Let’s talk about… sweat. You’re looking down at the floor in the waiting room trying to focus and get your game face on for the pitch meeting. You are perfectly ready. You have the specs, the research, the visuals; you have 30 minutes of attention all to yourself and your idea/product/brand. If it just weren’t for those annoying sweaty palms. Did you get your presentation right? Should you have spent more time on your marketing and content creation strategy? Will the suits be impressed?
That’s right, I’ve just placed you in some awkward shoes. The shoes of someone who doesn’t realize they don’t actually have half an hour to draw investors’ interest. They only have seconds. One sentence, to be exact. This brings me to the topic of today — the notion of the one-sentence pitch.
When doing a pitch, you need to grab attention quickly and communicate all core elements of your idea/product in a clear and concise manner.
This will come as no surprise, but I will say it anyway — less is more. Especially in the world of attention span when you’re constantly fighting the clock to get more clicks, boost your sales, and win that pitch competition. In the same world where you’re fighting to be remembered and understood.
The Genius Behind It
Let’s go back to the sweaty palm situation. You walk into the room, and you will be expected to impress. Don’t open it with “Hi, today I will be talking about this and that, and we will have a look at this and perhaps also at that.” Open it with “You push a button, and in five minutes a Mercedes picks you up and takes you where you want to go” instead. This is how Travis Kalanick described Uber back in 2011.
The genius of the one-sentence pitch goes beyond sounding cool.
It is about grabbing ïmmediate attention and saying “I have what you need.” It is about doing your content creation homework right. Using it is important far beyond the walls of the meeting room. It matters even more in the real world, downstairs by the lobby where people will be chatting about this awesome new mobile app (Uber) wondering how to describe it to a friend. If they can’t think of a way to simplify it, they will move on with the conversation in a different direction. If they remember your one-sentence pitch, they will share it — bam, your pitch does word-of-mouth for you.
Viral Pitches All Have Something in Common
A little thing called a lead feature.
Those are pitches that focus on just a single core feature of the product or idea they are promoting. Talking about Uber, there are no buzzwords like marketplace and verified drivers there is just you who needs a ride and only has to tap a button to get it. The lead feature here is ease of access. The way they are promoting it is through vividity, a famous yet little-known content creation method, a.k.a. putting you in a well-known situation.
Another just as famous pitch is the one of Facebook in its early days. Remember when Mark Zuckerberg explained it as:
“Something where you can type someone’s name and find out a bunch of information about them.”
Simple as that. We all know Facebook offers so much more than that, yet the pitch focuses on something we are all interested in — stalking. A-a-a I mean, finding your long lost third cousins and college buddies. No stalking involved, khm.
How Can You Craft a Killer One-Sentence Pitch?
I saw this coming
- Identify — It all starts by identifying the lead feature of your product/idea. Opt for the one people resonate with and would pay to have. Not every lead feature is worth your money yet it still is a core characteristic. For example, if Mark had focused on being able to chat with people, that wouldn’t have worked as efficiently. Why? Because people could already do that at the time, there was email and Skype among other things. So, choose the feature you’ll be focusing on wisely.
- Choose — Once you’ve chosen it, move on to picking your core audience. It is crucially important for the next stage of crafting the pitch itself. Make a profile of your ideal user/customer, their buying behavior, demographics, learn the vocabulary they use if you have to.
- Write — It’s content creation time. Brainstorm ideas, try out different styles of expression and don’t be afraid to go unconventional. We live in a century of unconventionals, so write all of it down. Then… just pick one.
If you really struggle to come up with a pitch, I am sorry to say this…
No offense, but if you can’t describe your product/idea in one sentence, then you don’t really understand it well enough.
What’s My One-Sentence Pitch for 411Writers, You Might Ask?
When I am telling friends and colleagues in the industry about my work, I always say the same thing — It is
The brainpower of content gurus combined to earn you business.
And if you take a look at our website, you will see, above all that explanatory text, that we have a one-sentence pitch on most of our pages. They are short, true, and you might mistake them for titles, but they are so much more than that. True, they are all about SEO content creation, but quality, attention-grabbing content nonetheless.
My advice? Don’t sweat it, one-sentence pitch it!