We get it.
It’s your job to pitch a product, service, or article to other companies and websites. Maybe you’re just trying to build a backlink profile for your website; we totally understand. You get paid to send email after email and message after message to companies who are most likely going to ignore you.
It sucks and we sympathize.
But it’s high time someone drew a line in the sand; there are some basic communications principles that are being violated in almost every email pitch I receive.
The total number of both business and consumer emails sent and received per day is expected to reach 319.6 billion by 2022; it’s easy to why yours might get lost in the crowd.
Whether you’re a salesman, an SEO, or a CEO, as long as you’re pitching, this message is for you: your pitches lack sincerity — they smack of plasticity, repetition, and an almost intentional patterning (as a general rule of thumb, if anything you say in a pitch feels like it’s been templated or manufactured in an assembly line, it’s likely going to be disregarded as if it were “no different from everything else”).
Here’s an awesome pitch email we received a few weeks ago that I’ve lovingly come to call “the joke template”:
This example shows us three extremely important aspects of a fantastic pitch:
- An Offer of Value
Please know that I write this article as a public service to all my fellow blog editors, writers, and site owners who receive pitch emails wherever they may be. Please make the following changes to your pitches:
How to Craft an Authentic Pitch
One tactic you will see consistently is the ‘fan approach.’ Uninspired pitchers will attempt to shortcut a relationship by jumping straight to an obviously false fandom or try to fabricate a friendship. Let’s see if this looks familiar to you:
I absolutely love your site! I’ve been a reader for a while now and I’m glad to see that you’re providing so much value to your readers.
I just wrote an article that kind of like yours…”
I’d like to make one thing clear at this point: if you’re asking for a link, we know you’re not a fan. When legitimate blog readers write to us, they ask for or give advice related to the subject matter of the blog. Readers will only occasionally ask if they can write an article.
Real readers almost never ask for a link to their article. So, pitchers, please stop acting like you’re a fan of our blog; we know the truth.
However misguided the ‘fan approach’ is, you are nearing the right idea. What you want in your pitch email is to create a relationship, not allude to its pre-existence — and you absolutely cannot create a relationship by being fake.
Let me show you a more sincere version of the above example:
I hope I’m not wasting your time. I really do hope you get this message. I just read your article about —– and wanted to share a few thoughts I had about it. I loved your idea about —–. It reminded me of the time my mom gave me a piece of advice about —–. She said —–.
I was actually thinking about writing an article about this idea and wanted to get your thoughts on it and maybe quote you if that’s at all possible…”
Your pitch will be authentic if you prove that you’ve paid attention to the person to whom you’re pitching.
Answer these questions about the person you’re pitching to before sending an email:
- What do they value?
- Can I help or add value?
- How can I show I appreciate their work?
If you can answer these questions and show that you’ve done your work beforehand, your pitch will be authentic.
How to Offer Collaboration and Value
You cannot convince a person to collaborate on a project if you do not first spell out the exact benefits of collaboration. In “the joke template” pitch email we received, the pitcher listed and answered a few questions that I recommend you answer in every pitch email you send:
- What do I want from you?
- Why is this [product, service, or resource] great?
- What do you get out of this?
Because I knew exactly what I would get out of a collaboration and felt the authenticity of the writer, I decided to respond to the sender of the “the joke template.” People will respond to your pitch the moment they feel confidence in an authentic exchange of value.
In fact, this should be your mantra when writing pitch emails: exchange of value, exchange of value, exchange of value.
The Perfect Email Pitch
What have we learned so far?
First, you need to be authentic and sincere in your pitches (and that involves an almost brutal honesty). Say exactly what you’re looking for and don’t try to mask it by insinuating some sort of relationship — you have to build it right then and there. Second, you need to make an offer of collaboration. And last, in order to collaborate, you need to provide something of value. Remember that the most successful pitches will clearly express an equal exchange of value.
Along with those rules, there are important questions to be answered.
So, here is a complete list of the questions that you must answer in your pitch emails:
- What does the recipient of your pitch value most?
- How can you add value?
- How can you show appreciation for their work?
- What do you want from the recipient?
- Why is your product, service, or resource great?
- What does the recipient receive out of the collaboration?
The problem with pitch creation is this: How do you both stand out and remain professional? How can they both take you seriously and like you at the same time?
I’ve always operated under the opinion that the more you get to know a person, the harder it is to ignore them. That means the golden key to successful pitching is relationship building. Your goals should reflect authenticity in your attempts to initiate relationships in your pitches.
Trust me, the more you authentic you are, the more likely people are to respond to your pitch.
Anything less than authentic is just plain annoying.
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