Lindsay Bell

The Cold Pitch and How to Nail One

By: Lindsay Bell | November 14, 2013 | 
62

pitch

By Lindsay Bell

In the last year and a half of being the boss-lady of this blog (I mean, second to Gini Dietrich, of course), I’ve learned a ton.

I’ve learned about SEO and programming. I’ve learned about planning and patience (lots of patience!). And I’ve learned a thing or two about following my gut.

I’ve always been a big ‘gut-follower.’ Whether people, possibilities, or a pitch – I hold my gut in great respect. It rarely lets me down.

But one place where the ol’ gut has really helped me out during my tenure here has been dealing with the extraordinary number of pitches a blog of Spin Sucks’ caliber receives daily.

I’ve met some wonderful people, given some young folk just starting out advice on how to grow and what they need to do to build out their writing resumes, and I’ve waded through piles and piles of absolutely terrible attempts to woo.

The Pitch: Woo’ing for One

Gini’s written before about how to best pitch. And woo’ing is great. But there’s woo’ing by casting a really huge net in hopes of snagging one of the many gals at the party. Any one. You don’t really care which one, if you’re being honest.

And then there’s woo’ing to lure in that “special ONE.” You know what I’m talking about.

The more I thought about ‘the pitch’ – the more I realized that it transcends just its obvious dictionary definition. Learning to pitch like a pro will serve you in MANY areas of your life.

From the aforementioned ‘pull at a party,’ to being able to craft a stunning job application cover letter, reaching out for networking opportunities, or writing a heartfelt thank you note.

Admittedly, a dying art.

One Example of a Killer Pitch

I received a killer pitch a few weeks ago. It was a straight out ‘cold pitch’ as I like to call them. This person wasn’t yet a member of ‘the crazies,’ and hadn’t guest blogged with us before, BUT, she knew and loved the blog, understood instinctively what we stand for, and impressed the heck out of me with her email – to the point that I asked her if I could use it as an example in this blog post.

She readily agreed. So here it is:

Hi Lindsay!

Oh! Not only did she use my name – she spelled it correctly!

I’m a big fan of the Spin Sucks blog, and I’d like to start doing some guest blogging of my own.

My Pitch:

I would like to create a piece on ways to stay sane while working remote/in a virtual office. I read a post Gini did awhile back on the benefits she experienced when moving to a virtual office, so I’m sure you’re all aware of the flipside and some of the pain points of working remote as well. As more and more people are moving to jobs that allow them to work from anywhere, I would bet a lot of your readers are experiencing similar issues that I hope I can help address.

She delivers a solid idea, well thought-out, and references one of Gini’s past blog posts. This shows she’s done her research, and is the type of thinker who says ‘Hey, how can I add to this conversation, without repeating what’s already been said’. 

About Me:

I’m the director of marketing for a software company that makes web-based communication and scheduling tools primarily for the restaurant/hospitality industry. However we actually use our own software to communicate because we all work remote. I’ve been in digital marketing for 10 years now, and am an active member in the Detroit tech community. I also run a blog/website/community DrinkMichigan.org that promotes Michigan wine, beer, and spirits.

BOOM! She sells herself to me, without selling. By describing who she is, what she does, and who she does it for, and sharing a bit of her background, naturally and in a relaxed, ‘get to know me’ conversational style, she a) preemptively answers all my possible questions and b) illustrates convincingly that she’s smart, savvy, and not just looking for a back link opportunity. Exactly the type of people we love to have here on Spin Sucks. 

I’m Social:

Twitter – @techsocialite @drinkmichigan @shiftnote

Blog – http://www.shiftnote.com/blog http://www.drinkmichigan.org

She’s social! See above. 

Please let me know what else you need from me. Thanks and have a great rest of your day!

And – the end. She wraps it up in a friendly “no expectations” way. I immediately want to have dinner with this gal. 

Audrey Walker nailed her pitch in a few easy steps:

  • She made it personal.
  • She made it ‘about us’ – this is clearly NOT an “insert blog name” here ‘cast the net’ pitch to many blogs.
  • She had her facts right.
  • She did her homework before pitching.
  • And she sent a well thought out idea for a topic.

Gut aside, I did what I always do, and checked out her credentials. And she passed (you’ll be seeing here here soon!), but she was already halfway there with this well crafted email.

So, take a bit of this advice to heart the next time you are pitching a story idea, an idea to your boss, or just writing an important letter or email.

Make it personal. Take the extra steps and do a little research. And please, in the name of all that is holy, make sure you have the correct person’s name – and it’s spelled right!

About Lindsay Bell


Lindsay Bell is the content director at V3 Marketing, and works in Toronto. A former TV producer, she’s a strong advocate of three minutes or less of video content. She has a cool kid, a patient husband, two annoying cats, and Hank Dawge, a Vizsla/Foxhound/moose hybrid. Ok, maybe not moose.

Trackbacks

  1. […] does a nice job of describing a “killer pitch” and what made it that way in a post titled “The keys to nailing a cold pitch.” I highly recommend you take a few minutes to read […]

  2. […] Pitching a story seemed smarmy and full of wretched commerce, even for a business reporter who’d come up from the trades. […]

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