By: Kalyn Schieffer
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to accompany two of my lovely Caster colleagues, Kelly and Pete, to a New Products event in New York City. Not only was it my first time to the big apple, but it was also my first time at a media event. I’ll admit that the idea of chatting up members of the media had me a bit nervous beforehand. In fact, the night before the event, I’m pretty sure I dreamt about being back in Public Speaking class and watching the professor make a tally mark every time I used the word “um.”
Luckily for me, none of the media I spoke with kept a running tally of my speaking errors. The nerves went away pretty quickly when I saw how easily my more experienced colleagues greeted and pitched the journalists and various members of the media that visited our booth. I picked up on a few of the main lines they used in their pitches and had them ready for when our booth got busy. Once I realized that these journalists were just people, interested in the product we had in front of us, it got much easier to have a flowing conversation.
I know that I am just a newbie at the whole media pitching deal, but looking back, here are a few things I thought about that helped me avoid stumbling through my first pitching event:
1. Avoid sounding like a robot:
I’m sure one of the reasons members of the media take time out of their day to walk around a hotel event space and navigate through the endless booths and products rather than search around the Internet is because they want
to talk to someone about the product face to face. They can get boring facts from an online product review, so I figured I might as well insert a little personality and tell interested media how I would use the product. I found it easier to start a pitch by laying out a quick scenario rather than start spewing facts at them right away. Being myself was much easier than being a robot who knew every little fact about the product, so I tried to include personal experiences as often as I could to start a conversation.
2. Learn as you go
As it was my first time at one of these events, I made it a point to observe and therefore adapt the way I talked to people as the day went on. Seeing the way Kelly and Pete talked to people about the product was the easiest way to learn, but I also began finding ways I could improve after each pitch I did. If a few journalists in a row asked me the same question, I tried to initially include that fact in my following pitches. Of course, each pitch got easier as I figured out what phrases caught people’s interest and figured out the best way to answer questions about the product.
3. Lean on your teammates
Right off the bat, I knew that if I was ever stuck or unable to answer a question about the product, I could always turn right to my colleagues for a solution. As the day went on, I felt like the three of us were all able to get involved in each other’s pitches and would chime in if someone forgot to mention a key fact. Working together as a team made the event go smoothly and certainly helped me through my first pitching experience.
I’m glad that I got to take a stab at media pitching early into my time here at Caster and will hopefully have additional survival tips to post as I get more experience under my belt. If you have any tips for me or have ideas on how to become a trade show/media event master, feel free to comment or chat with me on twitter @CasterKalyn or @CasterComm!