Pitch Tip: Sell Benefits And Stop Focusing On Functionality When Approaching Strangers

When you are close to what you are writing about creating a new pitch is challenging. You need to create enough interest, in seconds, for them to consider writing about it.

Writers are not concerned with the same set of gold stars you carefully placed on your product. They want to know what value their readers will see, immediately. Writers need reader benefits, egregious benefits.

Feel out your pitch recipients with research. If you did your research and have started to de-stranger these writers you will know what they like to write about, how they write and maybe what they like to eat from a twitter stalk.

Reviewers, interviewers, copy writers and editorial managers care about the value their readers seek. Pitch how your customer feels. Pitch the benefits. Pitch how it helps a problem people have. Then you may add brief details of usefulness or functionality.

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Admitting Defeat and That Sand-in-Your-Pockets Feeling

Admitting defeat is difficult. You must view it as temporary and move on. Think of defeat as, “try a different approach next time.”

I had a publicity campaign recently that lent little media coverage for a client. On top of the wave of disgust and outrage that flowed over me, the hardest part was explaining to my client that my efforts fell short of our goals.

The warm sand-in-the-pocket feeling of failure needs to be replaced with the embrace of a needed loss. It was needed to reflect, to humble and to remind – we are always learning.

Why would I write about a “failure?” Because failure happens. We must be grateful for failure because first and foremost we were given an opportunity. If you failed at that opportunity it should teach you to get back up and  dig deeper. Failure provokes you to try harder and take another swing – or at least, that’s what I tell myself.

Let’s go!

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It Never Hurts To Ask

Keep it simple, stupid. Harsh but true. Get used to failure and hearing “no.” It’s a long race keep running and swinging folks.

DecentLuck

“Ask for the sale,” is 101 stuff. Why? Because you never know.

If you need help publicizing your thing, just ask. Ask reviewers, publications and other publicists – like me, for help. I am willing to help, ask me a question.

Do reviewers answer you back after you follow up 3 times – sometimes, no. If you haven’t heard from them, move on. Don’t keep at them for a little while. Get some air in there. Let “it” breath. Go back fresh. Think about different angles. Try different initiatives to better your luck with a write up or feature.

That’s it. Swing hard and often.

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Fickle Publicity – What’s Your F’in Story?

Approaching a writer for coverage is a delicate process. If you take your due diligence serious you will find the number one complaint from writers is receiving unrelated topic pitches. You must research the person you are pitching. Find out the writer/interviewers beat and interests before you approach them. 

If your pitch is not related to a writer’s wheelhouse of topics, move on, or wait until something is directly related to the subject matter they cover. Don’t blow it.

Research the person your pitch is going to. Check their style, see what they share and realize you are one of many trying to get in front of their audience. Each pitch you send out will get better. Learn. Be persistent but not a nuisance.

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Admitting Defeat and That Sand-in-Your-Pockets Feeling

Admitting defeat is difficult. You must view it as temporary and move on. Think of defeat as something saying, “try a different approach next time.”

I had a publicity campaign recently that lent to little media coverage for a client. On top of the wave of disgust and outrage that flowed over me, the hardest part was explaining to my client that my efforts (while invisible and unseeingly valiant), fell well short of our goals.

The warm sand-in-the-pocket feeling of failure needs to be replaced with the embrace of a needed loss. It was needed to reflect, to humble and to remind – we are always learning.

Why would I write about a “failure?” Because failure happens. Not just for me, but for all types of companies and services. We must be grateful for failure, because first and foremost we were given an opportunity. If you failed at that opportunity it should teach you to get back up and to dig deeper. Failure provokes you to try harder and take another swing – or at least that’s what I tell myself.

Let’s go!

Posted in change, learn, promotions, zen | 1 Comment

It Never Hurts To Ask

“Ask for the sale,” is 101 stuff. Why? Because you never know.

If you need help publicizing your thing, just ask. Ask reviewers, publications and other publicists – like me, for help. I am willing to help, ask me a question.

Do reviewers answer you back after you follow up 3 times – sometimes, no. If you haven’t heard from them, move on. Don’t keep at them for a little while. Get some air in there. Let “it” breath. Go back fresh. Think about different angles. Try different initiatives to better your luck with a write up or feature.

