Summer films & pitches should pack a punch

One of my favorite things about summer is the movies. These are not the heavy, nuanced films vying for awards. These are the action-packed confections served up to delight audiences. Whether you go in for Marvel must-sees like Black Widow, adrenaline-filled Fast & Furious 9, or Disney-rides-turned-movies like Jungle Cruise, theaters this summer are filled with action.

In comparison, did your last pitch lack a punch at the end? Did you lay out an awesome story angle you knew your target would love and then close the deal with a strong call-to-action? Or did you put it all out there and then simply write, “Let me know if you’d like more information”? If so, the Rock would be disappointed in you.

A call-to-action is the whole point of your pitch. You want them to do something as a result of reading it. And yet this is left out much of the time, or thrown in hastily at the end as an afterthought.

A call-to-action need not be grand to be effective. Sometimes baby steps and micro-commitments are the best way to go. It depends on your relationship with the reporter and the information you provide. But every pitch should end with at least some kind of ask. Here are just a few examples:

  • Would you like to schedule a time to talk to the CEO?
  • Can I give you a call to share more details?
  • Would you like to see the videos we shot?
  • Can I send you a sample to try?
  • Would you like the full report?
  • Is this something you're interested in?

If you’ve spent the time and effort to research your target audience, create a relevant story angle, and draft a concise and compelling pitch, you’ve earned the right to ask. They still may say no, that’s their right, but you get to ask.

Even if you prefer romantic comedies to action flicks, the protagonist usually makes a grand romantic gesture – flowers, puppies, a boombox – and then asks for something. Will you go out with me? Will you go to prom with me? Will you marry me? How anticlimactic it would be to see our hero chase his love to the airport, catch her just before she gets on the plane, and offer a lame, “Have a good weekend.” No one would watch that movie. (Okay, if it was starring Henry Cavill my wife would watch that movie.)

Take inspiration from action or romance, but end your pitches with a strong and confident call-to-action. Ask for something. You might get a “no.” Or you might save the day, find true love, and secure an awesome placement. It’s worth the risk.

This article was originally published on July 15, 2021

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