If you're a faithful follower of She's Candid, you probably know a little something, something about pitching brands and companies; whether it's the structure or the simple fact that pitching is totally a thing, my previous blog posts on this subject were created with the intent to help people pitch to perfection.
Earlier on this year, I even took it a step further by producing pitching services on my site that range from a custom pitch letter crafted by yours truly or a standard pitching template that allows you to fill in the blanks.
But what I've come to realize is that despite my efforts of trying to share what you SHOULD put into your pitch letter, I neglected to share what you should absolutely avoid in your pitch. In hindsight this was stupid of me because what you leave out of your pitch letter is just as important as what you choose to add.
So here we are...chatting about things to AVOID in your pitch letter. I recommend taking a seat, grabbing your notepad and seriously making note of these few tid bits that can take your pitch from #winning to not even getting a response from a company.
For starters, NEVER insult the other party in the pitch letter.
I know what you're thinking, why would I insult the company I'm trying to work with? When I say "insult" I'm talking generically. No one blatantly says anything rude to a company/person when they're pitching (or at least I hope not) but there are ways you can insult someone when reaching out.
I'll give you an example. If I'm reaching out to a person and say I'd like to collaborate by helping with their content since it contains grammatical errors, has blurry pictures and doesn't provide value to their readers....do you think they'll work with me? (Yes, people actually do this)
Although all those statements may be 100% true, it's not the best way to approach the situation nor was that feedback even asked for. I do blog audits on the site and I STILL don't approach people that way and they PAY for my advice/feedback.
Think of it this way, a pitch is also a way of introducing yourself to a company IF they weren't already aware of you and your blog. Would you want someone critiquing your work when they first meet you? Probably not, so leave the constructive criticism or insults for when they're actually requested.
Next off, DO NOT include your prices in the initial pitch.
I added this tip in here as I received this question in a recent webinar with the Black Public Relations Society D.C.. My answer on pricing is don't include it...just don't. At the end of the day, I think it's safe to say the vast majority of us would love to make some money off our blogs but if you push it too hard you'll end up penniless.
Again, going back to this is the first time you're sliding into someone's inbox so think how it could be perceived. First time hearing of you and automatically you're asking for $250? Anyone would probably be like heck no. Although I know you've valuable and worth every penny, a company may not even look into your work because all they saw was that price and hit delete.
On the other side of the spectrum, say you pitch and slide your rate into the email but the company was actually willing to pay you more for your work. Now even though you got your rate and should be happy, I bet you'd feel like you missed out on more opportunity because they pay higher than what you valued your work at.
Moral of the story, just leave the dollars out of it for the initial pitch. If they respond saying they'd love to work with you, but fail to mention paying you hop on the phone with the company and negotiate with them about it. While we know in blog world that we should be compensated for our work, some companies who may not have worked with bloggers genuinely may not offer because they didn't know it was a part of the deal.
The bottom line: come correct in your pitch email, showcase your value, hop on that conference call and negotiate for those coins.
Most importantly, AVOID making it about you.
As a blogger, when we accomplish so much we want to share that and rightfully so! If you've worked with this company, collaborated with this network and attended these A list events, I completely understand why you want the company to know all about it.
BUT, do not spew a whole bunch of you and forget that a pitch letter is quite honestly all about them. Yes you should back up why you'd be an asset to the company, but don't lose focus behind shining all your achievements and forget to actually explain how you're accredited history is going to benefit them.
This is just my personal opinion, but I believe less than five sentences should be centered around you in a pitch. In my eyes, five is still pushing it. I always start out with a sentence introducing myself, my blog and one relevant sentence afterwards. Thassit.
After that the entire pitch is centered around telling them the story behind my idea I'm pitching; why I want to work with them, how we can move forward, what I envision with our partnership and what it's going to yield the company in return is THE MAJORITY of my letter. No fluff, no talk about myself, just straight to the point.
I share this tip with you ESPECIALLY if you're pitching a PR firm. No one has time to read novels on your accomplishments (although noteworthy) when they have five other client matters to tend to. Remember to get in there, let them know who you are and go straight to the point of why they should work with you. #StraightShooter
There you have it! All wrapped up with a bow on it and delivered right to you are all the things you should avoid in your pitch letter. If you still need help, be sure to visit my services pages that's been updated with NEW Pitch Templates specific to what you're pitching for! Whether it's a hotel, product review or event sponsorship, I've got you covered.
Did I miss anything? What do you recommend leaving out of your pitch letter? Share your tid bits with me in the comments below!