Meet Emily Reagan, a self-proclaimed jill-of-all trades when it comes to digital marketing and techie skills whos’ about to teach you how to leverage a virtual assistant to help you with the pitching process without being generic or compromising your unique brand voice.
In part 1 of this 2 episode series, you’ll learn how to get organized and track the pitching process, the specific elements that make a good pitch and delegate without pulling your hair out.
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Heather Sager 00:00
I feel like pitching is kind of like that is we think it's like this really big thing. And instead of doing a little bit of time, we like let it become a Ricky Bobby Lucy production?
Emily Reagan 00:12
Yes, totally. It's something we should be working on probably have a goal for every week. But we put it up as some like pie in the sky like we'll get to, we'll get to it and we just, we never do. And I'll tell you from firsthand experience, I've had clients who I've worked with in more of the VA capacity, like I want to get on podcasts and like, that's awesome. What are your speaking topics? And then they got nothing. So I know this relates directly, they like your service, sometimes they don't know. And they're not ready, and they haven't really figured that part out. They just know that they're being told they need to do this and they don't actually have that component of their business ready and especially in a way like you teach that actually brings in leads, right? So that's one factor. You've also talked about this on a previous episode about people just having that fear of rejection, like they just don't even want to go there. They don't want to put themselves out there. And part of what you and I plan on doing today is going over a bad pitch and people don't want to be the bad pitch. You know, they don't want to be doing it wrong, and they're scared and they just think that you know that rejection is just scary enough to like keep them stuck and not doing it.
Heather Sager 01:29
Well, hey friend welcome to another episode of The Heather Sager Show. It's me Heather Sager and I'm honored to be your speaking coach here today. In this episode, I've spent the last 15 years studying and building my communication skills to inspire and teach business owners and their teams from stages around the world. I've had the honor of speaking on more than 1000 stages on topics of leadership, premium brand positioning, sales, and of course communication. And now my focus is helping fellow online entrepreneurs become magnetic speakers, so they can make a bigger impact in the world while growing their income. This show right here was designed to give you a dedicated space each and every week to grow your skills and keep your big goals front and center. And if you liked today's episode, be sure to grab a screenshot and share it on Instagram and tag me at @theheathersager so I can give you a shout out and celebrate the work you're doing. All right, let's dive in friend, it's gonna be a good one. Well, Hey, friend, welcome back to another episode of the Heather Sager show. You're in for a real treat and I know I say that every week but come on this show is a total treat for you. And today, I'm bringing you my friend, Emily Reagan to talk about a very important topic when it comes to putting yourself out there and speaking on stages, and that is pitching. And in fact, this conversation I had with Emily, I just pressed end on record, it is so good. We jam packed so many tangible things that you can put into practice right now. I decided to turn this into a two part episode to help you pay attention, take notes and take action on every single step so that's what we're gonna do today. So part one of this episode, we're gonna dive into some of the components on pitching that we need to be ready for as business owners. And particularly, we're going to talk about leveraging a virtual assistant to help you with the pitching process. Now, let me just tell you right now, if you feel like you don't have enough time, or if you feel like there's no way you can delegate the art of pitching to someone else because you hate those templatized, is that a word templatized? It sounds good. You know what it looks like those generic pitches that we all have seen before. You don't want somebody representing you and your brand by being generic. You want it to sound like you and your brand voice. We're going to talk about that today. But in this episode, we're gonna talk about the whys around pitching, when's the right time to get started with pitching. I'm also gonna break my own rule. I don't like to trash talk on the show or talk illy of anyone but I had to share a recent pitch that I received in my inbox recently, a recent pitch that I got recently you got the point this was recent right? I'm going to share with you how good intentions with poor execution can undercut your brand. And the example I'm going to share with you is a third party that pitched an expert who would want to be on my show, but the pitch was so templatized and poorly executed. It got cut off at the knees, meaning it went straight to the trash can. I'm going to share with you why it missed the mark because chances are if you are outsourcing your pitching efforts, your person, you're outsourcing to might make the very same mistake so we're going to use this as a learning opportunity today. Then Emily, my guest today is going to walk you through seven ways that you can leverage successfully a virtual assistant without compromising the personalization that comes with pitching. She's gonna teach you how to do that. We're gonna break that into two parts. So today we're gonna cover the third, first three ways that you can put this into action. I recommend you apply it this next week. And then in the next episode, we'll break down the following four ways that you can leverage that assistant or a member of your team or if you're doing it on your own, you can use all of these things to keep yourself organized and stand out even better. But before we dive in, let me tell you a little bit about my friend, Emily. She and I met about a year and a half ago. She is a stellar businesswoman. She's also an incredible Mom, let me read you the official bio. Emily is a self proclaimed jill of all trades when it comes to digital marketing and techie skills. She's worked as a behind the scenes digital media implementer and virtual assistant for over a decade in the online space. She's a mom of four, Air Force wife and founder of the Digital Media VA Crash Course. This gal she's busy, but she does it so so well and with an incredible attitude, where she teaches women so in her course, she teaches women that digital marketing skills to get hired online as a unicorn virtual assistant. So side note, if you're thinking Holy crap, where do I find myself a unicorn? Listen up, you're gonna get to know Emily today. And she actually shares with you how if you are interested in looking for a virtual assistant, you can talk to her about that. She has a website dedicated to that. We'll talk about that in episode, the second part of this. But I did want to share quickly that Emily put together an incredible resource for us today and that is something where, so side note, oh my gosh, the Sager side notes are on fire today. But side note what we're talking about here, when it comes to pitching, Emily doesn't have a course around this. This is not some sneaky sale to get you to hire Emily to help you with your pitching. No, no Emily and I put our heads together and said, Okay, how can we help online business owners and our audiences become more successful with the pitching process because we get it scary. And I think we shy away from it for a variety of reasons, potential rejection, lack of organization, a lack of priority, so many different things. We want you to be successful at this, which is why we are putting together this mini training over the two episodes just for you. But she wanted to make sure this is something that you can actually put into place and have success with the outsourcing to your virtual assistant or a team member. So she put together for you a tracker in Google sheets that you can grab right now, grab a link and copy it. So you can start tracking your efforts with you and your team because I think visibility in terms of not like PR, but visibility in terms of what you're doing in your business, that's how you get stuff done and make decisions to improve. So you can get your hands on this pitching tracker right now. You can head on over to emilyreaganpr/pitch. I'll include a link in the show notes for both of the episodes. You can grab that right now because that's going to help you stay organized when you're sending pitches. But also thinking about this, if you're still sitting on the fence of whether or not guest speaking or getting yourself out there this year is for you or if you're thinking I'm ready to do it but I'm not entirely confident in what to talk about. I don't know what to talk about, or I don't trust that the efforts I'm putting in are actually paying off. Friend, you need to have a signature talk that becomes a magnet for your ideal audience. You know what to talk about who you're talking to, and how to show up in a way where people want to continue to learn from you. That's exactly what I teach. So if you haven't yet joined my free masterclass that I have out right now, head on over to heathersager.com/speak where you can take right now, you can watch it today after you're done with this podcast, you can learn how to use guest speaking as a strategy in your business even if you're terrified of speaking, even if you have a teeny tiny list, even if you're just winging it with your presentations right now. You'll learn how to be strategic with your speaking because you know, I'm a big fan of speaking and it's the OG marketing tool that's going to help you build your credibility in your business and drive warm leads into your programs so be sure to mark that as a priority this week. Get it on your calendar, get that training done. Compare that with this podcast pitching episode and friend you will be fire, fire this year so let's make it happen. I want to introduce you to Emily for part one of our pitch training to help you leverage a VA to make a podcast personalization much easier. Here we go. All right friends. Well welcome back to another episode of the Heather Sager show we are in for a damn good mini-training here today because I have my friend Emily Reagan in the house. Emily, welcome to the show.
