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Pitching Mistakes You Just Don’t Want to Make

posted May 13th 2014, 10:02 pm by Scott Hartig

Yep, it seems we’re on a “pitching” theme this month. We’re continuing the thread this week with pitching mistakes that you don’t want to make…or want to stop making after you read this post. Here’s our top five:

  1. Spelling mistakes. Nothing says “I was in a hurry and just sent this off” than spelling and punctuation mistakes. Give yourself a fighting chance and do a quick proofread before hitting “send.”
  2. Pitching everyone everywhere. This is called “spam,” and it’s frowned upon. There’s two parts to this: sending the exact same pitch to multiple queries and sending the exact same pitch to everyone on every distribution list. Avoid both. You’ll be much more effective with a researched and targeted pitch to the publications and journalists who are relevant to your message.
  3. Starting with a vague and rambling lead. Work on your hook so that it does what it’s supposed to: hook your reader. A rambling tease is annoying to a journalist who has plenty of other emails to read. Get to the point and make sure the point is interesting
  4. No specific angle. Combine #3 with #4 for a press release unlikely to be read past the first paragraph. Make it easy on journalists by telling them why this content matters to their readers. Why is this news? Answer that question, make it up front and center in your release, and then send off your pitch. Oh, and make sure your contact information is handy, too. Otherwise, you can bet that you won’t be contacted.
  5. Overused verbiage. Go through your release before pitching it and weed out “fluff” words. You are likely not the “best in class,” the “unique,” or the “first ever,” so don’t use them. Also avoid “just in time for,” “once in a lifetime opportunity,” and other filler words. Think in terms of a journalist: report the facts and only the facts.

Now that we’ve rounded out your pitching education, we’ll be moving on next week to trends in the industry. Check back next week for the need-to-know on 3D technology.