Maybe you’re at a conference, or maybe you’re just waiting on a ride, but you strike up a conversation with the person standing next to you. What do you say when he asks what you do?
Trick question. I hope you didn’t answer with “I’m a writer,” because this guy now thinks that you’re working on the Great American Novel in your basement. Instead, you should have an elevator pitch — something that not only gives some specifics about what you do, but shows how you can help the average business.
There’s a formula for good elevator pitches:
- a 15 to 30 second statement that says
- what you do, and
- why you’re worth hiring
In general, you want to stand out. You don’t want to be a writer. Instead, you want to be a copy writer specializing in small business marketing or a freelance writer covering personal finance topics. Even if you do plenty of other things, you want your elevator pitch to be lean and mean, so pare it down to just one small area. Furthermore, you want to demonstrate why your services are a good investment. Maybe your writing has won awards and gotten attention for magazines, or maybe your copy is responsible for a 25% increase in sales. Think specific and concrete!
You may even need more than one elevator pitch in your repertoire. Maybe you have several niches, or a few sidelines. Keep it simple, though — you don’t need to try to remember fifteen different speeches. Furthermore, you need to be able to adapt your pitch on the fly: maybe that business man you were chatting up needs a copy writer able to deal with a large marketing campaign, but you normally work with smaller businesses. If you’re interested, adapt your elevator pitch to make it clear that you are capable of taking on big projects.
My elevator pitch?
I’m a freelance writer covering small business topics — especially the ones that teach small business how to use new media.
I’ve got my job description, and I’ve mentioned a deep specialization that is somewhat rare, showing a value that not all freelance writers have.