Emily Reagan 10:07
Hey, hey, hey, so happy to be here.
Heather Sager 10:09
It's always gonna be a party every time we get together. A little background beyond the formal bio with Emily. We met, I think, almost a year and a half ago. You and I are at an industry event where we dined together for a meal. And I don't know, I think we both realize we're both snarky sarcastic people who like to work hard in business, but also like have fun along the way. And we've been voxering all the time since we've had the chance to work together in a variety of capacities. I cannot believe that this is the first time you're actually on the show.
Emily Reagan 10:44
I know we've talked about doing this, and I am so excited about the topic we're covering today because like we talked about, it hasn't been done before so I'm excited. And then of course, you know, when we hang out, it's always fun.
Heather Sager 10:56
It is fun. We're probably going to be mildly inappropriate today. We'll talk about the Peloton bike that I just convinced Emily to buy after I finally bit the bullet and bought one, all the things but what we're actually talking today is about pitching and getting yourself out there on podcasts. What we're talking about today, you can even use for pitching virtual summits or other stages but specifically, we're going to be talking about leveraging an assistant or a virtual assistant, executive assistant, whatever you call that leveraging that to help you personalize the pitching process. I've talked about pitching on the show before but never like this. I always get questions from my clients and from my community inside Speak Up to Level Up around how to manage all the things that come when it comes to getting more visibility so this is what you do. This is what you help people with in a variety ways in your business. Why don't you share with people a little bit what you do so we get some context and ingredient for our pitching conversation.
Emily Reagan 11:54
Yeah, so for a while there, my clients called me their VA. But before I stopped working full time, my last full time jobs were in public relations. I've been a public relations director. I've been a communications director in the non-profit world. And so I know what media needs to cover your story. I know how to build those relationships with media and you know, get on the front page of your local newspaper, or your story or for your event coverage and whatnot. But then when I started moving as a military spouse, we move a lot, it just wasn't a career I could keep up, always moving and learning a new media market and whatnot and I fell into this freelance world. And what's funny enough is my very first freelance job into this whole like, you know, online formula that we do now was building a media kit for a client and kind of learning the online ways to do that. She was a blogger, so it was more like a collaboration that she was looking for and she needed the stats behind that. So I was able to pull my PR skills over to the online world and from there, I just started doing more and more work. So what I call, I call myself a unicorn because we can do a little mix of things. I do a little bit of the tech. I help clients build their funnels, do their content marketing, but my true roots are back in the PR world. So I can help clients when it comes to pitching themselves for podcasts, for electronic media, and other types of speaking gigs. So one of the things I get is, one of the questions I get the most from my online business owner friends is how to find somebody to help them pitch. And luckily, I teach students in my course how to do this, and I have those skills and I know that it's not rocket science. So I like to help people do that and bring those skills to the online space.
Heather Sager 13:45
I love that. You actually helped me with this. This last year things were ramping up in my business pretty quickly and I knew I wanted to get more strategic with pitching. So you came in my business and helped me put together my toolkit, helped me actually get on some pretty good stages over the last six months. So I will give you the stamp of Heather approval that you do awesome work. And I loved it. And quite frankly, I didn't think that somebody else could pitch for me for the exact reason we're going to talk about today around that personal touches, building relationships. But there actually are things we can do to have somebody help you with that. So why don't we talk a little bit about why it is that most business owners in this online space especially they say, Okay, I know I need to get on more stages, but they delay like I'm not ready yet or they just think it's going to take a lot of time, whatever it is like why do you think a lot of people declare the fact that they want to get visible, they want to get on more stages, but they put it off?
Emily Reagan 14:44
Oh my goodness, that is such a good question. And I think we can all relate to this as business owners, we've got a lot of balls in here. We're trying to do a lot of things and a lot of people have that goal of increasing their visibility and they know how important it is. They're listening to your podcast, you know, planning out their strategy for getting on stages but when it comes time to executing it, they fall short and a lot of it is because it is so time consuming, right, that in order to know who you're pitching, you've got to pay attention and do your homework and listen to the podcast and develop those relationships. It takes a lot of work just to write the pitch. It can take a lot of work if it's just a form. Some podcast take guests via a Typeform or Google Form and to have all of that ready to go and written well and were it selling yourself as a speaker, that takes a lot of work. So that can hold business owners back a lot, because they're too busy putting out other fires in their business. You know, they need to show up on Instagram every day, they're trying to get that weekly email out, and it just gets pushed to the bottom of the stack. We all know about the Pareto principle and how we need to be focusing on that big part of our work, that part of our job that moves our business forward and brings in the money. And for some people, and I saw this in my last non-profit job, the PR and the media, it doesn't always have this immediate return and so it's also not people's priority, right? I remember having to kind of prove my worth to my boss, like, yeah, I'm getting on all the radio stations by can actually track my results without dumping all kinds of money into like surveys and marketing. So the people who got attention was the people who brought in the money, it was the Office of development, who's bringing in the grants from the sponsor so this is kind of like the nature of our work in PR. Everybody knows this important, but it just doesn't always, you know, get the action.
