How one short media pitch spiked a client’s web traffic

I’ve been hearing from many of you who are having success reacting to journalists’ and bloggers’ previous work.

Here’s a case study to help you hone your approach.

Mercy Chikowore came to my pitching workshop in DC and paid special attention to the section on customizing pitches and keeping them “brutally brief.”

When she was introducing her bitcoin online retailer to the world, here’s what she sent to Business Insider writer:

Hi Dylan,

Just read your story on the bitcoin ATM – definitely impressive. We’re also so impressed with bitcoin that we opened an online megastore where bitcoin users can buy just about anything they want. If you don’t believe me, just click the link.

You can find more info about the store in the release below. We haven’t been on Letterman, but let us know if this is something that interests you.



Two hours later, this story ran on Business Insider. Mercy found out when a cofounder emailed her that traffic was spiking (he was so excited we can’t share his language here :). Page views went up more than tenfold. The BI story also got picked up by Yahoo Finance and the San Francisco Chronicle.

It started discussions on reddit that resulted in people reaching out for opportunities to invest in or work for the company.

In what’s perhaps a signal of how well Mercy did her job, one of the 141 reddit commenters asked “How did these guys get Business Insider to write an article about them!?”

Takeaways for us:

1. If non-traditional-media sites like Business Insider and reddit aren’t already on your radar as potentially influential ways to reach your audiences, they should be.

2. Mercy’s dogged research before her pitch not only identified someone who was clearly interested in bitcoin, but also gave her a way to make a personal connection to the fact he had been on Letterman.

3. Have the courage to let your careful customization stand on its own, and resist the urge to bog down your initial pitch with background.

We talk about pitches like this multiple times a month in the Inner Circle.

Congrats to Mercy, and to all of you who are getting responses and placements by pitching smarter.

This article was originally published on March 26, 2015

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