I’ve met tons of businesses that have existed for 8+ years and have never invested in any effort, time, or money towards publicity.
It’s one thing to be operating and in business, but if no one knows that you exist, it can be difficult to generate new leads or establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.
Identifying the key components to a narrative is imperative to a pitch that makes you a standout whether pitching yourself in a job interview, media briefing, or over e-mail. That’s where I come in to help you plan out that story, perform the outreach, and drive results (media placements, collaborations, new business, etc.). I previously wrote more on PR etiquette, which you can read here.
Before a client of mine starts pitching themselves, I always make sure they know their talking points — because presenting yourself without knowing your own story is a recipe for disaster.
The most embarrassing scenario is when someone doesn’t know their own story — like an executive doesn’t know what year they were founded in, who their competitors are, what their products or services are, etc. Yes, it actually happens. As PR, I have to go in and clean the mess. You get the deal.
It lessens your credibility.
Before you go out pitching yourself or your business, here’s a checklist of five things you should be able to speak to:
Know your story.
Sounds simple, right? Not for all. We can call this the founder’s story. Whether you’re a solo brand or a business, how did you get into what you’re doing now? What is your background? What sparked the business idea?
Nobody wants to hear from an executive that you’ve been in business “for around five-ish years.”
Get your story straight. If you have multiple team members, make sure your story is consistent across viewpoints.
Know your mission.
Aside from a brand name to distinguish yourself, a mission statement should be next on that list. Your mission is what you’re trying to achieve as a brand or business. What inconvenience or problem are you trying to solve to make people’s lives better?
You should be able to share your story and mission within the same sentence.
I am an entrepreneur with a background in finance and helping to make buying clothes less hassling for consumers.
I am a life coach with 3+ years of experience in psychology and helping people to make career transitions.
Know your space.
I’ve listened in on a ton of media interviews, where a reporter is interviewing my client, and asking how current events or a certain legislative decision is impacting their business. Besides keeping in-the-know with current events, stay abreast on the trends and news happening within your own niche. If you consider yourself “fintech,” while it is its own niche, you should be able to speak intelligently and have a formed opinion on current events taking place across both the finance and tech industries.
When pitching yourself, you don’t want to sound so self-centered that you’re not tuned in to what’s happening around you.
The best pitches rely on data to back up and serve as an advocate for their own brand or business.
70% of Americans express dissatisfaction with their jobs. This is why we’re here to x, y, and z.
Know your competitors.
The smartest people I’ve seen know their competitors within their space, and are able to answer that question without distinctively name-dropping direct competitors. In some cases, especially if it’s a media interview, naming a direct competitor can be devaluing to your business.
At the start, identify your competitors. Then, classify them into tiers: tier 1 (being the most direct), tier 2, and tier 3 (indirect). Know when to use which in the situation to your advantage.
Know your stats.
Your statistics entail any quantitative data dealing with your brand or business: social media followers across platforms, visitors to your website, number of customers you’re currently serving, number of markets, business value, etc.
In many situations, speaking to numbers can be sensitive especially if it’s on-the-record for a media interview or made available to the general public. In that situation, you can opt to not disclose numbers, or be selective in terms of which sets of data to disclose.
If you have a media kit, make sure the same information you’re speaking of verbally coincides with what’s written in-print within your media kit.
The key to pitching, whether done verbally or written, is to share the narrative of your brand or business. Being able to speak to your story, mission, space, competitors, and stats are a few components that make up an impressive pitch. When these talking points are nailed down, what’s the result?
Confidence — and that’s a game-changer for everything.