How to Write an Elevator Pitch

Elevator speech. Elevator statement. Elevator pitch.

Why are we on an elevator all the time? The phrase came from the idea you need to figure out a way to explain what you do, who you serve, and what makes you different in the time it would take to ride an elevator. It’s a short, compelling sales pitch. So, how do you write an elevator pitch?

how to write an elevator pitch

We know how our writing can help others but our potential clients don’t. If they understood the writing craft then they probably wouldn’t need a writer. It’s a classic conundrum. We can get so wrapped up in our writing world we forget that those not in our world don’t understand what we do or why it matters. It’s our job to educate them. This is where the elevator pitch comes in.

I know, how can you explain all the facets of your writing business in a way that both makes sense and persuades someone to hire you? How can you craft a pitch that not only positions you as an expert but convinces the listener you’re the right person to deliver the solution he or she wants? (Yes, this is the hard part.)

Telling people “I’m a writer,” is great but it’s vague. What do you write? How do you make money? Who reads what you write? See what I mean? Think about what you do and then think about explaining it to someone who has no clue about your industry—maybe your grandmother or someone in an unrelated field. How would you describe the service you provide?

Break it down

Before we write the pitch let’s answer these questions:

  • Who do you help (in an ideal world)
  • What problem are you solving
  • What is your solution?

Who do you help?

When I first went through this process I realized I couldn’t be a generalist and “help everyone with their writing stuff.” I needed to zero in on an audience/group. It took some soul searching, but I recognized I had a passion for helping new/emerging writers learn how to make money from their writing and helping established writers market themselves. Yeah, I know. Specific. Scary stuff, right?

Except it’s not scary. It doesn’t mean I can’t help non-writers with writing (I do it all the time), it just means I have an ideal client who I focus on the most.

In the end I found the easiest way to write an elevator pitch was by filling in the blank. Here are two formulas I found helpful.

How to write an elevator pitch example ONE

The biggest problem my audience has is _________________ and I can solve this problem by (showing them, giving them, etc.) ___________________, which will allow them to ________________ and that really speaks to their desire to ________________.

I found this over on Zach Spuckler’s site in a freebie called Your First Course Playbook. I have no idea if it’s still kicking around but I thought it was a good exercise.

How to write an elevator pitch example TWO

I help _________________ (target population) with/gain/develop _________________ (problem) by delivering _________________ (your solution).

This is from a six-week coaching program I did last summer called Simplify Your Social Media and Spark Your Sales. It isn’t being offered anymore but if it ever is again I will let you know. I LOVED every second of it and ran through it a few times after the initial course. I like how simple this sentence is and I found I could narrow my gaze enough to commit to an elevator pitch.

Elevator speech. Elevator statement. Elevator pitch. Why are we on an elevator all the time? The phrase came from the idea you need to figure out a way to explain what you do, who you serve, and what makes you different in the time it would take to ride an elevator. It's a short, compelling sales pitch. So, how do you write an elevator pitch?

OK, so that’s how you write an elevator pitch. Want to take things to the next level? Here are five tips for optimizing your social media profiles. Better yet, you can have it as a free PDF download. Just fill in the form below!

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Extraordinary Movie DVD Giveaway

Here’s what to expect in the Extraordinary movie: The seemingly endless road beckons. Well beyond exhausted, his body trudges onward—quitting is never an option. Aiming toward the finish line of another transcontinental race, he senses his prize this time is much greater than any medal or honour. Every step leads him closer to home.

Extraordinary Movie DVD Giveaway

I know this looks like a movie about a guy running across the United States. And it is. But it’s also about that guy’s wife. What happens to the family when an ultra-marathoner goes on a months-long race? How do they cope? What happens to their normal? It’s an interesting question.

Although I haven’t seen a running movie before, this was not what I expected. There was a lot of heart. There was the core relationship story between a husband and a wife but there were others at play too—between father and child, teacher and student, runner and runner, and man and God.

Throughout the film I often wondered where the title Extraordinary came from. My first guess was the run itself, but—and I won’t spoil it for you—it’s so much more than just a race. Where Extraordinary comes from, is worth the watch.

Extraordinary releases on DVD and digital January 16, 2018 from Universal Entertainment.

