06 April 2009

Blogging Tips : Write an Elevator Pitch for Your Blog [Day 1 -31DBBB]

Elevator WomanWelcome to Day #1 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge. As on each day of this project today I’d like to present you with two things:

  1. Some Teaching/Theory
  2. A Task to go away and Do


Today’s task (outlined in full below) is to develop an Elevator Pitch for your Blog. Let me explain why.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

“An elevator pitch is an overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. The name reflects the fact that an elevator pitch can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride (for example, thirty seconds or 100-150 words).” - Wikipedia

Many business and self improvement type courses teach students to develop an elevator pitch for their business (and even for themselves). The idea is to have something short and sharp that you can say about yourself when the opportunity arises instead of bumbling your way through explaining what you or your business does (and miss an opportunity).

The goal is both to communicate what you do and to get the person you’re communicating it to to want to know more.

Elevator Pitches for Bloggers

While the idea of an elevator pitch is usually something that start up entrepreneurs are encouraged to do when looking for investors - developing an elevator pitch for your blog is also a smart move also.

On of the most important reasons to do this exercise is that to develop an elevator pitch YOU as a blogger to have thought through and crystallised in your mind what your blog is about.

If you’re fuzzy on what your blog is about it’s unlikely than anyone else will have much of an idea either.

Knowing what your blog is about helps you in developing every aspect of it including:

  • Writing Content
  • Promotion and Finding Readers
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Networking with other Bloggers
  • Branding
  • Design…. the list can go on.

In fact almost every task that we’ll be doing in this next 31 days should flow from this task.

Other Reasons for Developing an Elevator Pitch

Of course coming up with an elevator pitch is not just for your own benefit. Once you’ve got one it is brilliant for communicating what your blog is about to readers (both the ones you already have and potential ones), other bloggers, potential partners, media/journalists, advertisers and even to friends and family members who might not get what you’re doing.

Once you’ve got your blogs elevator pitch there’s no limit to the places and situations that you can use it (either part of it or in its entirety). Here are a few that come to mind:

  • Your blogs tag line - having a short, sharp and descriptive ‘tag line’ for your blog can be a powerful technique for quickly communicating to new readers to your blog what it is all about. Readers who don’t get a sense for what your blog is about are in danger of leaving quickly - so a tagline that is displayed prominently on your blog can be a great way to hook them in.
  • Your about page - the about page of a blog (if you have one) is one of the most read pages of a blog by first time visitors. It is an ideal place to communicate what you’re about and to ’sell’ to potential readers why they should subscribe and come back.
  • Real Life Conversation - whether it be at a conference, in business interactions or just in everyday conversation, the topic of your blog is likely to come up from time to time and these interactions can be an ideal moment to pull out the elevator pitch to describe what your blog is about.
  • Business Cards - I get a lot of business cards given to me at conferences and to be honest at the end of the day I can’t remember who gave me most of them. Adding an elevator pitch to a card can help trigger who you are and what you do in the mind of those you chat with at these busy types of events.
  • Pitching to Media - One of the things I’ve noticed about many journalists is that they’re very busy people who are constantly being pitched with ideas for stories. Having a thought through and effective ‘pitch’ can help you get noticed and give a journalist a reason to listen to what you’ve got to say.
  • Pitching to Other Bloggers - Similarly, I find that if I’m being ‘pitched’ to as a blogger that I take more notice if the person pitching to me gives me a brief insight into who they are and what they do.
  • Email Signature - many people have links to their blogs in their emails, but a link can be somewhat meaningless on its own. Why not add your elevator pitch? Similarly signatures in forums can be a good place to have a short description of what you do to motivate people to check you out further.
  • Social Media Profiles - the same thing goes for all those social media profiles that you have. Why not use them to not only point people to your blog but to give them a reason to go there!

Where else would you use an elevator pitch? I’m sure there are so many more times to pull them out! Feel free to share other places you’ll be using yours.

Your Task for Today

Take some time out today to develop an elevator pitch for your blog. If you’ve already got one take a few minutes to review and refine it.

How to Write an Elevator Pitch for Your Blog

I’m sure there has been much written on the topic online but here’s some starting points that I use when doing this type of thing.

  • Solve a Problem or Need - I’m a big believer in developing blogs that fulfil real needs and solve problems that people have. The problem need not be a big one (like World Peace) but you should be attempting to create something that people need on some level. Communicate this in your elevator pitch.
  • Define Your Audience - who is your blog for? Who are you attempting to attract? IF your blog is targeting a certain demographic or type of person (and it may or may not) - include this in your pitch. If your blog is for teens, don’t develop a pitch for grandparents - target the reader you want.
  • Be Clear - don’t leave people second guessing what you mean or interpreting jargon - make your elevator pitch crystal clear.
  • Keep it Short - People have limited attention spans and capacity to absorb lots of information. Get to the point, eliminate unnecessary words and make it punchy!
  • Stand Out - be willing to use humour or powerful imagery to grab the attention of those that hear your elevator pitch.
  • Be Intriguing - your elevator pitch is unlikely to ‘convert’ people to read your blog all on its own - but it should entice them to learn more. You don’t need to say everything in it - but attempt to write something that is still in the mind of those who hear it long afterwards.
  • Be Energetic but not Hyped - you convey more than just dry information when describing your blog - but you also convey what YOU feel about it. This is important - if you ‘pitch’ someone with language and a voice that is dry and uninspired you’re unlikely to convert anyone into a reader. Show people that you love what you’re doing, that you’re passionate and that you care about your topic. But don’t go too far and hype it up beyond what it is!
  • Consider Using a Question - people are wired to answer and engage with questions. Ask them, even just rhetorical ones, in your pitch and you’ll hook people in.
  • Be Ready to Expand Upon Your Pitch - at a recent conference I had someone come up and give me what seemed like an elevator pitch about their blog. It worked really well, they got me interested - so interested that I asked them to tell me more. The problem was that they didn’t really have much else to say about their blog. See an elevator pitch as a conversation opener - something designed to lead into further interaction with people. You don’t have to say it all in your initial pitch - but you should be ready to say more if people are interested.

These are just the thoughts that come to my mind on elevator pitches (what would you add?). Not everyone will be able to incorporate all of the above points but I hope that some of it will help you to develop yours.

My Elevator Pitch
I have a couple of elevator pitches my blog here at ProBlogger. One’s short (just 6 words) and one’s a little longer (a minute or so). I use one or the other of them depending upon the circumstances and opportunity to share.

My short one is very simple - ‘ProBlogger helps Bloggers Build Exceptional Blogs’. I’ve used others over the life of this blog (and continue to evolve it) but have settled on this one for the time being because it is so simple, to the point and clear.

The longer version expands upon this and shares some of the ways that the blog helps bloggers improve their blogs by talking through a few of the main topics I cover.

Write Your Elevator Pitch

Once you’ve got an elevator pitch for your blog write or print it out and put it somewhere near your computer so that as you blog you can be reminded of it. You might also like to start to incorporate it into your blog as a tagline or in your about page - or even to write a post about it on your blog to communicate to your readers what you’re on about (the appropriateness of writing it as a post will of course vary from blog to blog).

Once you’ve done that - feel free to share what you’ve come up with in comments below. I’m looking forward to reading yours.

Tomorrow on the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge - tomorrows task is a writing task that will have you writing a particular type of blog post to use on your blog in the next few days.

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