If you follow me here or on my LinkedIn profile, you probably know I’m a strong believer in the effectiveness of a well-written press release. In an earlier post, I mentioned that press releases have the potential to go viral and become an excellent lead generator. Recently, I had a media relations experience that perfectly illustrates my point!
This week I was interviewed on Illinois Farm Bureau Radio, which to my surprise is carried on nearly two dozen radio stations in Illinois and Iowa. Host Julie Root of the program Farm Week Now, interviewed me along with Emily Webel, mother of four and co-operator (along with her husband) of a livestock and grain farm in central Illinois. Emily tells her story through her blog Confessions of a Farm Wife.
We talked about why social media is gaining popularity among farmers and agri-businesses ranging from honey farmers, corn and grain producers, organic farmers and livestock producers.
You can listen to the radio interview AND read Julie Root’s blog post on our interview. The audio can be found in a radio box on the left side of Julie’s blog. You can also hear Julie’s entire radio interview at http://www.farmweeknow.com/radio.aspx by looking for the “Morning Programs” and click on the date March 23, 2011. Our segment ran started about 25 minutes into the program. It was a lot of fun!
That was the question that sparked my interest today, as I read my Inc.com Today’s Small Business Newsletter. It was a post by venture capital blogger Mark Peter Davis who claimed that the all-important elevator pitch, relied upon by business start ups seeking investment bankers’ money, is kaput. Here’s a link to his post.
I am not in the VC funding business. I work with entrepreneurs and well-established business people who want to get their messages placed succinctly online and in the media. Before I write any copy, make one phone call or send one email about my clients, I work with them to polish their key messages, and yes, that includes helping them with an elevator pitch. So I had a strong opinion today when I left this comment on Davis’ blog post:
Mark, as someone who spends a lot of time helping clients improve their messaging, I disagree that the elevator pitch is dead. My guess is it’s still alive in the VC industry too. No matter what business you’re in, a business person needs a strong pitch that captures folks’ attention and that’s what an elevator pitch does. It’s also a conversation starter and a way to get a dialogue going by teasing someone to ask further questions.
Also, if you work with the media — bloggers and/or reporters/editors who write for traditional newspapers, magazines, tv or radio — you’ll always need an elevator pitch. The media especially (and the social media crowd as a whole, in my opinion) need that one strong sentence that captures the essence of what you do, how you serve your customers and why it’s important in the first place. In fact, I believe anyone looking for a job should also have an elevator pitch that summarizes their strengths and skills. The elevator pitch should answer questions and get a conversation going.
Something else to consider — this is the era of short attention spans. We’re all multi-tasking as we communicate, so crafting an attention-grabbing elevator pitch about your business or yourself is one of the best ways to get remembered.
What do you think? Do you use an elevator pitch in your daily working life? What would your business be without one? I’d love to hear your thoughts.