Thanks to the fact that certain companies put a heavy emphasis on writing in Associated Press style or another newspaper-oriented rule set, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that these systems are not the best for every kind of writing. When it comes time to write a consumer-oriented sales pitch, there are many reasons for a freelance writer to throw the newspaper style out of the nearest high window.
The first consideration is excitement. A good sales pitch has to generate high levels of excitement in the reader – enough excitement to overcome the natural resistance to spending money. This is something boring, dry reporting can never do. There is a reason most multibillion dollar companies use an excited style of advertising: It works.
The exact style a written pitch should use depends on the type of products being promoted. For impulse buy items, it’s a good idea to go ahead and throw in an exclamation point or two. You want to amp that excitement level up to the max! Still, don’t go overboard. If you use too many exclamation points, people will just ignore them. Put them at the most important places. The call to action is one of the best sentences to end with an exclamation point: “Order today!”
If the item is something expensive, like a $10,000 diamond ring, the reader isn’t going to be persuaded by such obvious hawking. Instead, keep it low-key. Even then, never resort to bland reporting. Use plenty of adjectives like “beautiful” and “stunning.” Get the person to imagine that ring going onto their finger or that of their significant other. Don’t just dryly tell them about the item. Make them want it.
The second big difference between reporting and advertising is bias. Newspaper writing is supposed to seem unbiased or nearly so. This kills any chance of putting a real sales spin on it. For a sales pitch, you need to be totally biased! Write as though the product or company you are pushing is king of its industry – and you are sure of that. Leave no room for debate or doubt.
Another important aspect is the difference between what is talked about in a typical article and what should be discussed in a sales pitch. With a typical article, you can go on about things like overviews of what products or services of a certain type do. Buyers, however, already know that. This makes most standard articles irrelevant to them.
In a sales pitch, you need to address the interests prospects actually have. Is the company reliable? Is the product highly reviewed? Is it cool? Is it durable? Whenever you can answer a question like this with a “yes,” hit it hard. If the answer is no, just forget about it. Negatives don’t go in the sales pitch. It is not a review.
With these guidelines, you should be able to handle any assignment that requires a true sales pitch. Of course, always remember to pay attention to the client’s instructions. Not everyone wants to hard sell their product with the article they’ve ordered. When they do ask for a pitch, though, don’t hold back. Promote that item all the way.
Marilynn F is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.