Ask 1099 Mom: What Makes a Good Sales or Media Pitch Email?

Hey, Batter -Batter!
I get pitched numerous times during the day.  Whether it's for my blog, freelance articles, or social media promotion, there is no end to the requests for mention in my online properties.  Some of these pitches are amazing.  Truly.  They make me warm and fuzzy and confident in my decision to promote.  Others just stink. Here is what I look for in a great pitch.  Use these guidelines anytime you reach out to a potential client, media rep or investor.

Is there a Proper Greeting?

"Hello!" "Dear Blogger" or no greeting at all are signs that the person pitching me hasn't done their research.  It makes me feel like I'm on an assembly line of media folks that are being sprayed with a marketing hose and that the rep is praying they get a few drops on everyone.  I much prefer my name, spelled "Linsey" -- not "Lindsay" -- in the greeting.

Is there Foreplay?

Yep, I said it.  No one wants to be bedded without the obligatory dinner (or at least a drink.)  If your tactic to sell reads something like this: "I have a product and I want you to buy it", you will scare off anyone with any sense of self-respect.  Instead, start with a warm up sentence or two.  You can actually read the person's blog or website, and refer to something you particularly enjoyed about it.  Mention that you have a child the same age.  Compliment them on their blog's clean design.  Just don't be creepy.  (No one wants to know that their hair smells good from over the internet.  No one.)

Is the Request Reasonable?

If I've managed to read past the greeting and intro sentences without deleting your message, chances are good that it's made it into my "Inner Sanctum", will be read with much attention, and has a really great possibility of being taken seriously.  This is where you tell me what you have to offer and request something in return.  Are you wanting me to keep you in mind for future stories?  Do you feel that my blog would be a great fit for a product review?  Could you see your iPhone app delighting my readers in a news spotlight?  Does your blog have the perfect post to include in a roundup?  Let me know what will ultimately float your boat.  Just don't go overboard.

Some people have had the audacity to ask for no less than 300 words about their fabulous offering, plus links to their Twitter, Facebook, and Blog, as well as hi-res photos and and a blood sample. Oh, and of course I will need to email them the link along with my genetic makeup within 24 hours.

Do You offer your Appreciation? 

P's and Q's aren't irrelevant in today's era of electronic communications.  In fact, they can go a long way to show that you are a human with a heart and that you care about the people you are emailing.  Sure, you may have the bestest product ever and just the knowledge that it exists will make me the luckiest blogger on the face of the planet.  More likely, however, it's your intent and a semi-decent product that will make me happy. After you give me your pitch, say "thanks."  It's not hard, and it will go a long way towards future good will.  (Keep in mind that if this pitch is not a good fit, I may want to hear about other pitches that will be.  Don't burn the bridge before it ever gets built.)

Here are a few more pointers:
  • Don't use tired sales closing techniques.  I know about this one.  And this one.  If it's a cliché you haven't even tried to disguise as genuine conversation, don't try it.  (And if you are blindly pitching me without any previous consultation, these won't ever work.)
  • Don't name drop.  I get quite a few "I know so-and-so" pitches.  Unless you are working for a company I've worked with in the past, or we have met in person, I likely won't care that you know someone.  The best way to ride the coattails of an existing contact is to arrange for an introductory email.  Something brief from our mutual contact saying "Hi, Linsey!  I'd like you to meet Alice.  We've worked together on projects, and I felt that she could benefit from getting to know you, too" works just fine.
  • Don't forget me.  If we've worked together on a project in the past, please don't send me the same email you send every new contact you are trying to pitch for the first time.  It will just hurt my feelings.  (Not really, but this is a seriously insulting thing to do.) It takes just a few seconds to add the people you pitch that you already know to a special address book in your email.
Do you have any tips for a great sales pitch or media pitch email?  Let us know!  (We also enjoy pet peeves.  Fire at will.) 

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