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IdeaXchange

How to hit a home run when you pitch

Kuvy Ax, ROOT PR | Natural Products Expo West NEXTY Award judge 2022
Just like baseball, every pitch you make needs to count. These strategic tips will help you strengthen your game and come out on top.

What does it mean to pitch something? In baseball, the pitcher works to pitch the ball so the batter won't get a hit or, worse, a bases-clearing home run. Of course, the batter wants to get a hit and score a run for his team.

Press Pitch is more friendly: While you're pitching your brand's story, you're hoping the editor, producer or writer standing at home plate can knock it out of the park. As you warm up to take the mound, remember these key steps so everyone wins.

Know the fine print

Before any pitch, be sure you know the rules. These rules apply for this Press Pitch:

  • Judges will evaluate only your company's story and how you deliver it; they will not be sampling products.
  • Judges will consider authenticity, uniqueness, personality and how the pitcher articulates the company's mission, vision and values.
  • Judges will appraise whether the company has presented a differentiated angle that would garner media attention.

Know your audience

When you're thinking about pitching your story to the media, the first step is to carefully choose the media and outlets that best fit your story. In this Press Pitch, media have been picked for you. Still, knowing to whom you're pitching and their areas of interest is an invaluable tool to help figure out what to pitch:

  • Chloe Sorvino leads coverage of food and agriculture as a staff writer at Forbes and writes the newsletter Mind Feeder. Her website is here and you can find all of her Forbes articles here.
  • Danny Seo is an environmental lifestyle expert and a leading authority on modern, eco-friendly living with best selling books, TV programs, products, a syndicated column and his magazine, Naturally, Danny Seo.
  • Beth Lipton is a recipe developer, freelance food and wellness writer, and cookbook author. She's a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Her recipes and writing have appeared in Clean Eating, Health, Paleo Magazine, FoodNetwork.com, Travel + Leisure, Epicurious, Furthermore, Clean Plates and more.
  • Kuvy Ax (yours truly): I own ROOT, the good food agency, specializing in PR for good food brands. You'll find my bio on this page.

Know your (short) story

Anytime you're pitching a member of the media, tell your story quickly and compellingly. In Press Pitch, you'll have three minutes for your pitch and three minutes for judges' questions, so it's essential to plan your three main topics:

Your company story paints a picture of you and your company. Write an account of how it all began—everything from who you were and what you were doing that led to your first idea for your company, and anyone else who has been involved in an important way. Use these "good storytelling" elements to make your story compelling:

Creating a feeling of connection with your audience is key. Share your human experience; don't shy away from the personal details, as they convey authenticity. Stories about real experiences make you "relatable" and generate empathy and connection.

Writers are looking for that universality, but also your unique story. What's your differentiated angle? What makes you a superhero among brands?

Your key messages—values, offerings and unique selling propositions—strengthen the connection with the audience as they learn values you both share. Create five or six short messages that clearly explain what your company offers, what you care about, and what you are doing that compels people to buy from you.

To create these messages, use this prompt: imagine that Forbes or another big media outlet calls, saying they heard your company was awesome, but they have only five minutes to interview you. What do you want to be sure to say? For Press Pitch, further condense these messages into "sound bite" sentences, and then choose the most relevant ones to include in your pitch.

Your timely stories—what's new, what's cool—illustrate the most interesting moves your company is making right now (or very soon.) Think about what you're creating and offering that will affect the most people. The more people this can affect, the more people will be interested in reading about it, and therefore the more compelling a story it is. Media know audiences are usually thinking, "What's In It For Me?" (WIIFM) = "What information is in here that I might need to know?"

Warm up and practice

Then comes the really difficult part: Edit this into a three-minute pitch. Tying this altogether, make sure your pitch answers these questions, keeping in mind what you know of these judges, their interests and what they like to write about:

  • What and where—What is the story and why is it a good fit for their media outlet? Don't forget that judges are looking for "differentiated" angles.
  • Why and when—Why will people care? Does it add new information to a topic people are thinking about these days? Don't forget that the most successful pitches are those that the most people will find interesting ("WIIFM"?) and that have a sense of urgency or timeliness.
  • Who—What makes you an expert on this subject? What can you offer—such as data or research—to add validity? Data makes stories believable, engages your audience and converts them into buyers. People like content that makes them pause and think.

Know your delivery. Map out and practice your story. Edit it over and over until it fits in three minutes. Practice in front of a friend or your family. Record yourself so you can watch and make changes next time.

Know your strength. Take a deep breath. Know you are the expert on your company, your audience, and your story. Then walk confidently to the batter's box, adjust your cap, wait for your pitch and hit a home run!

natural products expo virtual logoNew Hope Network's Natural Products Expo Virtual Community hosts Press Pitch at noon ET on Wednesday, June 22. The program is open to all Natural Products Expo Virtual Community All-Access members. After a panel discussion of top media figures, qualified NPEV Community members pitch for feedback and a public-relations prize package from Root Marketing & PR.

Join the NPEV Community today for exclusive access to premium content and education, industry benefits, retailer connections and more throughout 2022.

 

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