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The Elevator Pitch Is Dead. Introducing The Twitpitch
The landscape of corporate public relations is changing fast. First the press release died and we told you how to write a press release for the social media audience. Now the elevator pitch is dead and here’s how to adapt.
Corporate pitches are usually unnecessarily long, filled with useless buzzwords and an unfortunate lack of transparency (in favor of overstatement). An elevator pitch is supposed to solve that problem by forcing the person making the pitch to do it in 30 seconds or 150 words (the time it would take you going from the lobby to your floor in an elevator). The time restriction ensures that all formalities and verboseness are dispensed with and only the most important and relevant information is shared between an entrepreneur and a venture capitalist.
The Essential Elevator Pitch
With no more than 30 seconds to convince someone to give you a couple million dollars, what do you focus your pitch on?
- What is the core idea and what problem does it solve?
- Has it been done before (is there competition?) and is there a viable market for your core idea?
- Why are you best suited to solve the problem and what is your business model?
These are some of the most important basic elements that you have to cover in 150 words or less. But what if you only had 140 characters to make an impression; what would you do?
Enter The Twitpitch
Stowe Boyd, an information technology consultant, recently decided that an elevator pitch is way too long and that the only way he will accept pitches is through his idea of Twitpitching.
A twitpitch takes the following from:
- A twitter message of the form “@stoweboyd [pitch goes here without the brackets] #twitpitch”. (Note the #hashtag means that these will be accessible at www.hashtags.org/tag/twitpitch.)
- A second, optional twitter of the form “@stoweboyd [single URL goes here without the brackets] #twitpitch”. Just one URL, please.
- A third, optional twitter of the form “@stoweboyd [proposed time(s) to meet or call go here without the brackets] #twitpitch”.
What’s more, anyone who doesn’t conform to that method will be automatically marked as spam after three strikes.
To be fair, you have three Twitter messages (therefore 420 characters) to make your point. The first one allows you to succinctly describe your service, the second lets you link directly to the product or service you’re pitching, and the third allows you to set a time and place to meet. What intrigued me about the idea is that it isn’t a whole new way to pitch, it’s another way to make the same pitch without adding any noise to the conversation. For example, here’s what a successful Twitpitch looks like [via @thoughtfarmer]:
@jeffdachis #twitpitch For your new venture: ThoughtFarmer is social software for enterprise intranets. ReadWriteWeb: http://snurl.com/26hmn
The reason why the press release is dying is because these releases are usually boring, susceptible to hyperbole, and have a singular focus on the company. Similarly, no one is interested in your pitch of a product because no one finds value in your one-sided, obviously biased look at the product. The Twitpitch forces you to talk only facts (because you have only 140 characters for the first message) and then link to one (and only one) URL related to your product. If you want to make the biggest impact, this link won’t be a link to your press release or even a link to your product, it will be a link to the best or most prominent coverage that your product has gotten (much like the link above for ThoughtFarmer).
As you can see, this process is incredibly similar to the decisions you make when you submit an article to or vote on an article on a social news site. Essentially, all you have to go on is a title and description from the article and some things that you can infer about each submission from certain trigger points.
The Twitpitch streamlines the same process for Twitter. The title and summary are condensed into one tweet and the link in another. And assuming the link takes you to coverage of the product on another site, you bypass the corporate speak and get the facts from a human voice (and you are already getting social proof).
Compare that to getting an email from someone you don’t know (and probably can’t get additional information on – sorry, no about pages for PR companies), with no text in the email body, and a 2-3 page (if you’re lucky) document attached that you are supposed to read and respond to. A Twitpitch is open and transparent, delivers on social proof, creates value without adding noise, and is somewhat personalized.
The final great thing about the Twitpitch is that even when it is personalized, it isn’t limited to the person it is directed at. You can simply send a message on Twitter, tag it with #twitpitch, and anyone can track all the pitches being made at anyntime by simply going to: http://www.hashtags.org/tag/twitpitch. That way, even if you forget to direct a pitch at someone, chances are it will find its way to the right people.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.