger stand for what you believe in.
Those are the stories worth writing about.