One of my dad’s favorite catch phrases is: “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” Selling insurance (his job) is different than pitching products to the media (my job), but this advice certainly applies to both. I’ve had the most success in media relations when I’ve focused on the ways in which a product can improve a consumer’s life, rather than simply listing off the product’s capabilities.
I spend my days directly pitching to the media, and indirectly pitching to a wider consumer audience. This process is both successful and unsuccessful, depending on the client I represent. What I’ve heard from journalists is that there just isn’t enough time in the day to read every email that comes in. Most emails get deleted immediately if the journalist doesn’t know the publicist, or if the subject line doesn’t catch their eye. My best advice is to think about those emails that you delete right off the bat, without even opening them. Do your best to avoid the language used in those email subject lines. Know your audience. Know what they’re looking for – and craft a catchy line that corresponds.
Whether you’re writing ad copy to catch the eye of a commuting consumer or crafting an email to catch the eye of a juggling journalist, you need to do more than just present a product – you need to present a lifestyle.
“This is a phone charger. It charges your phone.”
That doesn’t work.
“Stay connected all day long with this phone charger. No missed calls, no mixed messages. Just a fully-charged battery that lasts.”
Get right to the point. Tell your audience how your product can improve their lives. Otherwise, you’re wasting their time.
Think about all of the billboards, magazine ads, radio jingles, TV commercials, and subway banners you see every day. It’s overwhelming. Give consumers something worth seeing. Pitch journalists something worth reading. Take the time to dive into the product, learn about it and believe in what you’re selling. The more time and effort you put into your pitch, the more responsive your audience will be. It will make everyone’s job easier.
When in doubt, always remember: Sell the sizzle, not the steak.