How to pitch a product
Learning how to hype your product is a great skill if you are a small business owner. Once you have cracked how to pitch your product to media it’s great for kudos, sales leads, driving awareness, content creation and sending to your Mum.
If your business is product-led there are multiple ways to secure press coverage, but I wanted to cover off one of the basic media tactics known as product placement. These are the columns where you see round-ups of the ‘best cleaning products’ OR ‘alternative advent calendars’ sometimes also known as listicles.
Below are my top ten tips for pitching your product:
1. Visit your local newsagent
Buy all the magazines that you think your product should be in. No harm in aiming high, if you want to be in Vogue totally grab that. BUT try to think as broadly as possible, can it fit into any niche sectors? And remember that some of the highest engagement can come from local papers or niche blogs that might now have the highest circulation figures.
2. Tear sheets
Read through the magazines and pull out all the pages that feature products that are applicable to your business. Think strategically though, it is no good pulling out the fashion pages if you sell a drink for example – unless you have a solid connecting such as a collaboration with a fashion brand. Each magazine will also have the contact details at the front and name who looks after each section. Either check the journalists name on the page, or which section that page fits into to find out who best to contact.
3. Keep your subject line focused
Make it clear you are pitching for that magazine and have read it by writing a bespoke subject line. E.g. Pitch for Stylist: Style Pick
4. Personalise it
We all like feeling someone has taken the time on us so write a bespoke email to the journalist who compiles that column. Start-up top with a succinct pitch that matches how they write about e.g.
Small headline, descriptive one-liner on the product, price and URL. Include a low-res image in the body of your email so they can see what it looks like.
5. Link it
Create a link to your press kit that should include hi-res images. If any doubt your image should be 300 dpi and large enough to fill the dimensions of the page. Note: this is Goldilocks time. You don’t want to be too large (they don’t need to print your product on a billboard) but it needs to be bigger than for a digital thumbnail. Something between 5-10mb is usually about right.
6. About blurb
After you have written your bespoke pitch in the style of that magazine include any additional information such as a press release, media alert or ‘about us’ type product information cut and paste below your pitch.
7. PDF’s are not your friend
Journalists are SUPERBLY busy, namely due to the major cuts happening in media organisations so your job is to make their job as easy as possible. You might be able to edit a PDF easily, but this doesn’t mean that they can. So, trust me when I say just cut and paste your information into the body of an email.
8. Don’t be afraid of naming your competitors
Two is coincidence, three is a trend. Naming other businesses in your category can be a great way to pitch your product as part of a new trend. We did this with The Marshmallowist’s CBD mallows and often saw some of our suggestions make the final cut.
9. Can you match with a date?
National Gin Day, Half-term, End of school year teacher gifts, Tech Week, Talk like a pirate day have a google. If you can think of it there is a day. I recommend selecting one occasion a quarter to focus on and get out there early. Most magazines are working any where from 2-6 months in advance. So it pays to think ahead.
10. Add a personal touch
More than ever, we are buying into the people behind a business think Michelle from Peanut, Jo from Scamp & Dude, Hugh from Ugly Drinks so think about you and your personal brand as well as your business brand. Learning how to hype yourself with your product is a cringe-inducing skill but one that is well worth it.
The key thing when pitching your product is to keep it simple and succinct and to ensure that you have a relevant stockist for the publication. If you have a luxury product, it is not going to work for a title that covers inexpensive brands and vice versa. Start with key information at the top and if you must add more background, keep it below your initial pitch for further reading so they have it if they need it. The best product pitches leave me excited and wanting to know more.