Enter to win your own copy of Extraordinary Movie on DVD and digital

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We’re going to make this fun and easy.

You can subscribe to my mailing list, leave a blog comment (on this post), and Tweet about it. All of those get you five entries and you can do them all or just one. The giveaway is open from today (January 9, 2018) until release day, January 16, 2018.

So why not enter? What have you got to lose?

Extraordinary Movie Synopsis

Based on the real-life events of acclaimed ultra-marathoner David Horton and his wife Nancy, Extraordinary is coming to DVD, Digital and On Demand on January 16, 2018, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. An impactful and perfect story for the entire family, the inspirational film stars Shari Rigby (October Baby), Leland Klassen (Altar Egos), Karen Abercrombie (War Room) and Kirk Cameron (Fireproof) and follows Horton as his dream of tackling a nearly 3,000-mile run takes its toll on his body, and brings his marriage to the breaking point.

Based on a true marriage journey, Extraordinary tells the amazing story of ultra-marathon runner and college professor David Horton, his wife, Nancy, and their attempt to finish their marriage race well. Although proud of his incredible athletic accomplishments and the impact he has on his students, David’s family continuously pays a high price for his years of competitive running. Following his open-heart surgery and irreparable damage to his knees, Nancy is ready for Dave to hang up his racing shoes for good and focus his boundless energy on their family. Instead, feeling called by God to “inspire people one last time,” Dave sets off for a 2,900-mile race across America.

Extraordinary Movie DVD and digital bonus features

  • The David Horton Story
  • The Extraordinary Woman Featurette
  • Filmmakers of Extraordinary
  • Keys to an Extraordinary Marriage

Based on a true marriage journey, Extraordinary tells the amazing story of ultra-marathon runner and college professor David Horton, his wife, Nancy, and their attempt to finish their marriage race well. Although proud of his incredible athletic accomplishments and the impact he has on his students, David’s family continuously pays a high price for his years of competitive running. Following his open-heart surgery and irreparable damage to his knees, Nancy is ready for Dave to hang up his racing shoes for good and focus his boundless energy on their family. Instead, feeling called by God to “inspire people one last time,” Dave sets off for a 2,900-mile race across America.
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Robyn Roste | Blogging Year in Review

This last year I approached blogging in a new way, even though this blog is not new. So I wanted to do a little blogging year in review in order to capture my progress as well as set public goals for 2018.

Robyn Roste | blogging year in review

My blogging journey (if you’ll indulge me) has gone from online journal to travelogue to lifestyle blog to what it is now…somewhat less random and hopefully helpful insights into content marketing for freelance writers. Or, at least, that’s the direction I’m trying to point everything.

Hence the new approach.

While I am strolling down memory lane for a moment I don’t want this to be too self-serving. I want to do a quick overview of what I did and why, how it worked, and what I will do moving into 2018.

Robyn Roste Blogging Year in Review

Before the official review I’ll give you some context. For 10 weeks in the summer of 2016 I took a blogging course from Fizzle called Start a Blog that Matters. Now, we already know my blog isn’t new. But I was stuck. I’ve been on a meandering journey for many years and have never known where my blog was going (if anywhere). Was it for fun? Did it have a career purpose? What did I want it to be? I needed a fresh start. So I took this course and dreamed of creating something that matters. From the dreaming, brainstorming, and research I came out with a couple directions I could go: keep the blog casual and let it peter out like so many other lifestyle blogs I see getting retired (a fine decision btw, no judgment) or plot out a course and give my blog a vision and purpose.

The decision

It wasn’t an easy decision to be honest. First, because it’s hard to put yourself out there. You worry about so many things like what if you have nothing to say, what if people don’t like you, what if people don’t even notice you, what if it doesn’t work out and you just waste your time, etc. Second, because it’s hard work. And I’m pretty busy. I have my regular day job, I have my freelance writing and marketing clients, and I have all my other activities and hobbies plus boring things like housework and trying to have a social life. So I had to decide if this was important enough to me to put time and effort into even if it didn’t go anywhere.

I pondered this for a while. A few months. And then in January 2017, I went for it. I built a content calendar, a publishing schedule, set goals, and committed to give it a shot.

