Tag Archives: elevator pitch

Going Up: What’s Your Elevator Pitch?

By Amanda Smyth Connor

You’re at a lovely party with lovely guests and lovely music and things are just terribly lovely from floor to ceiling. All of a sudden, a friend grabs you and introduces you to a hot shot business owner who is in need of compelling and highly engaging content. You have 30 seconds to pitch this stranger and to nab a new client.


Spotlight is on you, bud.

Do you have an elevator pitch ready to go?  Are you confident in telling this stranger what your strengths are as a writer? Do you even know what your strengths are as a writer? Can you call to mind some of your recent achievements as they relate to this client’s needs?

Don’t get caught unprepared. That’s money that you’ve just left on the table.

Preparing a great elevator pitch:

1. Keep a professional journal of accomplishments, complete with project details, the date you completed each project and the contact information for the respective client, should you ever need a reference.

2. Keep your portfolio up to date at all times. Whether you keep a hard portfolio or (preferably) a digital portfolio, you can’t let this portfolio become outdated because you have the time to update as you went. A great review from a client, coupled with an excerpt of the work you did, becomes a highly effective resume.

3. Take note of your top three most impressive accomplishments as a freelance writer and have those at the tip of your tongue at all times.

You elevator pitch should look and sound something like this:

“I’ve created SEO-friendly feature articles for X company, I’ve developed blog posts for Y company that generally attract [blank] number of hits/traffic, on average, and I frequently work with W company on various marketing projects, such as the [blank] campaign. Tell me more about what you’re looking for in terms of content.”

Having a great elevator pitch ready to go at any time is invaluable. You don’t want to be that guy who can’t sell himself when given the opportunity to do so.

Amanda Smyth Connor is a social media manager for a major publishing company, owns her own wedding planning business and has managed online communities and content development for many start-up and Fortune 500 companies.  She has been a professional editor for more years than she can remember.

Your freelance elevator pitch

By Jake Poinier

Yesterday, while editing a book chapter for a professional speaker, I read something that stopped me in my tracks: My lifelong assumption about what makes a good freelance elevator pitch—you know, that 30-second summary of “what I do”—was totally wrong.

Getting asked, “So, what do you do?” can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The author took 12 pages to explain his whole theory, but I’ll do it in under 500 words. For starters, a good elevator pitch isn’t 30 seconds or even 15 seconds long—you don’t just launch into a spiel, you need to initiate a conversation in order to teasingly reveal what you do.

It starts with a single 3-second hook that arrests someone’s attention and gets them nodding or even saying “Huh?” For a freelancer, that might be something along the lines of:

  • There’s a lot of empty space out there, and I fill it with words
  • I’m the Anthony Bordain of the magazine world
  • I’m a corporate wordsmith-slash-poet

The point is, you need to get permission (a nodding head, a “huh?”) to go on. Assuming you’ve received that permission, the next step is to give a one-sentence, conversational, non-jargony statement with a benefit that expands your initial teaser:

  • I run a freelance writing and editing business whose main goal is getting websites a ton of traffic
  • I’m a travel writer who basically does in glossy mags what Anthony Bordain does on TV—expose the good, the bad and the ugly
  • When companies are tired of their lousy copy, I zoom in and give them a fresh new look

Finally, and again, assuming someone gives you the go-ahead with an appropriate conversational cue (“Who do you write for?” or “What kind of stuff do you write?”), you’re ready to provide the kicker. It comes in the form of a story that shows what you do, starting with “Now, for example…” So, it could be something like:

  • Now, for example, I recently helped a startup healthcare company create a social media strategy—and they’ve now got 3,000 Fans, 2,000 Twitter followers and 1,000 hits a day.
  • Now, for example, I recently did a piece for (name drop big magazine) on the Spanish Virgin Islands, which are pretty much like the British and U.S. Virgin Islands were back in the ’50s.
  • Now, for example, I recently redid the entire brochure suite for (fill in a big-name client here) right before they hit the big annual trade show for their industry.

Of course, this is a super-abbreviated version of a very interesting and thought-provoking article by a skilled sales and marketing professional. But you get the idea: Don’t just try to blurt out a pre-programmed version of what you do in 30 seconds. Relax, make it a conversation, and you just might find your elevator speech presses the right buttons to get a business card or new project.

Jake blogs regularly on freelancing and business strategies at DearDrFreelance.com and Jake’s Take.