Heather Sager 16:40
It feels really intangible. It's like we know it's important, but because of the intangibility, is that a word? We're going to make it a word. Yeah, it's not a priority. You know, side note, I had this vision that came to mind when you were talking about how, like, it piles up. I don't know why I had this vision in my head. You remember the old show, Lucy, Lucy and Ricky. I want to say Ricky Bobby. There's this episode that I remember as a kid watching, my mom was watching this show, and there was an episode of her in a factory with a conveyor belt, and she got distracted or something and all the conveyor belt items kept coming down, and they kept going like into the trash because she couldn't keep up with production on the conveyor belt. I have this vision in my mind that when it comes to pitching, like you have all these ideas, you keep dumping the ideas on the list of things that you want to pitch, like someday, but like the conveyor belt, they could just keep like piling up and ended up in a big dump on the floor. And then at some point, it just becomes a big mess and you don't want to deal with it so you keep putting it off. I feel like pitching is kind of like that is we think it's like this really big thing and instead of doing a little bit of time, we like let it become a Ricky Bobby Lucy production.
Emily Reagan 17:59
Yes, totally. It's something we should be working on probably have a goal for every week. But we put it up as some like pie in the sky. Like we'll get to it, we'll get to it. And we just, we never do. And I'll tell you from firsthand experience, I've had clients who I've worked with in more of the VA capacity, like I want to get on podcasts and like, that's awesome. What are your speaking topics, and then they got nothing. So I know this relates directly to what your service, sometimes they don't know. And they're not ready. And they haven't really figured that part out. They just know that they're being told they need to do this. And they don't actually have that component of their business ready, and especially in a way like you teach that actually brings in leads, right, so that's one factor. You've also talked about this on a previous episode about people just having that fear of rejection, like they just don't even want to go there. They don't want to put themselves out there. And part of what you and I plan on doing today is going over a bad pitch. And people don't want to be the bad pitch. You know, they don't want to be doing it wrong, and they're scared and they just think that you know that rejection is just scary enough to like keep them stuck and not doing it.
Heather Sager 19:09
Yeah, yeah, I think that's the thing is rejection sucks. Which by the way, if you want to go back and listen to I believe that was episode 24. Let me scroll, episode 23. So Episode 23, the Four Pitching Truths to Land your Next Yes. If you want to get your feet wet with this idea of like what is pitching, what do we need to embody? We have to be able to embody this idea of rejection. Don't worry about it. Like when you do pitching, you're going to send stuff out, you're not going to hear from people, you are going to hear from people, you're going to hear no's, or not right now is not a right fit, none of this is saying that you are not worthy, you are not good, your topics sucks like nobody's saying that. It's just figuring out whether or not it's a match for a certain type of media. But I think what's fascinating is, I think a lot of people wrap up their pitching as like they're selling themselves. It's not, you're talking about a topic, you're talking about topic, people. Just choose your topic wisely, and just have the gall to like put yourself out there and talk about it. It doesn't have to be so scary, but I think we wind it up and make it a really like a really, really big thing.
Emily Reagan 20:12
I think it's not too scary for me because I have had, I'm the military wife and I've had a lot of jobs. I've moved around a lot but I've done the TV news gig, I've done the newspaper gig. So I see firsthand, the editors who are in the weeds daily, trying to come up with stories like always trying to plan ahead and if you can deliver them a story that serves them, that helps them, you know, with their audience helps them hit all those news values that they need, you're actually doing them a huge favor, and they'll be so grateful. But for some reason, we switch it in our head, where it's got to be this thing where we're not helping them like maybe it's just self promotional or whatnot. But you have to remember, you're helping out the editor, you're helping out the beat reporter, if you can give them a good story idea. And even if they take your idea and twist it for what they need, like that's a big win, for sure.
Heather Sager 21:03
Yes, yes. We're all on the hunt for, thinking about that out of the media context into the podcasting context, we're all in search for quality content. One of the things that I think about, I'm pretty protective around who I have on the show, because I can smell a mile away virtually whatever the equivalent of that would be. But I can smell somebody who's in it to pitch their product, versus someone's like, Hey, I know your audience and I want to serve them. So it's like if you have a true message that is going to be helpful and relevant and of service, people want that. They don't want the schmucky self serving people who are like, hey, my books coming out this month, can I get on your show and talk about it? Or could we line up this episode because my course is launching on Thursday. And it would be awesome if you can launch this like two Tuesday's before for my webinar fill up? No, bro, like, that's not how this works. And I get a little taste around the what not to do. But people can sense authentic service. And if you have a good topic, if you have good experience, if you have good examples, man, you just have to learn how to pitch it in a way where you can convey that and you can stand out against the schmucky. I'm very passionate about these things.
Emily Reagan 22:15
The art of pitching, how can I take this thing that I am going to sell or I do want exposure and and make it something that's valuable and newsworthy and something like exclusive for that audience? Like that's the whole art of it, right? You know, what's interesting. One thing that holds a lot of people back to is they're not quite organized because it takes a lot to pitch, you need to have your bio ready. You need to have like, we talked about those speaking topics ready and you have to be able to have control over your calendar and be able to book appointments successfully and follow up. And this sounds kind of like Captain Obvious here but you would not be surprised how many people are not actually organized in their business like they're posting on Instagram every day. But their inboxes a mess, their calendars is not up to date. There's a lot of follow up and a lot of tracking, which we will get into later in this podcast that is time consuming on top of just writing the pitch. And if you don't have the back end of your business, and maybe a team helping you with that part, it's really easy to put in the work pitch yourself, drop the ball, not follow up, not book the gig and we've all seen that happen before.
