In my last BD Weekender article, I shared the backstory of the first time my work was published on a media platform. It was the result of a persistent push from my colleague, but over the years, I have been able to successfully pitch myself and my executive clients to be featured on several media platforms and for speaking engagement opportunities.
One of the top questions I received from last week’s article is “How do I start?” This simple guide will help you to pitch yourself for any opportunity, even if you have never done it before. Are you ready?
1. Do your research. The last thing you want to do is to send a generic pitch to 10 media platforms, hoping one of them will say yes. That approach is not the best, especially if you want to be strategic about building your personal brand. You need to do your research to find out the media platforms that are available and the ones that align with your values. This research phase will allow you to streamline the ones that you need to reach out to.
2. Prioritize value above popularity. I know it’s great for your article to be featured on Forbes Africa but I’d encourage you not to despise smaller platforms. When you are building your digital footprint, it’s better to have a strong body of work and links. You will get this by having your content featured on several platforms. That way, when you pitch to the very popular ones and they check you out online, your body of work will speak for you. When I started out, I wrote consistently for Y! Africa, Connect Nigeria, BR Magazine, amongst others and this helped me to secure bigger features.
3. Prepare your pitch. From your research, you’d be able to have more information about the platform you want to pitch to. Understand their vision, the kind of content they feature, editorial guidelines and their target audience. This is critical and it is also the reason why you cannot send a generic pitch. Your pitch should show that you understand what the platform stands for and how your content will be of value to their target audience. In your pitch, you should also highlight your passion and expertise and demonstrate that you are an avid follower or reader of that media platform.
4. Send your pitch. This is usually daunting part. What if they say no? My question back to you is, what if they say yes? When I research a media platform, I like to check their website for information about being a Contributor. For some, you will see a section where you can put your details or an email where you can send your articles to. For others, you would need to do a pitch directly to the Editor. In this case, try to personalize your email. Instead of Dear Editor or Dear BD Weekender Team, try to use the Editor’s name. If you cannot find the Editor’s name for whatever reason, then use Dear Editor. On my website (adedoyinjaiyesimi.com), you can download a sample email pitch template. Remember that your pitch must be centered around the value that will be added to the platform. It’s really about them and their target audience and not you. Let also add that social media is also great to find opportunities to send out your pitch. Follow the right people and please follow the platforms where you’d like to be featured, including the people that work there.
5. Stay positive. The period between when you send off your pitch and when you get a response (if you do get one) can be frustrating, especially if this is your first time. Do not overthink this part. It is important to have a positive attitude. If you don’t hear anything after one week, you may want to send a follow up email but I don’t advise sending more than one follow up email. If they never respond don’t take it personal or let that dampen your spirit. There are many platforms that never responded to me and that’s fine. Continue to send out pitches strategically and be confident that you will get a yes.
6. Don’t neglect your digital footprint. In a workshop I had recently, I shared with the participants an email pitch I had sent to a magazine in 2015. In that pitch, I included links to posts on my blog that were relevant to that platform. As you work towards getting your content featured on other platforms, I encourage you to start with yours. Use LinkedIn to share native articles. Start a blog or even a Medium page where you share articles consistently. All of these do count when you send out pitches to media platforms.
My final tip is this – believe in your genius. I cannot begin to tell you how things shifted for me when I became more confident in my ability as a communications professional. I do hope you will use the tips in this article to send out your first pitch. Sooner rather than later, I hope!
About Adedoyin Jaiyesimi
Adedoyin Jaiyesimi is the Chief Communications Consultant at The Comms Avenue, a capacity building and knowledge exchange platform for leading and innovative communications professionals across the world. The Comms Avenue offers high-level knowledge sharing meetings and training programs for communications professionals and corporate organizations.
She has vast experience consulting for international organizations and top corporate executives and specializes in providing strategic communications consulting for development, philanthropic and corporate organizations, helping them to develop and implement a robust communications strategy.
Adedoyin has successfully executed projects for the W Community, Women in Business, Management and Public Service (WIMBIZ), Leading Ladies Africa, Heritage Bank, African Philanthropy Forum amongst others. She has been profiled on She Leads Africa, Leadership Newspaper and Lionesses of Africa. She was also featured as one of The Spark’s Visionary Women in 2019.
Instagram – @adedoyinjaiyesimi
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org