Sunday, June 15, 2008


How To Pitch in 30-Seconds or Less

"Hi, my name is Angela Mackintosh. I'm an award-winning painter, and once lived in a commune where I shared a single shower with over fifty neurotic artists, whose exploits I describe in my book Secrets of Salon-Style Living. I'm seeking an agent for this collection of humorous essays and would like 30 seconds of your time to tell you about it. Is this a good time to talk?"

I just pitched you, and if I'd really written that book, it would probably be a good one. I haven't though, and made that up as an example...although, I did live in an artist commune where I shared a shower and bathroom with fifty people from all walks of life! This was a long time ago, and I was in my twenties. Thinking about it now, it could be a good book!

A well-rehearsed pitch can be used for a variety of purposes:

  • Pitching an editor or agent a story idea, column, or book.
  • Selling a product, advertising, or service.
  • Networking at a conference or event where there is limited time.
  • Promoting any-and-every thing.

Whatever you want to use it for, make sure that you have the follow-through to back it up, or you'll be wasting your time. The beauty about sound bites is you can create a variety of them for any purpose, and by rehearsing, you'll never be at a loss for words on the phone or in person. It makes for a powerful introduction. So, how do we do this?

Capture the listener’s

1. Start with who you are: state your name and job title, or what you are seeking. "Hi, my name is Debbie Dogwalker, and I'm a professional dog walker who writes reviews of dog parks in the city."

2. Tell them what you want: state what you’re after. "I'm interested in placing some of my articles with your magazine, Dog Owner's Digest."

3. Let them know why you're the best choice: list any writing credentials, experience, degrees, and training that relate to your topic. "I've owned a dog walking business for over ten years, and have written articles for Dog Lover magazine, Pet Pride, and blog daily on my personal blog, Dog Days." Whatever you do, make sure the qualifications listed match your intended goals. Don’t write about how you won first prize in the chili cook-off, unless it's making chili for dogs...not hot dogs. Remember to keep it brief and memorable. Emphasize your specialties.

4. Action: be specific and tell them exactly what you want. Just go for it! "I'd like to show you some of the articles I've written for consideration in becoming a regular contributor to your magazine." There, you said it. Exhale. The call to action is what leads to further interaction.

30-second pitches, otherwise known as sound-bites, are easy to craft, and you can create a variety of them for different purposes: writer's conferences, phone pitches, query letters, job interviews, networking--anywhere you need to present yourself quickly and concisely.

You may cringe at the fact that you're selling yourself like a commercial, but believe me, it's more effective than stumbling over your words! So that's why it's important to rehearse and perfect your words by saying them out loud first. Your listeners will be impressed, and you'll have the confidence to sell yourself, or your product, with little effort.

Give it a try! Happy pitching. :)

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