Oh yes, it’s that time of year where thousands of contestants try out to be the next American Idol. There are some great singers, some really awful ones, and then there are those that are a little ‘pitchy.’
I’ve been getting a lot more pitches lately that are starting to remind me of Idol contestants. They aren’t necessarily terrible but they aren’t that great either.
Do you want to wow the judges (the media) with your next pitch audition and get that golden ticket to Hollywood? Think of me as a sort of Marie Seacrest but taller; grab a Coke glass and sit back as we break it down for you.
The “Tease”: You’ve seen the judges when a hottie walks in with a ton of star potential and then the person starts to sing. The judges give each other that look that says “Man, we wish this singer was a little bit better than he/she actually is.” The pitch can work the same way. For example, I was sent a pretty interesting pitch and the publicist offered to send me a press release if I was interested. So now I have to respond to say that I am interested, wait for the publicist to send me the release (which in my experience takes a day or two) to see if it’s even something I want to cover. Why not just include the release at the bottom of the e-mail or send me a link to a press release online? Don’t tease the media; give them the tools they need to make a decision.
The “Over-the-top”: Like some contestants that don’t understand that there can be too much of a good thing, there are some pitches that suffer the same demise. This can be the type of pitch that when you look at it you start to get dizzy because there is just too much information. Part of you knows that there is definitely a good story in there somewhere but it’s been buried under useless facts and pontifications. Don’t confuse the media with TMI, get to the point, capture their interest then supply them with all the factoids when it’s time.
The “Uh, I forgot the lyrics”: Usually the kiss of death on Idol is when a singer forgets the words to the song. If you are going to pitch someone, call them the right name and use correct spelling – at least! Recently, I received a pitch that said “Dear Mom.” Now as far as I know my 7-month old has not yet mastered the art of typing. This is by no means is unusual because I hear about bloggers complaining about this all of the time. Look, I don’t care if you e-mail blast me; I have more important things to get all riled up about. Granted, I’ll pay more attention to a very personalized pitch but that’s beside the point. Do not use generic intros like “Dear Sir/Madam” (yes, I got this one too), use real names. If you don’t have the real name, find it or e-mail the writer first and introduce yourself. Please, please, please, I also beg you, spell correctly.
The “Not quite ready for this competition”: Yes, these are the singers that show a great amount of potential but they aren’t quite there yet. They need more practice, more showmanship, etc. Pitches can work the same way. Practice, practice, practice. Read the pitch out loud to see if it flows, makes sense, or needs some tweaking. If your gut is telling you the story isn’t quite strong enough; try doing more research. Latch on to a trend, dig deeper, make it better. That way when you are up to bat again; you have a stronger shot at making it through.
The “Wait, can I try a different song?”: There are times when a singer should just not quit his day job. You know the one that keeps belting out different songs hoping the judges will change their minds, and instead gets escorted off by bodyguards? Publicists can fall victim to this as well. If you get a firm “no,” avoid harassing the reporter. Wait until you have something new or a different angle, and then feel free to go back to the person.
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