Mom Entrepreneurs: Learn How to Make The Perfect Pitch in 4 Steps

Learn How to Make The Perfect Pitch in 4 Steps

 

I receive dozens of email solicitations every day, from PR queries and

blog post pitches to product reviews and service ads. And while my time

is precious (and most of the pitches are off target), my role at The Mogul

Mom requires that I stay at the leading edge of business and motherhood

trends, continually source new and unique writing talent for guest posts,

and seek out promising opportunities and partnerships to pass on to

our readers. Which means I (or my team) go through them all the

pitches we receive. Yep, you heard me: ALL.

 

I give every email its due consideration of about a millisecond while my

cursor hovers uneasily between save and delete. And so must any agency,

organization or media outlet that fields talent and ideas. If you have

something to pitch–and I’m guessing all of you do–this is great

news. Because it means you have at least a shot at being seen and that your

chances for success have everything to do with factors that you control. The

key is to master the secrets of turning that millisecond audition

into a momentary pause, a click and a response.

Time and again I see the same fatal mistakes in the pitches I pass

over. Strange as it may seem it’s the deceptively banal details that actually

make me linger and respond. I share my secrets of editor intrigue in hopes

that you lovely, lion-hearted mogul moms will pitch perfect and do us all

proud. 😉

 

The 4 Secrets to Being Pitch Perfect

 

1. It’s NOT About You

I cannot stress this point enough. It’s as true in courting editors as it is in

dating. Spend the whole evening talking about yourself, demonstrate little

interest or blatant misinformation about the other party and you’re not

likely to get called back for a second date. The same is true when pitching.

I would estimate that at least 75% of the emails I receive for The

Mogul Mom address me by first name–unfortunately it’s

usually the wrong one! Personally, I’m willing to overlook it–after

all, I’m relatively new here–but I know many other editors consider it a

deal breaker. I even have publicists with whom I’ve partnered in lengthy

projects, who still send pitches addressing me by the wrong name! Even

though these emails are likely auto-generated, it’s no excuse.

 

When in the unnerving position of being interviewed or scrutinized, most

of us tend to fall back onto self-promotion. We worry we may not be

considered or we may be misperceived, so we talk up our qualifications and

experience. This is almost always the wrong move. And possibly the reason

so many marketing campaigns fail. Instead, do your research. Ensure the

contact information you’re using is current. Show them you know who

THEY are.

 

If you’re pitch includes the sentiment that your idea/writing/product is

ideal for the recipient, make sure you demonstrate knowledgeability

about the recipient. Wow the editor with a thoughtful reflection about

their audience, their legacy or traditions, or a cutting edge direction for

their future. Once you do that, a simple “that’s where I come in” will suffice.

Chances are, you’ll get a bite.

 

2. Be Proper

I don’t mean to overwork the dating analogy, but in many ways, good

dating behavior is just good relating. What woman (even those of us who

are drawn to the ‘bad boys’ or fancy ourselves healthily liberated) isn’t

impressed when a date opens her car door? C’mon ladies, admit it! There’s

something to be said for propriety, manners and good ole’ fashioned

courtesy. Why? Because it makes us feel respected. And that’s something

everyone wants.

 

What is respect in an email pitch? Simply put: spell-check. Along

with proper formatting, alignment, terms of address, and fully-spelled

words, it almost guarantees you a response in my world. Unfortunately, I

can’t respond only to respectable emails, because I receive so few of them.

Every time I do get one I’m tempted to turn it in to something, even if it’s

really off-target, just so I can savor for a little longer the joy that is reading

properly-written communication.

 

Maybe I’m old school. But it’s my opinion that we have plenty of outlets

for the short form, with its torturously abbreviated spellings and

fragmented ideas. And a pitch email is not one of them.

 

3. While Less Can Be More, Nothing Is Not More

Many current thought leaders in marketing, emphasize the importance

of the brief pitch. While I agree this can be a very effective measure, I

suspect it is in part responsible for the emails I receive every week, asking

permission to submit a guest post. This is problematic primarily because

our open call for guest posts is clearly stated on the site. These emails make

me feel like their senders aren’t paying attention and that they will go on

wasting my time if I let them, so they generally don’t garner a response.

Brevity in an email pitch is crucially important, because the people reading

them have a lot of volume to get through. However, brevity is not enough

on its own. Make sure you say something in your pitch, ideally

the exact something that the recipient requested (if it’s an open call) or a

valuable nugget of an idea, with a clearly stated proposal of what you’re

offering. Someone who includes specific information about her proposal in

her email is more likely to be chosen than someone who merely hints at an

idea that involves more email exchange to develop.

 

4. Be Generous

I was in an establishment in New Orleans recently, and posted by the front

door was a “barred list,” featuring names like “Crazy Jimmy” and “Patrick

the tarot card reader.” I thought it was so funny I took a picture. If we had

a “barred list” at The Mogul Mom, it would feature nicknames like “More

Please girl” or “I Need It Published Sooner guy,” and sadly, it would be

pretty long.

 

Here’s the thing. If you are so lucky as to have your pitch picked

up, the best thing you can do is to make a big show of gratitude

and generosity. As an editor, I put a lot of time and energy into selecting,

revising, polishing and re-revising our blog posts so that they bring

maximum value to our readers and maximum reach for our guest bloggers.

Hours are dedicated to planning and scheduling of the editorial calendar,

which is to say nothing of the actual editing time. And we’re still a pretty

small shop! Imagine the demands on the time of the people you’re pitching,

many of whom work under extreme pressure.

 

It’s not to say you don’t put a lot of work into what you’re pitching (you do)

and that the person you’re pitching doesn’t stand to gain by what you’re

offering (she does), but agents and editors are people too. Being gracious

goes a long way. If you’re a writer and someone has agreed to publish your

work, follow up with a note of thanks and a question of what you

can do to make their lives easier.

 

Resist the urge to make your first email after being picked up, a request that

the editor do more for you or make the run date earlier or in some other

way bend or break the rules. It makes people feel unappreciated, and might

land you on a barred list.

 

Now it’s time to get out there and pitch perfect. I know you can do it!

I would love to hear your “pitching stories!” Whether you

were pitcher or receiver, tell us in the comments about your tips, triumphs

and tales of woe.

 

Author Bio

Megan Barnes is the owner of The Mogul Mom 

and an aspiring creative writer. She currently lives in Jackson, MS

with her husband Terrence and two adorable dogs, Gus & Fergi. She

is passionate about inspiring and empowering women to fulfill their

visions as moms, entrepreneurs, and vibrant healthy women. Learn

more about The Mogul Mom on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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