Welcome to Business Myths. Here’s the deal: we often hear business “truths” and accept them as true without stopping to question them. We’re chatting with solopreneurs and freelancers who have learned the hard way that these commonly accepted facts may not, in fact, always be true. In this case, Amanda Berlin shares her (expert) take on why "always be pitching" isn’t exactly the right advice -- and how to effectively pitch yourself for the most impact, instead.
You’ve got the training. You’ve developed the programs. You’ve got a great website with excellent content. And you’re working with clients. You just need more of them. Now what?
Get your name out there. Start pitching yourself for interviews and guest blog opportunities. You’ve heard it before, and that’s why we’re here.
Here’s your myth:
You need to constantly be pitching yourself for guest blogs and interviews to grow your list, get your name out there and convert like-minded audiences into fans and clients.
Here’s the truth:
You need to be pitching. But instead of constantly pitching willy-nilly and saying yes to every opportunity, you need to be courting the right kinds of outlets, describing yourself in the right way, delivering the right kind of content, and following up in the right manner so it reflects positively on you and your business.
Let’s back up. First, what do we even mean by pitching in this context?
The best pitches sell an idea for a story or interview that’s really valuable to the reading, listening, or viewing audience. Great pitches also incorporate your expertise to showcase the value you can bring to people you work with and to the ongoing conversation on a particular topic in your industry.
Mini-Myth: Cast a wide net.
Quantity over quality. Pitching is a numbers game, right? False. You don’t need to cast a wide net when you’re pitching. You need to find outlets that are strategically aligned and offer the biggest bang for your pitching buck.
Sites that syndicate their content will enable your article to have the biggest impact and offer you the greatest return on your time investment. To figure out if a site syndicates its content, look for bylines that indicate the content came from a different site. For example, if you’re on The Muse, you’ll see there are pieces that offer the author’s name and a different site that he’d written this piece for, often Inc. or Mashable. You can even see an examples of a syndicated One Woman Shop article, here on Levo. When you see this telltale sign, this means the site you’re on has a content sharing relationship with the site mentioned in the byline.
When you place an article on a site that syndicates its content, your article has the potential for expanded reach to more like-minded audiences.
Other sites that will have a big impact for you are sites with very specific demographics that you can uniquely speak to.
To find outlets that serve very specific demographics, look within yourself to where you’ve been, what you’ve done in the past, professionally or personally, where you are now in your life, your interests and passion, and figure out to which of these audiences you might be able to tailor your message. Then go after them. For example, if you teach people about how to better organize their closets, and you have a passion for fitness, you could take your expertise to a website that speaks to health and wellness and talk about keeping all your workout wear organized and in good condition. Your content will resonate because it’s been developed specifically to serve this very precise audience.
Mini-Myth: You need to sell yourself.
It actually doesn’t matter to your pitch how awesome you are. Your idea is really what you need to sell. And then you need to sell yourself in the context of that idea. Answer the question: Why are you perfect to be delivering this information? This will help you dive into your past personal and professional expertise and pull out only the details that are relevant to explaining why you’re a valuable resource for this information.
Mini-Myth: Once you’ve delivered great content, you’re done. Watch the results pour in.
Great exposure can do great things for the size of your list. Hit a well-trafficked site with excellent content and, BAM!, you’ll have them streaming in and signing up for the list. Sure -- it can work that way.
But, you can make it even more attractive for people to sign up by offering a free giveaway or something unique and useful to that particular reading, viewing or listening audience.
For example, I did a training for jewelry designers on how to develop their brand voice and implement it on their websites and social media. To make the most of my opportunity in front of that audience, I created a free giveaway on how to write product descriptions (in their new-found voice). I knew from my partnership with the team leading the training that product descriptions were something their audience has been requesting. With that insider information, I could easily fulfill their need and provide something useful. As a result, I received about 60 new sign-ups for my list.
Deliver great content, but figure out a way to engage the audience to the point where they want to come back to your site and see what else you’ve got, either in the way of more informational articles or in the way of giveaways that are perfectly relevant to their unique challenges.
The more “pro” you become at pitching, the more you realize it’s about more than just coming up with ideas and selling yourself. Pitching successfully is about finding outlets that will maximize your efforts and connect you with the right people who will truly appreciate what you are putting down.
So tell me in the comments below: What’s your biggest challenge in putting yourself out there?
PS (from the editor) -- Want more on pitching yourself with the greatest impact? Check out our One Woman Shop Chats With... Live episode with Amanda!
Latest posts by Amanda Berlin (see all)
- Business Myth: Always Be Pitching to Grow Your List + Business - October 20, 2015