In a previous blog post I talked about the email/voicemail duo pitch — how emailing a cold pitch with a voicemail follow-up can trigger a response from a reporter, often within minutes, even if you haven’t schmoozed him first at CES or SxSW.
Since reporters answer their phones less than .0000000001% of the time these days, sending a short, compelling email followed by a crisp, call-to-action voicemail in 30 seconds or less has proven to deliver results.
But what if the reporter answers his phone? Gasp! After the initial shock of hearing a live human, you have 30 seconds to tell him what you said in your voice message, plus three reasons why he should interview the most interesting person at your company.
The conversation might go like this:
Reporter: “Fred Pickleweed” (reporters rarely say, “Hello, this is So and So”) – .5 seconds
You: “This is Paula McHappy with [company X]” – 1 second
Reporter: “What’s up?” – .5 seconds
Now you have 28 seconds to tell Fred why he should care. First, you’ve done your research and you know that Fred covers the clean tech industry and loves batteries.
The problem: Tesla’s new battery for the home is supposed to extend solar power, but it maxes out after microwaving a potato.
1. What’s missing is high-density energy storage.
2. XX company makes a high-density, high-power energy storage device using a simple capacitor – no more toxic lithium batteries. The device can store energy from solar and keep the lights on for just 3 cents per kilowatt-hour – the lowest in the industry.
3. We have a great source for the story (company executive, customer, unbiased expert).
4. Either Fred is underwhelmed or you’ve piqued his interest and he wants to know more. This is where the rule of three comes in. Give Fred three delicious facts about company X’s technology in plain English, give him a metaphor and paint a picture.
If you’ve sold him on the idea, it doesn’t mean you’ve landed an interview for your company yet. Fred might say:
- “Sounds interesting, but I’m working on several stories right now, so I won’t get to this for a while. Call me in three weeks.”
- “Send me the email again and I’ll take a look.”
Here’s how you might respond:
“The inventor had an article published in Battery Magazine recently. I’ll send you the link to give you some more background. And I’ll check back with you in February. Thanks for your time.”
Or if you’ve hit the bulls eye with Fred, he might say:
– “Let me talk to the guy who invented this energy storage system.”
Remember the 30 x 30 x 3 rule for the voice-mail follow-up:
- “30” – Think hard to find 30 words that enticingly but plainly sum up the problem ( not easy!).
- “30” – Practice introducing yourself and saying you sent an email regarding your 30-word rendition of the problem in 30 seconds or less.
- “3” – Have three juicy nuggets on paper in front of you to anchor you if the reporter picks up (or to use later if the reporter calls back).