A chain is only as strong as its weakest link; similarly an idea is only as good as its pitch. You could have an award winning, life changing piece but if you start that email off with “to whom it may concern,” well, you deserve to be ignored. All joking aside, the key to a good pitch all comes down to how you establish connections and make contacts. Now this is easier said than done as establishing connections takes some time and practice. This infographic is full of tried and true methods to building a good pitch, making a good impression, and successfully establishing connections.
Bad pitches are a dime a dozen and it’s pretty easy to spot them. Bragging about your own content or sucking up to your contact isn’t going to help you in your quest to establish connections. Another telling sign of a bad pitch is an apology. “I’m sorry to bother you,” is never an acceptable piece to a pitch, if you have to apologize then what you’re pitching probably isn’t worth it. Abbreviations or misspellings (especially of the contacts name) are things you’d think people would work hard to avoid, but you’d be surprised. When creating your pitch, remember to open up channels for a conversation. How you should establish connections is by creating a dialogue, not writing a paragraph long commercial.
The first step to creating a good pitch is to understand what you’re going to be up against. Before even considering the competition, how many of emails are actually opened? Where marketing and advertising are concerned 18.81% are opened, and 2.44% of people actually click through on the links. With those numbers, it’s important to draw readers in through a well-thought out subject line. The key is to get their attention and lead them to your content; this is the first step when you establish connections and when you are adding contacts.
When constructing your content you walk a fine line. Be too formal and you run the risk of looking spammy, but be too personal and they might not take you seriously. Just be straightforward and don’t beat around the bush or waste their time. Keep it short and don’t repeat yourself, but be sure to be clear about what it is you want. Do research on your potential connections and find the right people who you think would most benefit from what you have to offer.
Some journalists look for different elements in a pitch to determine whether it’s worth their time. That may sound harsh, but they can get up to hundreds of pitches a day, and it’s up to them to find the diamond in the rough. You’ll have a much easier time to establish connections if you do simple research on who you’re reaching out to. Getting to know their writing and publishing style is a good indication for what they look for in submitted content. Some look for good story telling rather than content while some value brevity and still others prefer to see a personal aspect in pitches.
Rejection, getting ignored, or even rude replies are bound to happen, especially when you’re just starting out. It takes practice to learn how to reach out to people, but don’t let your fear of rejection get in the way of establishing connections. Take risks and put yourself and your idea out there with confidence.
Are you looking to improve your pitching skills? Take a look at this infographic below (developed by NowSourcing) for more on how to construct content and get your point across, as well as successfully establish connections and contacts. If you’re a journalist, what do you look for in a pitch and what kind of advice would you give? Let us know your thoughts in the comments and if you like what you see don’t forget to give it a like and share; it could help turn someone’s pitch into a home run.
How To Establish Connections & Building Contacts