Heather Sager 23:24
Yes. Oh, my goodness. I mean, that organization piece is critical to keep yourself organized because if you're a solopreneur, you only have a certain amount of time in the day otherwise you've run around like a frenzy. But if you're wanting to bring on a team, if you're wanting to delegate or outsource, like if you're not organized, how can you expect your team like they're just going to be chasing you. So I love the fact that you brought that piece up. I think that organization piece we all get by being disorganized because we know where the things are -ish. But it's like it'll stunt your growth if you are not organized in scaling your team.
Emily Reagan 23:56
Yeah, because pitching involves other people. It involves you kind of getting your act together a little bit so you can say exactly when you're available and not missed out on that opportunity.
Heather Sager 24:05
Yeah, okay so I love that piece. I know there's going to be some people listening going, okay, but I still don't have my topics down or I'm still not quite ready, I'm still building my program like I want to wait, but I know this year is going to be my year but I want to wait until later. How do you navigate somebody who's maybe earlier in their business or early in their decision to get more visible? What do they need to be doing right now and or should they really be thinking about or should they be focused on other things in their business?
Emily Reagan 24:35
I think it's important it is like that Chinese proverb about planting the tree now, right? If you can plant it now it's better than yesterday but if you can get the ball rolling now and you teach this a lot starting on the baby podcast, getting experience speaking, flushing out those speaking topics and see what successful, what people bite on, right and that's important part of the process and you can have every intention of booking yourself on shows and have a goal for one show a week but it takes time to get there. And as an example, I was pitching a client over the summer and we were sending out a lot of pitches and it took about three months of solid pitching to have it where she was booked out in the fall for once a week. And I just want people to have that perspective and not think they Oh, I'm ready to pitch, I'm ready. You just go in with a pitch and then suddenly your book, it just doesn't work like that. And you know this, sometimes podcast hosts, batch produce and batch record their podcast, so you might have missed the opportunity to get on their show which is booked out already for like all of 2021. So you got to kind of start doing this now and develop these habits now so you can be ready.
Heather Sager 25:47
Yes. 100%. And if you guys are listening to the show, you'll know I talked about this recently. So back on episode 64, I talked about four things that you can be doing it was going into the holidays, but like on the quote unquote offseason to get ready for pitching. Go back and listen to that because if you, let's say you want to start getting on shows six months from now, like there is some groundwork you have to do as I call it. You have to lay the tracks. This is totally a shameless steal from Shonda Rhimes in her book of the Year of Yes. She talks about creating all her shows,Grey's Anatomy, Scandal like all the good stuff. She talks about how in the show her only job with her and her team of writers were like lay the tracks every week. They have to lay the tracks because the train is moving. I think about this with my business, I'm going Holy crap, I'm a big fat train, like here at cub. My job is to like lay the tracks so that I can get in front of more people. So the work I do now dictates the level of success and visibility I have six months from now, a year from now, two years from now. So you always have to be thinking ahead but it can feel overwhelming if you're a solopreneur you don't have a team yet. How can I even think about getting ahead if I don't have help now which is exactly why we're talking about this idea of having help today. But hey, before, we jump into that, we're actually gonna go into seven steps, let's get a little preview, seven steps for how you guys can leverage an assistant to keep your pitching and personalization there like making it as customized. You'll see it much better than I just said it, Emily. But let's give an example of how the tracks maybe are not laid out well and the train crashes a bit before you get there. Let me give you an example of a pitch I got recently. Emily and I were chatting before we hit record in this episode. I'm pretty careful around what I bring up publicly and just what I choose to focus on. I hate griping about things that don't work or griping about people who maybe don't do the best things like I don't want to be talking -ish. But I need to use this example because it completely correlates to what we're talking about today.
Emily Reagan 27:53
Yes, hashtag learningup.
Heather Sager 27:54
Hashtag learningup not a trash talk. I want you to learn from this and maybe if this person is listening, which I doubt they are because you'll hear why in a second maybe they'll learn how to pitch a little better. But we were chatting about how I get a lot of pitches for the show in my inbox, which still makes me giggle because I don't really feel this show is like huge by any means but like we're a tiny mighty engine that could. I got a pitch a few months back of somebody pitching, Finding Your It Factor, after we changed the name to the Heather Sager show, very clearly. So I politely corrected them and said, Hey, by the way, we've had a show name changed. It's now called the Heather Sager Show. Thanks so much. I responded and they ghosted me. So I'm like, all right, evidently, they're not actually interested to come in the show. This was an assistant pitching on behalf of someone else. This wasn't the actual we'll just call him a quote unquote talent or business owner. A couple weeks ago, I get an email from the same person thinking like, oh, they're ready to follow up to like explore this. And kid you not it was copy and paste the same exact pitch that I had gotten last fall of I have the perfect guest for Finding Your It Factor. Friends, if you're new around here, my show used to be called Finding Your It Factor and we changed it in July 2020 to the Heather Sager Show. So if you're any kind of listen to the show, you know that that's not the name. So it was the perfect guest, quote unquote for Finding Your It Factor. And then it was the, here's the pitch. I'm not reading that I'm going off of memory. Heather, I have the perfect guest for your show. I've been listening to your show. I love your show. I'm a huge fan. I especially love the episode, get this it was a copy and paste. It was an episode title. I think it was the episode that I did recently here with Anna, where it was like leveraging your strengths to stand out in business with Anna Nelson. It had that title but then it kept going. It was like leveraging your strengths with Anna Nelson how to become authority using guest speaking community end quote. I think this would be I think my guest. Anyways, the point of the story on this, I had to read this five times to go what frickin episode is she talking about. Anna didn't talk about building your authority through speaking and then it hit me. That's the name of my masterclass. What the hell is going on and I went to the show notes and I read, there were three sentences back to back. That was like the name of the episode, a CTA, a call out to my master class and then the next line called out a CTA for my free Facebook community. Community is what's the first word was. So this person literally copied and pasted the show notes into this attempt at a personalized pitch but what it demonstrated to me was one, they don't know the name of my show. Two, they flat out lied because they said they were a huge fan of the show and this would be a perfect guest. And three, their attention to detail was so crappy, they couldn't even get an episode name, right. And I hate to throw this person under the bus but I also want to say I see these pitches every freaking week in my inbox as do most podcast hosts. So this idea of I'm scared to hire someone for help because I don't want the first impression that somebody has my brand to be something crappy like that, it is real. We should be weary of outsourcing our brand if somebody is going to have touch points with someone like that, like, God forbid, somebody pitched me to a podcast and that was my first brand impression. So I wanted to bring this up because I was just shocked. Number one, I'd already given the opportunity to fix it after the first round. And number two, it was the worst example of copy and paste but it's real. So Emily, I want you to talk about this idea. When we outsource pitching, how do we avoid that terrible, like first impression? Because I've never gonna look at that guest ever coming on my show because that was a terrible first impression. Yeah, so what's your perspective on that?
