“If you create a great site, people will find you anyway, you don’t need promotion, SEO or anything similar!”. In my 5-6 years of doing online promotion, SEO, online PR and similar, I’ve heard something along these lines from a lot of people. And I thought it was completely wrong.
Last week I wrote a post about pitching (actually, it is about a book about pitching, but nevertheless). I mention that I think you should be, or better, you ARE always pitching. I’ve got some people telling me, though, that they don’t need to pitch if the product is great. And this, I think, is a mistake.
The are two situations I encountered related to this: the startup crowd understanding of “pitching” and the English as a second language understanding of “pitching”.
First, the startup crowd. Because of the buzz with VC backed businesses in the last 10 years or so, especially in the last 5, since lots of accelerators, incubators and whatnot where created, people think of pitching as just the pitches you do for investors (the pitches you do in order to get financed). The thing is, though, that in the last 2 years, I’ve hardly talked to more than 60 investors. But in the years before MavenHut, I think I’ve talked to more than 300-400 people, one on one, to get support, to get involvement, to get financing of other projects. Not to mention the events I’ve been speaking to, where I would be pitching my projects in front of bigger audiences.
Moreover, while I was managing the blogger’s forum in Romania (no longer active), I think I’ve talked, in 2-3 years, to about 1000, if not more, people, to convince them to use the forum.
The conclusion is that yes, you are always pitching. Just not to investors. You are always pitching to the stakeholders in your project. And no matter how brilliant your idea, your implementation, if nobody hears about your work, nobody will use what you are creating.
The second misunderstanding of “pitching” comes from people using English as a second language. Pitching means, to them, just investors. Or, in case of Media Agencies, calls to pitching mean meeting the potential clients in a competition-like environment. It’s the same mistake as to the startup crowd, but for different reasons. Well, it’s true, when the two of them combine, though, and you get a startup crowd that’s using English as a second language… well, things get really confusing :))
So, start pitching today. Pitch to your family, your friends, your users. You will be better for it. And, yes, always be pitching!
P.S.: in the photo at the top, you can see Mike Butcher, from TechCrunch UK. And if you would want to be featured in TechCrunch, you would need to pitch him, in some way. He actually has a great presentation on how to pitch the press here.