That’s it. Swing hard and often.

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Defining a message and Phonics. What do they get out of it?

Define coverage by separating yourself from it. Start looking at it as a 3rd party, now.

What is “it” exactly? Well, “it” is: your business, your baby, your book, art, event or product.

When working on your brand and business, it is difficult to separate yourself from the work and the emotional attachment to your child/business. Separate yourself from your biased love to creative the process and head space needed to produce objective content.

When defining a message to be dragged across multiple platforms – it needs to be simple and emotive with, “What is the customer going to get out of it,” at the top-of-the-list.

If you cannot stand the thought of thinking that way, here’s another thought to keep in mind – “Keep it in the basement.”

Go forth.

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Does social media make taboo, third-rail topics, newsworthy?

For better or worse, our hyper competitive online news culture morphs what is socially acceptable water-cooler talk. Social media raises the question, “What is newsworthy?”

With endless choice available for search, “Are all topics are open for discussion?”

Within this new news/business landscape, at the intersection of change, innovation brings topics once buried into the public’s hands like weed, sex-ting, wiener pic tweets and public searches for terrorists. Good or bad? Doesn’t matter much – it’s here. 

While many may dislike the newly scattered attention deprived news, you cannot deny that interest stories now have access to a playing field that was once members only. Where are the really controversial editorials promoting change? 

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Shotgun Your Goals, Slow Pitch Batting Cage Style, At First.

Mapping project goals can be tough. At the start, being specific and going for the bulls-eye on a dimly lit board, does not fly for me. All ideas are on the table at first. This helps my personal interactions with others by providing a small, false sense of accomplishment.

Here’s how you start mapping ideas, take the proverbial shotgun approach, at a reasonably close range exploding every idea into small pieces. Think slow pitch at the batting cages. You are in there, with a poorly fitting neon helmet, a horrible stance, gripping the bat hard, all sorts of tense swinging with everything you have you de-f’in-stroy a few lobs, Wack! Feel that? Yeah you do! Either you connect with the ball or you throw out a few muscles. 

At the start of a project, all the heavy lifting occurs. Large objects are swung and loud hollering can be heard as I beat up my ideas, chopping, solidifying and creating a narrow path to my goals. I take large swings, with my eyes closed, blindly massaging a document with campaign ideas, posts, press releases, bios, copy-writing ideas, strategy etc.  After the sweating stops and I catch my breath – I typically have a focused idea of where to go.

At any given time, I have several projects going on at once. I am busy all the time. I have many irons on the fire and that is the way I like it. I persist. I am motivated.

Most importantly, I set broad goals and then narrow them down to specific concepts and paths for my client’s improvement and myself.  Swing away, get sweaty and start today.

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Contrary Motion Brain Storm. DIY Pitch Development.

A small business, launching a promotion campaign, needs to step outside of itself and look back in – with judgment, skepticism and constant distractions. Carry that muddled ‘meh’ feeling as an albatros when designing your DIY PR campaign. That albatross represents the people receiving your pitches for coverage and bookings. Keep that front of mind.

What is going to cut through all the vanilla fodder out there? 

The journalists you are pitching are very busy. They are inundated with ticker tape statements, email pitches and lolcat photos. Lame, boring, soulless products and passionless people are approaching the same media outlets.

Trash long winded descriptions.

When designing a publicity campaign try talking out loud while writing. Talk with others about your angle. I enjoy long lectures, or long-ish statements with poignant anecdotes and smashing points at the end – on the contrary, for publicity and PR, keep it short, stupid. Write like you speak. Here is some more info about writing out loud.

While you write – talk to yourself, out loud.

Define a concise pitch. Beat it up. Re-write it. Beat it up, again. Let it lay there injured while you think mean things about it, then go back to it and make a mends.

Be contrary during the developmental process. You have less time than you think to make an impression. Be contrary, out loud and on purpose to cover angles and get additional brainstorming ideas. Cut out fodder. Appeal to your target audience with irrefutable facts and worthy intent. 

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