Emily Reagan 31:54
Well, was this person an agency like a PR agency representing somebody on their feet?
Heather Sager 31:58
Yes, it was a third party agency, which honestly, my first inclination, I didn't do this, but my first inclination was, I want to contact the business owner, and tell her how terrible
Emily Reagan 32:15
This is so interesting, I have been on the receiving end of a lot of pitches as well for not so much for my show, but for a client I used to work with. I saw a lot of agency pitches, and they're trying to do what makes a good pitch and add that personalization but they're failing. And I think it's just number one, it fails in general when it's coming from somebody who's not the business owner, when it's coming from some other domain email address and you don't know who they are. And it probably would have been so much better if this person would have just pitched herself or at least it came from her email. So I feel like that's a good tip right there. People know that to stand out for a pitching. I mean, you've covered this, but personalization is such a big thing. Like they're trying to do their homework, act like they're listening to the show, trying to like or reference a recent episode even though your show changed its name like six, seven months ago, and they just flat out failed. But here's the thing. You hire someone on your team to represent you in your inbox, in your Facebook community, like we were used to having people represent us right at this like, basic level and pitching is the same way. You need to have somebody who can interact with your customers, and your clients, and represent you and you want somebody who knows your business. I'm not saying that agencies can't help. I don't always think it's the best solution because I don't know if they really know the business and they're probably not doing their homework when it comes to your show. They probably did some just kind of generic search, told the business owner like I'll get you on so many out pitch, so many podcasts a week and you were probably one of them because of some key word that came up in iTunes, which is not iTunes anymore that just dated me. I don't know if I ever get that out of me.
Heather Sager 34:00
I think it gives the example though is anyone you hiring you to sniff out and do your homework, right? Get examples of their pitches. I want to say this before I forget. I'm okay if people make mistakes, like it's the fact that she got my show name wrong. I forgave that the first time. I was actually interested in the guests the first time through, but what to me was, we'll call it the unforgivable sin was the flat out appearance of a lie maybe she is a fan of the show, but she didn't say anything that actually gave him that piece. But to tell someone I am a huge, this is the most generic pitch line. I am a huge fan of your show, and then copy and pasting without any kind of, any kind of resemblance that you actually are a fan of, even if she was a fan. Sadly, it was a missed opportunity because of her tactic. It didn't work. But for me, like that's where the misses is like, if somebody has a mistake, it's forgivable. It doesn't mean you're totally out. But it's the piling up the mistakes and the lack of attention to detail. That's where it's like. I have a big saying in that and I always use. I learned this from my old job. Now when it comes to experience with your customers, your clients, your prospects, every touchpoint, you have, you're either adding value to your brand, or you're eroding the value of your brand. And you have to think about when it comes to pitching that person who's sending that first note, that is a touchpoint with your brand is the first impression, which is arguably the most important. So the question is, whose hands are you leading into and how are you equipping their hands to be perceived in the most optimistic way because of your, it's your brand?
Emily Reagan 35:35
Yeah, it almost sounds like a cold, you know, Instagram DM to me. As I was thinking about it, again, it sounds like somebody who is just trying to scoop up as many leads as possible and doesn't really care. And to be a good pitch, you need to be doing your homework, you need to understand the audience, the podcast, you need to be serving. Did she even give like, specific speaking topics or was it like a self promotion?
Heather Sager 36:00
I don't remember. No, it was more of a self promotion of here's my rap sheet. Here's what I talked about. It was like the standard. Here's all the things I've done. It wasn't a bat, like the things on there, there were things I can pull from, but there was no and this is generally speaking, what I see in pitches, there's no connection telling me how their topic relates to my audience, which again, I'm smart. I can draw the conclusions and sift through and say, Oh, this is how would match but the pitches is you're going to talk about I know, the ones that stand out where they go, here's why I think this matches.
Emily Reagan 36:30
Yeah, and totally. You've talked about this before on your podcast that connection is so important, like finding that commonality between the host and the speaker. And also, not only the commonality, but if they have something in common as far as like their audience, like what they're serving and what they're giving, you really need to lead with value number one and not come in with the me, me, me. I'm promoting myself and can't you tell because like you said, we can all sniff that out. But there's a couple other things that go into good pitch. And being as specific with those speaking topics and making somebody feel special, making them feel like they're getting the exclusive topic from you. You were astounded, which like a bad pitch, which is a mass generic pitch. I guarantee you, they just switched out a couple words in that template and send it to a zillion other podcast hosts. In order for you to feel special, you want them to kind of drop in facts that they've been listening to up and not in a like brown nose way but in a genuine way that they can reference your podcast episodes, they can reference your mission, they can, sometimes that connection can even be a person you have in common. It doesn't have to be like oh, you both like coffee, or you both have a hearing loss or something, you know, but just those little like touch points can show that they are listening and actual genuine fan and why do we really care as the podcast host because we don't want to get somebody on the show who's just promoting themselves and we don't want to sell out to our audience either.
