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'Forbes' Writer Pauleanna Reid Drops Major Gems On How To Elevate Your Media Pitch

Stay ready so you don't have to get ready.

Business

Media has the power to create conversations, establish trends, and sway consumer opinions and you need in ASAP. The problem is, every time you reach out to a media publication for coverage, you're met with unanswered emails and cold shoulders. While you may feel like this lack of communication is a reflection of your product, it's actually a reflection of your packaging.

If you're an entrepreneur who feels like pitching is a pain in the ass, the truth is you're just not doing it right, sis. Luckily, Forbes Senior Contributor Pauleanna Reid slid through this year's ElevateHER Crawl and dropped gems that had our tribe dripping in entrepreneurial expertise. According to this Canadian-girl boss, although she gets several brand pitches on a regular basis, the majority are wrong AF.

"On a weekly basis, I receive at least a minimum of 50 pitches. 47 of those pitches are incorrectly done. Your goal is to not get your email deleted. So I'm going to tell you how to run your race."

Forbes Writer Pauleanna Reid's Expert Tips On How To Pitch To Media youtu.be

Read on to learn how to effectively R.A.C.E. when you pitch yourself to media brands and increase your chances of getting your story heard:

R is for Readiness

Photo by Carol Lee Rose for xoNecole

Stay ready so you don't have to get ready. The opportunity of a lifetime could show up on your doorstep at any time, and Pauleanna says that this is a major key that entrepreneurs often overlook when pitching their stories:

"You want to make sure that you have creative collateral ready at all times. Press kit, media kit, you'd be surprised how many people do not even have a headshot. I can't write my article without creative collateral."

The writer also noted the importance of having a clear vision. Your brand story is the backbone of your business and Pauleanna says it's important that we tell it right:

"Make sure that you can articulate your story. How are you contributing to a conversation on a community level, on an industry level and the world at large?"

A is for Audience  

I hate to break this to you girl, but you can't sell to everyone. While you may want to believe that your consumer is every consumer, that's just not facts.

Everything ain't for everybody and this is also true when it comes to your business.

"Your company addresses a need for a specific type of person. You need to figure out where this person lives. Not geographically, [but] what publications are they reading?"

The writer/entrepreneur shared that it's important to target your audience so that you can pitch to the appropriate publications.

"At 'Forbes', we have a millennial audience that's very entrepreneurial. They value solutions. So you're not going to pitch me an inspirational story, I need action steps. I need to know what problem you are solving. The worst thing you can do is pitch me and your first line is 'I want to share my story in 'Forbes'.' No, you don't. You're not ready."

C is for Contact

It's not about what you know, it's about who you know and Pauleanna gave us some valuable tools to make sure you're in touch with the right people:

"You need a contact to get a contract. So how are you going to find these contacts? You're going to your Twitter advanced search, and you're gonna look for the words 'editor', 'deputy editor', 'writer', [and] 'journalist'."

Sites like Hunter.io and HARO can give you the Rolodex of your dreams and even potentially double your income.

E is For Execution

Photo by Carol Lee Rose for xoNecole

Let's be clear. Pauleanna and every other editor in the world is tired of you sending those long-ass emails once a week. Less is more, and this especially applies when it comes to pitching your brand to a journalist. Contrary to popular belief, we don't need your life story, sis. Condense your brand's narrative into no more than 600 words the next time you send an email. Pauleanna explained:

"Organize your emails. People are not putting paragraphs. People are sending me pitches that are 1000 words. Edit your email, and I guarantee you can get your pitch in less than 500-600 words."

Pauleanna made it abundantly clear that editors are not one of your little friends. Make sure to come correct:

"Another thing is, I am not your sweetie. I am not your love. I'm not your honey. My name is not Paula... Spell my name right and give me that respect. I guarantee you will not be able to enter another inbox if you misspell the editor's name."

The author also offered some yasss-worthy software to help us keep up with our emails after they're sent:

"You can use YesWare, you can use Toot. You can use MailTracker. Girl, I'm giving you all the gems. Track your email because it will help with your follow up."

Watch the full video of Pauleanna's inspired rendention of a TedTalk by clicking here.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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