As I mentioned in my previous entry, I ground my current plans regarding “The Big Idea” to a screeching halt and threw myself in a new direction. It’s okay to make mistakes. In fact, they can work in your favor – cause you to stop, to breathe, to reassess. And it’s definitely more than okay to acknowledge, “This is NOT the right path for me”, even mid-motion.
So I went back to square one – the square one I should have started with. I looked at past shows online to better understand the format Donny uses, and the type of guests he hosts. I needed to understand my customers, which were the producers of the show. What qualities did a guest need to secure a spot on the program? What was the best way to sell myself? In this same vein, anyone attempting to sell their idea, their product, needs to first ask themselves these questions.
After watching the show more closely online and on television, I realized there was a pattern. I took notes on the type of questions Donny was asking and the information he was extracting from the guests. There was practically a direct formula! I also took the advice my father once offered me – learn from someone who has already cut your path. I approached the creator of PenAgain, Colin Roche, whose innovation had been featured on the show. Colin supplied me with insider information, like the producer’s telephone number, which differed from the one supplied on the website. Particularly surprising? No. Unbelievably useful and easy? Yes! Armed with my new information, I was better able to position myself and create a pitch letter.
What do I know about a pitch letter? Absolutely nothing. But I do know how to use google.
Sure enough, my “pitch letter” search turned up tons of information. How to pitch to television, radio, news – anywhere! People had even written directions on how to get on specific television shows, such as Oprah. My mind spun. All that information is out there; you’ve just got to find it. Educating yourself is as simple as a few typed words.
I spent the afternoon reading about pitch letters, trying to answer such questions as, “How long should it be?” and “How important is the headline?” I had armed myself with information, taken the time to study the market and understand my customer’s needs – I was ready to draft a better letter.
I wrote it quickly and shot it off, keeping it short. The headline even answered some of the questions scrolling at the bottom of the television screen during the show. I gave Donny everything he could possibly want. Click here to see the letter that I sent.
And then I played the wait game. I didn’t hear from the producers for about a week. It is SO hard to wait. Even though I’ve been doing it for years, I hate it. Who doesn’t? You send something off and you want to call them, ask them how it was received. You want immediate gratification. You want a response! I didn’t get one. And unfortunately, it’s important to be patient, to be professional.