Heather Sager 38:02
I always liken it to I don't want this is gonna sound so terrible, but I have to say it. I don't want a one night stand. I don't want a one night stand of a host. Somebody who's literally looking for a wham bam, thank you for your audience and I'm done. That to me, here's the thing you can do. Okay, I bet one day when I have a book, I know I'm going to do a media tour and I'm going to have a lot of stages that I speak on that are going to be one time things but at this stage in my business, I'm about relationship building and I can sniff out when other people are using me for my platform versus trying to serve my audience. And at this stage I'm going to be, I'm actually I see on always on my stage I'm gonna be protective of my audience. So I think we all know the difference between like the one nightstand speaker versus the impact speaker, which still could technically be a one nightstand but they lead with a different value. I don't know. Does that make sense?
Emily Reagan 38:52
It is, and I'm thinking about this other core element that you should have in the pitch about reciprocity. Like it's not just about what you're gonna do for me. It's how I can help you and this works really well for beat reporters and you know, online electronic media outlets like they want to know how you're going to share that article, that podcast, and how you're going to help them get more eyeballs and get more listeners and serve and they want to know if you can put that in your pitch somewhere what your email list is like how you'll share it maybe you'll do IG story that will be really helpful and show that you're not just like a taker like I like to call this a taker and give her really but I think about that children's book the Bucket Filler, the Bucket Dipper. Did you read that one?
Heather Sager 39:36
No, but I think that's gonna have to go on the shelf in our house.
Emily Reagan 39:40
Yeah, it's good. Oh my gosh, because you're not just there to take, take, take, and you got to kind of show that you got to play the game a little bit with that hit show, that you want to play.
Heather Sager 39:49
I love that. I remember Tarzan Kay who we've had on the show before. She shared with me a while back when she was pitching. I think it was Rick Mulready podcast. One of the ways that she stood out was offer, she's actually been on the show twice now, but offering to write his email to promote the show, and she like, was offering different things. And she went through this phase where she was like, I'm going to be the best damn guest you've ever had by like crafting emails, I'm promoting on my social, promoting my newsletter, but really talking about how she can make this the biggest home run for the host, which is smart, right? We know that if we do good work, if we are truly aligned with our message where we have the right topics, it will be a magnet where people will want to come back and follow us. But it's like when you forget, you know, when you meet someone's really adorable baby, and you really want the baby to love you. And so you're like, oh, little cute kid, like, look at me. And the kid only wants to like, see your partner and your partner like hates baby. And it's like, I know, I don't even know what to do with this kid. But the kid only wants your partner and you're like, why can't you love me? I think I don't know, maybe that was just me ever. I always want the baby to love me and they all want my husband. But I think pitching is like that. You can't want it so bad. You can't be like, pick me because I want the opportunity. You can't be so desperate.
Emily Reagan 41:09
Totally and I can totally relate. I'm just thinking about the cat world, like the cats always gonna go to the lap where the you know, the cat hater is like do not sit on my lap, I hate cats, get off and that's where they'll go. But you know, when it comes to pitching, you can be you. You can do it just you. You don't have to hire some big agency to do it, like you know your business the best. And chances are, there's somebody on your team, who knows your business who would be fully capable of stepping in and helping with the pitches, like you don't have to have this $25,000 contract with a PR agency. You don't have to have all of these media contacts, when it comes to pitching. You can do it yourself because you know your business the best, right?
Heather Sager 41:54
I love that. Okay, so let's get into it. We have seven, these are good but these are gonna go pretty quickly. We're gonna breeze through these, seven ways to include your VA in the pitching process. And I would argue as I'm scanning through each of these, these are things that as a solopreneur can help you get more organized if you're doing pitching on your own. There are things that you can segment out to get your VA with. Or if you do hire someone, they're good things that you can make sure you're hiring a person who's actually going to get the work done in the way that you want. So whatever level you're in business, I think this kind of stuff is going to be helpful for you.
Emily Reagan 42:24
Yeah, everything we're going to talk about is trainable. You could teach someone on your team. You could also hire somebody who already knows it. Chances are that person if they're good at pitching, and they're a good writer, they might be a little bit you know, more costly with their rates, but the whole idea here is you can involve them in parts of the process and kind of phase them then maybe give them you know, step one, and then work on adding these other parts so that eventually maybe you hand off the entire pitching process, minus a few things, which we'll talk about to your teammate. And all of these things, the thing they have in common, they all take time. We're going back to that whole time consuming thing, like we're so busy that we just need someone to handle some aspect of it and it doesn't have to be rocket science. The first thing I like to talk about, encouraged your VA to do is finding podcasts because that is a chore. Sometimes I can spend hours just trying to find the perfect photo for some clients website, right? And the podcasts are the same. It takes a lot of work to go find the perfect audience. And the reason it takes so so much is it's not just you just do a search and then you find the perfect ones right you have to do a little bit of stalking, you have to go into the, and Heather knows I like to do internet stalking though. I love to use that verb. And of course, I'm saying that being funny, right? Okay. But you can go into your Apple podcast platform, and you can look for related podcasts. I think that's like the best tip ever. I think you've said this on a podcast before you don't need to go after the top 100. I'm talking about at the beginning, going for podcasts that are achievable, that will give you those wins that will give you that experience and then you can move on to that dream list. So have somebody, have a VA starter list for you, have your dream list and I know you've talked about this before Heather but have those you know three pointers, have the dream list person maybe you want to be on Amy Porterfield podcast by the end of 2022. Have that list but then have your attainable list and set your VA to work in the sleuthing and one good tip for doing this and I've taught you this Heather too but it's like kind of stalk out your competitors see what podcasts they've been on. Search these 'as seen' on websites that everybody has where they showcase the podcasts they've been on. Find somebody who is related to you that would have a sister audience. Your VA could do all of this work. You do not need to go down the rabbit hole unless maybe you're watching white tiger and you want to do some searching. You know that's okay in the evening, but your VA can own this 100% using search words and their abilities to use the internet.
