The 4-S Rule is my go-to for creating an irresistible pitch. Start by doing a little research. Think about what the brand wants, put yourself in the brand shoes. What do you think that they want people to know? Is it about that new product they’re launching? Is it almost their 50th anniversary? Then think about the content pillars and that will help you start formulating your pitch.
So what are the 4 S’s?
- First, stand out by warming up that relationship by following, and engaging before you even reach out.
- Keep it short, do not ramble. Keep it real short and be specific with that unique and compelling pitch. For example, “I saw it’s your 50th anniversary, I wanted to create this piece of X, Y, Z content to support that initiative”.
- Be seasonal or suitable. For instance, if it’s spring, brands are thinking about summer content. You could go to a brand and say, “Hey, I’m traveling this summer, I saw that you have an awesome travel backpack, would love to feature it in this content campaign I could do for you”. If your pitch is connected to a calendar event, or a season, you’ll want to reach out at least six to eight weeks in advance to the date so that the brand can be prepared, because they’re already planning their calendars, their content calendars, weeks, months out.
- Serve them. What’s in it for them? This is not about you. You want to play this up so that you’re helping them, you’re creating content to amplify their brand, their product, their service, etc. Gugu Guru has done a Working Mother Registry in the past. This was all about creating a registry of products for working mothers, that served Working Mother’s magazine audience. It was about making them look good. Content is the same: it’s not about you, it’s not about you getting paid. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true.
My example here is Gugu Guru and Domino’s – this was a wildly, wildly successful campaign for us. We got almost a billion media impressions, my parents saw me on TV for the first time, it was pretty cool. I came up with the idea because I subscribed to a trend report.
The actual trend report was something along the lines of, “Fast food brands are entering the wedding market.” I saw, Taco Bell, Domino’s and McDonald’s. And I’m like, “If they’re doing wedding, maybe they do baby.” So I went to social media to see if I had any first connections, second connections, etc. I found a friend that was connected and who ultimately introduced me to the director of digital marketing at Domino’s. We had a ton of success! We coincidentally launched the baby registry 9 months after they launched their wedding registries, which is pretty funny.
Here is my pro tip, too. Actually, before I even approached Domino’s, I went to Taco Bell. I eat Taco Bell more than Domino’s and I live in New York, so we have pizza place everywhere. I connected with Taco Bell through a Facebook group. We had all these great ideas, and I pitched them on “Tacos by Trimester”. I wanted to do a taco baby registry. It went really, really well until they decided “You know what? We have this other huge thing we have to focus on, and we just don’t have time to work with you.” And that’s when I decided, “Okay, well what about Domino’s?” In short, don’t limit yourself to that one brand. Sometimes it might help for you to have a backup.
When you stick to the 4-S Rule, you’re more likely to come up with a pitch the brand won’t be able to decline. Of course, this doesn’t mean you’ll land a deal with every brand that you pitch to. Have your list of ideal brands, and have a few backups, then head out and pitch away!
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