One of the best ways to promote your home business is to provide content to other sources such as newspapers, radio, blogs, podcasts and more. Getting included in these media outlets isn’t hard, unless you go about it the wrong way. While media resources need guests and content, they don’t have a lot of time, which means your pitch needs to be clear and complete to get noticed. Here are tips on how to make your pitches more successful.
Before the Pitch
1) Create a value proposition. Before you can reach out to media, you need to know what you have to offer. Create a value proposition that succinctly describes your business in terms of benefits to others. For example, if you’re a freelance editor, a value proposition might be, “Helping writers get the words right.” Depending on who you’re pitching, you might want to tweak your value proposition to fit the market. For example, a freelance editor pitching a blog targeted to indie authors might have a value proposition, “Helping indie writers get the words right.”
2) Research your targets. This exercise is two-fold: One, to find the right resources for what you have to offer, and two, to learn about them so you can tailor your pitch. Some areas you should research include the market, past posts or guests and guidelines, if any, to pitching. When looking at past content, you want to find resources that produce content similar to what you want to pitch; however, you’ll want to pitch something different than is already posted. For example, if I wanted to be a guest on a podcast to talk about telecommuting, but the show had a guest on that topic within the last few weeks, I’d want to talk about a different idea such as how to ask a boss to telecommute.
3) Write a template. Pitches should be tailored to each media outlet you write to, but pitching goes faster if you work from a template. My template comes pre-written with the content that shows up in every pitch: why I’m an expert in the topic, my contact information and my signature line.
Making the Pitch
1) Get the name right. A complaint among editors and producers is correspondence that doesn’t address them by the right name. You won’t always be able to find the name, but do your due diligence to find it. It’s more powerful to write “Dear. Mr. Smith” than “To Whom It May Concern.”
2) Follow the guidelines. If a media outlet has posted submission information, do what it says. I always ask people not to attach their guest posts, and yet so many do. I often seek podcast guests with specific details on what needs to be submitted for consideration, and yet many people don’t provide the information I said I need. Some outlets will refuse to use your pitch if you don’t follow instructions, so follow the guidelines if they're given.
3) Tailor the pitch to the media source. Starting with your template, add the details that are specific to your pitch idea and the media source. Open with salutation to the person in charge of booking. Write the first line about why you’re getting in touch and your idea. Next, tell them why you’re a good resource to share this idea with its market and include your value proposition. Depending on the resources, you might want go into more detail about your idea. Then include a link to your media kit and ways to get in touch with you. End with your signature line that includes links to your website and appropriate social media. Don’t forget to add or tweak your pitch to fit guidelines provided by the media outlet. Here’s a sample pitch:
Dear Ms. Smith,
I’m contacting you to see if you’d be interested in covering “How to Ask a Boss to Telecommute” on your show, (name of show). My name is Leslie Truex and I help people find or create flexible work options. (Next I include books I’ve written, media outlets I’ve appeared on and anything else that gives me credibility in the topic).
If you’re interested, I’d love a chance to discuss this further. You can access my media kit here and contact me by email or phone (email and phone number).
Thank you for your time and consideration.
4) Follow Up. Just because you don’t hear back doesn’t mean the resource isn’t interested in interviewing you or running your content. Don’t be afraid to send a follow-up email 10 to 14 days later asking if the person got the pitch and if more information is needed. Your time is valuable too, so if you don’t hear back after that nudge, move on and offer the idea elsewhere.
Interviews and providing content are great free ways to promote your business, build your credibility and expand your business. Make it easy for media outlets to say yes to your idea by giving them a clear, concise pitch.