Heather Sager 44:59
I love, I love this. Let me hit on this piece real quick. For me, I didn't use my competitors. I follow the subscription of the like blinders on. I try not to like do anything with my competitors online, but I find the like businesses. For example, so on last week's episode, Tyler McCall was on and we were talking about how 2018 was the year that he did a ton of podcasting. Before he started his podcast, if you search Tyler J. McCall on podcasts, you would see all of the ones he was on. He was on podcast but didn't have his own. The beautiful thing was I did that. I would search Tarzan Kay, Tyler McCall, other people in the space that I admired. I knew them. I knew their business and our audiences were similar so I looked at that to have my team create that list of targeted podcasts. Find somebody in this like in the same industry, they don't have to be a competitor. But somebody's been like audience. I mean, that's a really good place to start, especially if your team is scratching their head going, but like, I don't know which ones are relevant. Just follow the breadcrumbs that have already been put in front of you. Like Don't try to make this hard, just like literally follow somebody else's footsteps.
Emily Reagan 46:01
Oh, my gosh, yes, it seems so obvious. But those podcasts if they had Tyler J. McCall back in 2018, unless they like blew up and turned into somebody's big wig that I don't know, chances are, they're still accepting guests. Yeah, you don't want to go for the podcast, where they're not accepting guests. Like that's a complete waste of time, like go for the ones where you know, your sister in the online space has already spoken and that's a great place to go. Even if they have interviewed your competitor, and it was a year ago, that's okay. You can still come up with your own spin in your pitching process. But this is where step number two will come into factor is like listening to the episode. So you are going to want to see is this person aligned with somebody who is not in my, I don't know my direct competitor who has a direct program, you might not want to go for them. But once you start listening to those episodes, you'll get familiar with their message and what kind of topics they're doing and this is something easy to outsource. What I would say is have your VA listen to the trailer, the trailer will give you that gem of a thing the their mission statement, right? Their values, all of that core information is usually in that very first episode on the Apple podcast, but don't go by that alone. And that's exactly what I bet your bad pitch person did just listen to the trailer pretended like they were a big fan and didn't listen to anything else. So the trailer is just one, listen to your recent episode. And then also pick up an episode that's related to the topic that that your client or you will be speaking on so you can do something related to that. I like to just when I'm doing this for clients, like I was just like constantly listening to podcasts. It doesn't mean I'm listening to the whole thing. Sometimes I love the like, time and a half speed, like speed it up so I can get to things. But when you're listening, you should be writing down notes to your client. It's like things that the host likes, what they don't like. If you were to listen to my podcast, you will hear that I do bloopers at the end every time. So that could be something that you can reference that shows that you listen to my show. Have your VA write those notes to you. Heather Sager hates the color yellow, love soccer, you know, like little things like that could help you on your connection points when you're doing the pitch, you just never really know. And listening to listening, for their offers, listening for things that are ongoing in their life like all of that can help too. There was one pitch I did for a client and we were just referencing that this lady's Tiktok video went viral. Congratulations, you know, that was one of our PS things. I like to kind of have fun in the PS of the pitch just to be friendly and bring in that connection. But your VA can totally make those notes for you, and help you when you don't have time to listen to all these podcasts yourself. What they could do is take notes of timestamps, maybe you should go back and listen to a certain part like they can pull out those important meaty parts for you so you're educated and you know a little bit about the host.
Heather Sager 49:04
Yeah, I love this tip. You did this for me. You helped set up this process in my business where you did it for a few months, then we trained my team to be able to do this. The thing that I loved is I would always have the notes because my schedule just like most of us are, it's packed, right? And I don't have time, I'm not prepping days or weeks for a podcast interview. I have a wedge of time before a podcast for you to prep. So you would tell me, hey, I want you to listen to these two episodes beforehand. What I would do literally like I would go to that podcast while I was doing my hair and makeup for that day, and I would listen to the episode I would scan maybe half of it and do half of another one. I would read through the notes. But what happened was, I could hear the tone of the host. I could hear the personality, I could hear the little things and then I would be present going okay, now I know how to show up and serve. And I feel like it's not our first date. That to me what was important. It was like I'd already kind of had a pre funk, a little pre party before we started and it just makes the interview that much better. So, no, I don't worship or know everything about every show I'm on. That's not the best use of my time. I don't go out and try to listen to all the episodes because I don't need to. I have my core shows that I listened to and I try to limit what else I listen to but you can do your homework. And I love the fact that you made that really easy for me and that's what my assistant does now.
Emily Reagan 50:21
Yeah, it's what you would do to prep anyone to get ready for the media, like, what do you need to know what are the fast facts, but pull that out, as if you're going to be on the show, or have your VA pull it out. And then you can reference that in your pitch too. So it's kind of doing like a two for one and getting you ready for that. It's just so funny that, it's just so obvious, like listening to the podcast, but when you think about it, you're like three episodes is a lot of time, but it would be nice to do more. It totally would but that's just not gonna happen. But we can see through people who aren't actually listening like your bad pitch example. It was 100% obvious that this person didn't even listen to the episode, even though they quoted half of the title doesn't mean they listened. That could be your views job to pull that out. And also looking for gaps, where your speaking topics would fit in, like scanning all of their podcasts, not all of their 500. Maybe not do that, but scan the most recent podcast and see where are the holes in where they think you could fit in with your speaking topics. And then you can go in, you'll go in for the kill later but that's just a big part of it because there's so much homework when it comes to the pitching like you need to know what the podcast host is all about. You need to know sometimes you'll pick up little things like how they batch, how they record, if they're not taking guests, if they're taking guests, how they prefer people applying, like, I'll pick all of that up in the podcast. Sometimes people will have the forms to apply via the form. They'll have that part automated. And then one big tip I can think about right now is I'm thinking about Amy Porterfield right here, she'll constantly reference in other trainings, in other Instagram Stories like who her podcast audience is like she calls that ICA Becca. So if you could turn around and use that in a pitch, and that would be so helpful but you're not going to pick up all of that your VA can listen for those little nuances that will help you and that was really hard. Step three, which is like doing the homework. Yeah, like lumps, two and three together there. Yeah, very labor intensive.
