10 Steps to Your Professional Pitch

your professional pitch
Whether you are in business for yourself or someone else, you already have a professional brand and it is up to you to shape and maintain it. This is where your professional pitch comes in. In the world of business it’s not just about “who you know;” it’s also about “who knows you.” For instance, many industries hold professional conferences or conventions for networking and idea-sharing purposes. Often those conferences feature speakers or workshops given by members of that profession. Those speakers have built their professional brand as an “expert” or trusted source of information. They have put themselves out there and pitched their expert services. You best believe the careers of those speakers are safely on target for success and upward mobility in their career path. As another example, if you’ve ever read a post on an established blog written by a guest author, that author has more than likely pitched their article to the owner of that blog and in turn they build their own brand and potential new clients from the readers of that blog.

You can take charge of your professional brand and form the trajectory of your career path by following these steps to pitch your products or services to make a name for yourself and grow your business or career. Follow these 10 tips to perfect your professional pitch.

  1. Find the Right Opportunity
  2. Pitch vs Advertisement
  3. Focus on Providing Value
  4. The 2-Second Subject Line
  5. Functional Flattery
  6. Introduce Yourself
  7. Introduce Your Topic(s)
  8. Speak to Their Audience
  9. Include Your Short Bio
  10. Use a Professional Pitch Template
1. Find the Right Opportunity
If you want to build your brand, sell your services/products, or make a name for yourself in your career you need to put yourself out there. But how do you know where “out there” is? Think about what you want to accomplish. Do you want to write for a publication? Do you want to be a guest speaker at a convention? Do you want to host a workshop at a conference? Once you figure this out simply find the outlet you need to achieve that goal and go from there. Do your research on publications and events that focus on what you wish to accomplish in your relevant field and choose a few options to pitch to, using the contact information provided on the event or publication’s website.
2. Pitch vs Advertisement
Most pitches are sent unsolicited, or “cold,” unless you are specifically asked to provide a pitch (which is more of a “request for proposal” or RFP, but that is a different post). This means that you are sending out info about yourself or services to people who aren’t expecting it and probably don’t know anything about you. Your pitch is asking them to include you or your products or services in their blog, article, conference, etc. Basically, your pitch is asking for a favor from a stranger. If your pitch only focuses on you and not how you can add value to their readers or attendees, then that is an ad. Ads cost money and you can’t expect a stranger to simply give you free advertising for nothing.
3. Focus on Providing Value
You do what you do and if you are thinking about becoming a guest speaker or author then chances are you have something you want to share. Focus on that. Start by listing out what you bring to the table. What value can you add? This is the focal point of your pitch. When creating your pitch, follow the KISS rule (keep it simple, stupid) and include only targeted value-items. You might find that your value-item list is so diverse you need to make several different pitches to cover them all – that’s great! Just remember, you are sending your pitch cold so make sure the reader can easily read it and understand why it is in their (or their readers or attendees) best interest to include you or your services in their publication or event.
4. The 2-Second Subject Line
Your subject is your 1st introduction. Remember, they aren’t expecting anything from you and they probably won’t recognize your email address. Cold emails typically get left ignored. That is, of course, unless the subject line is effectively compelling. Put yourself in their shoes. You are probably so used to junk emails, even in your inbox, that you skim right past them and only open emails you “know” or are expecting. It will be the same with them. Even if their mail system doesn’t put your email in the spam box, you still want your subject line to attract their attention so they are more likely to open it and read it. You only have the 2 seconds they skim their inbox to capture their attention. Use your value-item to help craft the subject line and add some action words to give it more interest. Subject lines with phrases such as “How To…” and “Top X Tips for…” and “Do This for…” are very effective. Think about the types of cold emails you are more likely to open and use that as inspiration.
5. Functional Flattery
The folk reading your pitch might not know about you or your product/service, but you know them. Tell them how you know them. Are you a member of their profession? Are you are regular reader of their writing or user of their product? Did you ever meet in person, such as at an event? Were you introduced to their writing/product/services by a mutual friend/professional? What do you have in common? You definitely have a shared audience or mission, otherwise you wouldn’t be pitching to them. Focus on what you like about them and why you want to help or add value for them by sharing your knowledge. Engage them first before even saying the first word about yourself.
6. Introduce Yourself
Now that you have laid down a bit of functional flattery it is time to introduce yourself, product, or service. Simply let them know who you are and what you do. Give them information on how you can help or add value to their brand, audience, event, etc. You don’t need much here, just a sentence will be fine. After all, this is less about you and more about what you can do for them. Your short bio will be included at the end, so keep that in mind.
7. Introduce Your Topic(s)
You should include up to three relevant topics that you can talk/write about. If you are pitching for a speaking engagement, make sure you can talk about your topic for at least 30 minutes, and make sure you know enough of the topic to be able to answer questions at the end. By giving a range of topics it makes it easier for the pitch-reader to find a place for your in their publication, event, etc. If you only have 1 topic in specific that you would like to pitch, you will need to put an emphasis on the value of that 1 singular topic. Be specific here but don’t give away the farm. More on this below.
8. Speak to Their Audience
Your pitch is about how you can help or add value to the audience of the pitched publication or the pitched event. Write here what they will learn from you, what they can take away with them to use or make their lives/jobs better. How will they benefit? If your value-item saves time, how much time? If your value-item introduces a new or different process, in what way is it better than the old/current process? If your value-item is a new product, how does it solve the problem of the old product? Provide the facts and numbers here instead of writing out the process, for instance. Think “WIIFM” (what’s in it for me) when you write this part.
9. Include Your Short Bio
Include a short bio paragraph about yourself and/or your company. Make sure to include links to your website, professional acknowledgements, and press kit if you have one. List your relevant accomplishments, products and services, and where people can book you or buy from you. Feel free to include links to your social media if you have a considerable amount of followers.
10. Use a Professional Pitch Template
Take the guesswork out of writing a pitch and use a template like this one from TuathaMuse to outline your pitches and keep a record of who you pitched to and when. Either print and fill out, or save to your Google Drive and use a free PDF editor like Kami. I prefer the digital file because I don’t have to keep up with papers and it’s easy for me to pop in and see my past pitches, or work on new pitches digitally while I am traveling.

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