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Penny C. Sansevieri

Penny C. Sansevieri

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Craft an Exceptional Elevator Pitch

Posted: 04/13/11 12:08 PM ET

What is an elevator pitch and why do you need one? An elevator pitch is a short one-to two-sentence description about your book. It's the briefest of the briefest descriptions you can develop. The reason elevator pitches are important is that we have an ever-shrinking attention span, so you need to capture someone's attention in a very short, succinct pitch.

How do you begin crafting an elevator pitch? The first step is to look at the core of your book. What is your book about, really? Looking at the core of your book will help you determine the primary message. The next step is to look at the real benefits to the reader. Not what you think the reader wants to know but what they actually need: What's in it for the reader?

When I worked with people on elevator pitches, I found that they often kept the best sentence for last. This comes from being an author and saving the crescendo of the story until the final chapter. You don't want to do that in an elevator pitch. You want to lead with the tease that will pull the reader in.

When would you use an elevator pitch? You might use it to promote yourself to the media, to book a speaking event, or to pitch a blogger. Elevator pitches can be used for a number of reasons and in a variety of ways. Once you create a great elevator pitch, you may find yourself using it over and over again. That's a good thing!

Components of a Great Elevator Pitch

All elevator pitches have particular relevance to them, but for the most part, every elevator pitch must:

  • Have emotional appeal
  • Be helpful
  • Be insightful
  • Be timely
  • Matter to your reader!

Essential Elements of a Powerful Elevator Pitch

  • Concise: Your pitch needs to be short, sweet, and to the point.
  • Clear: Save your five dollar words for another time. For your elevator pitch to be effective, you must use simple language any layperson can understand. If you make someone think about a word, you'll lose them and the effectiveness of your elevator pitch will go right out the window as well.
  • Passion: If you're not passionate about your topic, how can you expect anyone else to be?
  • Visual: Use words that bring visual elements to your reader's mind. It helps to make your message more memorable and brings the reader into your story.
  • Stories: People love stories. It's the biggest element of the elevator pitch: tell the story. I also find that when the pitch is woven into the story, it often helps to create a smoother presentation.


How to Craft Your Killer Elevator Pitch

  • Write it down: Start by writing a very short story so you can tell the story of your book in two paragraphs. This will get the juices flowing. As you start to edit your story down from 200,000 words to two paragraphs, you'll start to see why it's important to pull only the most essential elements from your story to craft your elevator pitch.
  • Make a list: Write down 10 to 20 things that your book does for the reader. These can be action statements, benefits, or book objectives.
  • Record yourself: Next, record yourself and see how you sound. I can almost guarantee you that you will not like the first few drafts you try. That actually is a really good thing. If you like the first thing that you write, it probably won't be that effective. Recording yourself will help you listen to what you're saying and figure out how to fine-tune it.
  • Rest: I highly recommend that you give yourself enough time to do your elevator pitch. Ideally you want to let it rest overnight, if not longer. Remember the elevator pitch is perhaps the most important thing that you created in your marketing package. You want to make sure it's right.

Having a prepared "pitch" for your book will help you enormously, whether you are pitching the media, an agent, a publisher, or even a bookstore. Having a short, concise pitch will get and keep someone's attention and also, increase your chances for a positive desired outcome. Keep in mind that if your elevator pitch is tied to current events, it might change as events change. A good elevator pitch can be fluid, but it should always be an attention grabber. In a world cluttered with information and filled with noise, the shorter and more focused you can be, the more exposure you will get for your message!

 
 
 

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