Heather Sager 52:26
This was something for me. I never really thought about. I knew people batch but I'm like how would I even know they're batching. And I remember so you pitched I was on recently Systems that Saved me with Jordan Gill. And I like you found so many shows that weren't even on my radar. And then I'm like, Oh my gosh, I love them. I love Jordan in that show. And I had no idea like her whole thing is around systems. Of course, she batches her podcast, she does 24 podcasts in one week, every quarter. And it's crazy town, but you were able to based off her stories know when she would do that batching so that you can make sure we pitch at the right time. And then we happen to get on the next batch. Sometimes if you're watching people's like Instagram stories, they talk about what they're doing behind the scenes. It's not, I mean, you're just participating in their social so it's it's acceptable stalking.
Emily Reagan 53:15
Yeah it is acceptable. And it's so you're so my clients are taken care of. And one thing I hope I did on that word document was put, oh, yeah, at the end of every episode, Jordan might ask you what your favorite tech is, what's your favorite project management tool, and then you can come to the interview prepared. Maybe at the client, like sometimes people will do the lightning rounds at the end, and that'll catch you off guard or I just want you to be prepared going in there so you don't look like a bumbling idiot, like I don't know what's gonna be said. And part of that homework that I kind of skipped over was just reaching out and saying, hey, follow this person on Instagram right now. You've talked about this on your podcast, plant that seed, start following them start interacting with them not in a schmoozy suck up way, but get that ball rolling because in a month, I'm going to be pitching.
Heather Sager 54:06
And I don't want to just call it out. These are like the things that we probably shouldn't say in public, but I'm going to be totally real with you guys. This is something that Emily did all the time. She would go, she would send me a DM and go Heather follow this person. I would not even ask questions. I'd be like, Yes, mom. I would just go follow and then make sure I engaged in their post within the next few days. The challenge was if we did end up pitching those people months later, I'd be like, who is this person? Oh my gosh, that sounds terrible. So I ended up unfollowing you but it's like one of those things is like if you just direct me like I don't need to worry about that signal in my business right now. I'm I'm focused over here. But if you tell me Heather go follow this or Hey, Heather, I want you to send them a DM or Hey, Heather, I want you to engage in some of their content. Like those are laying the tracks like you doing that for me? I know anyone listening you can direct your VA to tell you that as they're searching just to get on people's radars. It's helpful. That's not sneaky. That's not like ooh, how can we start? No, it's just it's introducing you to people that you need to know and that you need to start networking with. I thought that was a brilliant thing. But I just loved the fact that I blindly just followed your instructions because I trusted you like it was a beautiful thing.
Emily Reagan 55:11
Sometimes if t didn't work out, sometimes I say dove into some of their episodes. I was like, oh, maybe not. It's not about quantity. It was about the quality. So yeah, I wish Instagram would let us do that. I feel like that's coming where we could kind of like tag people. And kind of remember, I think that would be so great like, podcast people.
Heather Sager 55:37
Like a CRM, we use our followers as a CRM and we like notate things.
Emily Reagan 55:42
Basically, you could do that, like only my close friends can see this status. Oh, yeah.
Heather Sager 55:48
Versus friends of friends. And we're on a side tangent. Let's come back. Yeah, I do want to do like a success story on this example. I remember last year, one of the people that you told me I needed to follow was April Beach of the Sweet Life Podcast. I remember like, Oh, she seems I didn't I hadn't met her. I didn't know of her at that point. So I started following her and realized I really enjoyed her content. Months later, we got me booked on the Sweet Life Podcast which took another few months to get scheduled. And it just aired time this recording. It's aired yesterday. So you guys are getting this. So a week ago, so you can go listen to that episode right now. I did a mini training on her podcast, which is awesome. And then tonight, by the time this comes out, it'll be gone. But she actually invited me she's really big on clubhouse moderating rooms. Tonight, she's invited me to be on a clubhouse room with her because she loved the interview so much. She's like, come back, how else can we work together? So I'm on clubhouse with her tonight. And she's going to be a guest on my podcast in a couple weeks. We're going to figure out how we can work together this year. So going back from last June or July, when we planted the seed and started building this out, here it is January, February, the next year, now those like seeds are sprouting. We'll go with that analogy. And things are taking shape, which is a beautiful thing.
Emily Reagan 57:07
I'd like to say you're in bed together now. It was not a one night stand. Good example, I mean, we started that in the summer. Summer, historically, people are not going as gung ho with their business. It was a great time to lay some of the tracks and and just have those realistic expectations that it is going to take time. It's in a debt if that one was a good case in point.
Heather Sager 57:30
It does. It's beautiful too. If you find somebody who your audience is aligned really well, where you have shared philosophies around business, you want to find people that you want to work with, beyond just an interview? I think collaborations and partnerships are an awesome thing. So who knows what will come from a lot of these things. Yeah, we're going through the seven ways of how to include your VA in the pitching process, particularly to make it more personalized. We've hit number one, leveraging your VA to help find podcasts. Number two, having them do some of the homework so listening to past episodes. Oh, this is a fire conversation. Am I right? We're just gonna pause there because we have covered a lot of ground in I mean, a fair amount of time. So for the sake of your own earbuds, for your own brain comprehend this information. Let's pause here. I want you to take a moment and say okay, what were the few things that stuck out with me today. We covered a lot of ground when it comes to pitching. I want you to sit with this. More importantly, put some things into action. And hey, if you want to grab that tracker I mentioned at the top of the episode how to start tracking your pitching efforts, which will be instrumental as you start working with an assistant head on over to emilyreaganpr.com/pitch again, the links in the show notes. Take it from here. I can't wait to see what you hear about this episode. And we will see you next week for part two, where we dive in further and we have four additional ways where you can leverage your VA to help you with pitching. Alright friends, we'll see you real soon. Hey, friends. Thanks so much for listening to today's episode. If you liked what you had to hear, and you're looking to make a bigger splash with your brand online, then you've got to check out my brand new free video training. You can get it over at Heather sager.com/minitraining where I'm going to teach you the three speaking strategies that every online business owner needs for this virtual world here in 2020 hint You don't have to be some big pro speaker to make speaking work for your business. Go grab it now. heathersager.com/minitraining and I'll see you on the next episode.