You have 60 seconds to sell your brand. What will you say?
From the time she first told me of her aspirations to write a second book, my friend Rachael’s “why” was dangling in front of us like our daughters were on the playground monkey bars.
When you get in deep with a passion project, though, it’s easy to forget.
Rachael has spent the last 10 months feverishly writing “Fulfill,” a book about sharing God’s love with others through acts of service. The book targets adult Christian females and required her to put herself out to the world more than she ever had before online and through social media. I could see hesitancy in her eyes as she talked about branding, blogging, and a marketing plan, but it was overshadowed by curiosity and ambition and a complete desire to make a difference in the world through kindness.
She kicked off her adventure on Nov. 1, the first day of #NaNoWriMo, writing 1,885 words and beginning her efforts to create a website and social media presence in preparation for the She Speaks Conference, where she would pitch her book to three Christian publishers.
By July, in addition to writing her book, she’d curated a 70-page book proposal, launched a website, produced a video, created an interactive hashtag (the #loveoffering 30-day challenge is underway, check it out) started a blog and, the week before the conference, was ready to go.
Almost. That’s when my phone rang.
“I think I need to work on my elevator pitch,” she said.
Ah yes, the elevator pitch. Like so many branding projects, it’s easy to get down in the weeds and do all the work and spend pages and hours perfecting this thing we want to communicate to the masses. But what if you only ever get 60 seconds to tell people about it? That’s the essence of the elevator pitch. You meet someone in an elevator who could make or break your project or business, and you’ve got to sell them before that door opens. Paired with the other elements of your brand message — your tagline, positioning statement, mission and vision — it builds your complete brand story and gives you consistency with your audience.
In Rachael’s case, she would receive 15 minutes with three different publishers. She knew, though, that she needed to hook them as soon as she walked in. Here are a few things we talked through as she crafted it:
No. 1: Don’t just say what. Say why.
That’s the most important tip when writing your elevator pitch (and also when developing your brand). What’s your why? Why do you want to tell this story/sell this service/make this product? It’s that gut entrepreneurial instinct that tells you this is what you need to do in life. At P&P, we start all of our projects by asking this question, and then we explore it to expand your brand message.
No. 2: Keep it simple.
Trust me, no one loves big, beautiful words like I do (especially if I’ve never heard them before), but they can be a show-stopper. Keep your language direct and easy to understand. Remember, you’ve only got 60 seconds. And likely your audience isn’t sitting there with a copy of Webster’s.
No. 3: What makes you different?
There are 7 billion people on this earth and I can’t even imagine how many brands, and the likelihood there’s one out there like yours is pretty darn good. So you’ve got a job to do in differentiating yourself from the rest. What about your project makes it unique? There are many kindness projects out there, but Rachael’s is the only one she could find that connects community service and Christianity in the way she feels will make the strongest difference. So that concept was front and center in her pitch.
No. 4: Think it’s short? Make it shorter.
Editing yourself is SO HARD, but it’s a must for this element of your brand message. Start by writing it down on paper and then try to fit it on a Post-It note — using the same size handwriting, of course. This is a great way of making yourself decide what’s important and what’s not. From that place, read it out loud and time yourself. (And don’t do one of those radio ad deals where you’re reading uber fast at the end, either. Wink.)
I listened as Rachael climbed out of the weeds and looked over the horizon to see the big picture of her project again, and wished her the best of luck, knowing she was going to have success because this elevator pitch is what has been driving her all along.
It’s her why.
P&P’s Br&nd Builder process will help you discover your why, your audience and the words and images that connect most with your brand. Want to learn how it could work for your business? Let’s chat.