One of the most rapid and reliable ways to grow our creative business is to pitch other influencers with great ideas and content. And the most rapid and reliable way to pitch influencers is to make it mechanical.
Influencers are those who work in the same niche or micro-niche as us, who have larger or different audiences. Among consumers, trust in advertising is at an all-time low but working with trusted influencers brings the trust their followers have in them to us.
Successful creative business often relies more on these networks of relationships than on conventional forms of advertising. It can be immensely rewarding, creatively and commercially, but lots of creatives find it hard to manage.
Though we know we should reach out to those who might like to work with us, we don’t. We fail to make the pitch. We tell ourselves we’d rather be just making our stuff, just doing our thing.
If our definition of success, though, includes having followers and fans, traffic and reach, we need to come out of the comfort zone every so often and pitch the people who can help us reach a wider audience.
Even now, when I am completely clear about the benefits, the necessity of pitching, placing and positioning our work, I still resist.
When I do, I fall back on a technique I put in place many years ago, when I was writing my first novel: make it mechanical.
How To Pitch Influencers: Make It Mechanical
When I wrote my first novel, the only way to get your book out into the world was through an agent or publisher. I adopted the “make it mechanical” technique to take the emotion out of the process and not let disappointment derail me.
I began bycompiling a (long) list of “hits” — agents or publishers I felt were a good fit for my book.
I sent out an initial batch of ten pitches, asking if they’d like to see a full proposal. I didn’t expect a reply.
If I hadn’t heard from them in six weeks, I sent a follow-on letter. I still didn’t expect a reply
I set up a schedule to follow in with another reminder at four, two and one-week intervals.
As soon as I got a “no”, I filed it in the trash-can. And immediately sent out another. I already had this next pitch ready to go out, sitting there in its stamped, addressed envelope (the only way at the time), expecting a no.
How To Pitch Influencers: Manage Your Expectations
Similarly, when the requests for proposals started coming in, and then requests for the full manuscript, I trained my self-talk to verbalize low or no expectations, while training my behavior to act as if I expected the best.
This is the exact opposite to how I was before I put this method in place. Then, I’d been wishing and hoping and half-expecting great things, while only seldom doing what might actually make it happen.
How To Pitch Influencers: Learn from Failure
As well as making it mechanical and managing my expectation, I third thing I did was learn from rejection and failure.
I explored any feedback I got in my rejection letters to see if there was anything useful tehre. Most often, there wasn’t; it was a standard rejection slip. But sometimes I’d get encouraging comments, or reasons for rejection that were improvement suggestions.
Improvements as they saw it, that is. If something made sense to me, I applied it. Sometimes it didn’t fit with what I wanted for my book.
How To Pitch Influencers: Three Steps To Success
This is how I got my publisher, Penguin. They were slow to answer at first. By chasing their response to my initial pitch (four emails), I got them to read my sample.
They then requested the proposal. Again, I had to chase and again, when they requested the book.
Altogether it took more than 12 (carefully crafted, professional, not showing any of my impatience) emails to this one company to get what finally became a lucrative two-book deal and the weight of Penguin books behind my first novel.
The most important aspect of the process was how it managed my expectations. I went in, each time, expecting the answer to be a no, not a yes.
Back then I used what I called Marketing Mondays, a few hours on a Monday afternoon. every week. Now I have Pitching Fridays, not as alliterative but the same a few hours on a Friday, every week.
How To Pitch Influencers: Have A Designated Pitch Day
I work on my pitches from 11.30 to 3.30 each Friday. This sometimes includes a lunch with a potential collaborator but more often is a working lunch with my laptop, to prepare ideas, approaches and emails that I will send the following Monday morning and to respond to feedback I’ve had on previous pitches.
Unless it’s time sensitive, I do it all on Fridays. This means that when an email pops in on Tuesday or Wednesday, no matter how exciting the opportunity might turn out to be, I put it into the Pitching Folder for Friday.
Why? This sort of stuff can really derail my craft work. If I’m pitching something, it’s something that’s already made and out there. Maker Me has moved onto another project and needs to stay with that.
If some lovely shiny possibility swings in and gets attention, distraction and fractured focus are inevitable.
So Manager Me kicks in, and comes over all mechanical. A quick read of the email then into the Pitching folder with it, to be dealt with on Friday. Maker’s time and space must be protected (this is one of the prime roles of the manager).
Then on Friday, the Making week is over. Now Manager unleashes Maximizer Me, who by this time is straining at the bit and ensures that Maker takes a rest. Now it’s time to be people- and profit- centered, energetic and entrepreneurial.
How To Pitch Influencers: Three Steps
- Make It Mechanical: Set up your pitch day and system and follow it. Weekly.
- Learn From Rejection. If you’re lucky enough to get feedback about your pitch or your ideas, be open to that. Experiment with different ways. Explore new boundaries and possibilities.
- Manage Your Expectations: Separate short-term thoughts from long-term intentions. Take the emotion out of it. Expect a no but work, consistently and confidently, for a yes.
Follow these three steps and the yes will come. How can it not?
For more ideas about how to set up, manage and grow a creative business pre-order Three Pathways To Profit for Creative Entrepreneurs: Practice, Process, Positioning.
And… if you have some likeminded friends, I’d love for you to share it with them. Thank you!