Identifying your real value as a pitching pro
The wealthy attorney was cursing while his BMW sputtered and jerked its way into the auto repair shop.
He was late for a client meeting and demanded the sole mechanic look at it immediately. The lawyer, clad in his Armani suit, fidgeted in frustration while the grizzled old guy lifted the hood and looked for a minute. Then he pulled a screwdriver from his coveralls, reached in and tightened a single screw.
“Try it now,” he said.
The attorney jumped behind the wheel and turned the key. The engine purred like a kitten.
He leaned out the window with a huge grin and asked, “How much?”
“Two hundred dollars,” came the deadpan reply.
“What?” cried the attorney, now scowling. “All you did was tighten one screw! It took you less than a minute!”
“Charge for tightening one screw is one dollar,” said the mechanic, loving every minute of it. “Knowing which screw to tighten costs $199.”
Pitching media can be similar.
Your final email, after all your strategizing and revisions, might not look very complicated.
For example, here’s the entire email that Inner Circle member Scott Willyerd sent to top-tier writers last month:
Ahead of President Obama meeting with the Pope, I wanted to send you updated Papal and Presidential approval ratings from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.
Thanks for your time and consideration.
Many would have been tempted to include a whole press release and clutter the email with more detail. Scott’s minimalist approach landed strong mentions of his client in USA Today, NPR, two wire services with multiple pick-ups, and several political outlets.
So stand strong in keeping your pitch emails brutally brief. Anyone can paste a news release into an email and press “send.”
Your real value to your organization is knowing what to include, and often more importantly, what NOT to.
This article was originally published on April 15, 2014
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