The phrase "less is more" is a belief that not only applies to some situations in life, but is often a good rule of thumb when pitching. The first thing you want to do when beginning to create a pitch email is to remember just that, and trying to keep your copy and layout simple, straightforward, clean and clear. With that thought in mind, here are the pieces of a basic pitch you’ll want to include as you create them for a new season, product, service or story:
This is the first place the clean and clear come in. You want your subject line to be to the point and easy enough to understand, or no one will open it in the first place. Sure, you can be clever, but don’t “clever your way” out of someone opening it. Another reminder: don’t make it too long. If you do this the key words in your subject line will trail off the page (or someone’s smartphone screen).
It sounds simple but I see pitches nearly daily that dive right into the story without even introducing the sender or the company. At the very least say hi to your recipient, by name.
Include a Short and Informational Hook:
As you create more advanced pitches you can improve and test out your “hook skills” (sentences hooking your pitch’s reader into the pitch and story) and get more strategic and clever. For now it’s important that you just keep your hook to no more than a few sentences that lay out your pitch and story idea in an interesting (and relevant-to-the-recipient way). Give them enough information so that they understand what you’re talking about but then you can move onto the…
Bring in the Bullets:
Keep any major selling points, facts, pricing or product information organized by bullets. The eye loves bullets. They help you highlight and draw someone into your key points and the major things you want to get out there and across. Use them wisely (and customize them for different pitches).
Close with a Call of Action:
Be sure before you say goodbye you let them know what you’d love to do next. For example, “Can I send you some food samples?” or “I would love to set up a deskside”, or “Can I send you our linesheets”. Let them know your next steps so they aren’t left hanging at the end.
Be sure all of your contact details (email, phone, social media handles) are included at the bottom of your pitch.
If you use ‘em, embed them. Do not hyperlink to them or attach high resolution images without asking permission first.
And that, my friends, is the recipe for the perfect, basic pitch!