Blogging Year in Review: Goal 1—Post once per week

Through the blogging course I learned the importance of setting goals within your control. Publishing a blog once per week is something I can control so it’s a good goal. Increasing my traffic by 1,000 per cent is not something I can control so it is not a good goal.

How did it go?

Before I had a plan and a system I thought this would be difficult but it turns out when you have everything plotted out ahead of time, most of the guesswork disappears and you just sit down and write. My goal was to publish once per week and I did that, every Tuesday from January 10 till today, December 26. I also published extra posts here and there when inspired, I think it was to prove to myself I could do it.

Here’s the breakdown

  • 40 posts on content marketing, blogging, and freelance writing
  • 32 posts on book, movie, or product reviews
  • 6 sponsored posts or brand collaborations

The final analysis

Although I focused my content plan on marketing and freelance writing, I allowed for other types of posts as well. I think part of me was nervous about running out of things to say and part of me still can’t let go of the lifestyle blogger in me. But when I see 40 posts on theme, I’m pretty happy.

Blogging Year in Review: Goal 2—Set a regular writing time and stick to it

I’m not a routine person but I’ve learned the importance of routines if you want to do good work on deadline. Talent isn’t enough and inspiration doesn’t strike on command. So unless you don’t need money you have to figure out how to set aside creative idealism and just do the work. I knew there was no way I could achieve my weekly blogging goal unless I got blog writing into my schedule. Otherwise I would melt in stress and make life miserable for everyone around me. I know this because this has happened before, which is why I stepped back from blogging once my freelance career picked up. So how to add it back in…after much pondering I realized I had to get up earlier. So I did. I can’t say it was easy but I can say I decided to do it, did it, and stuck with it. I prioritized morning writing time and it got done. Simple as that.

Blogging Year in Review: Goal 3—Grow email list to 1,000 subscribers

I’m putting this here even though I’ve already explained a goal like this is not a good goal because it’s not in my control. It was something I thought I had to do after going through Jeff Goins’ The Writer’s Roadmap: 12 Steps to Making a Living Writing and I spent a lot of time stressing over it when it wasn’t happening. So I’ll admit it here because I’m thinking some of you also have this type of goal in your mind and are disappointed when you don’t hit your numbers. I can relate.

Here’s how I’m re-framing this goal for 2018

  1. Produce high quality content that will help my target readers
  2. Offer valuable opt-ins to encourage my target readers to sign up for my email list
  3. Write high-quality emails to my readers to make it worth being on my email list
  4. Get my content in front of my target readers as often as possible
  5. Listen to feedback and tweak as necessary

What this looks like is still wanting 1,000 people on my email list, but doing more to earn those email addresses rather than just hoping and wishing they’ll find me and sign up for my list. It means working a bit harder on creating the right offers, making more connections with people who already speak to my ideal readers, and putting myself out there even more. Gah.

Blogging Year in Review: Goal 4—Get an agent

This is by far the scariest goal to admit. Because saying you want to get an agent and then that you have these bigger goals of writing books and, you know, publishing them, when it’s not a sure thing or even an achievable thing means you might not reach your goals. And then everyone will know you failed.

But here I am, telling you the truth. This is what I’m reaching for and what all my work is moving towards. I have my idea, I have my direction, and I’m going to give it my best shot. And if I don’t make it? Well, I guess we’ll see how I feel. Maybe I’ll keep trying, maybe I’ll regroup and make a new plan…it’s difficult to say without knowing where I’ll be at.

How did it go?

I gave myself a goal of coming up with three book ideas by October 2017. This was a strategic date because I also purchased a weekend pass to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference (which was way outside my price comfort zone so I knew it would push me to make the most out of the weekend) and had the chance to pitch my book idea to an agent. And you know what, I did it. I came up with ideas, put together my pitch, and pitched. And I didn’t just pitch to one agent, I pitched to three. And it was hard and scary and amazing. I got a hard no, I got a not right now, and I got a request for a book proposal. So there you go. You can see where my 2018 goal is going, right? Finish that book proposal and get it IN!


Blogging Year in Review—Top 5 Posts of 2017

In case you missed it, in case you’re interested, in case you want to know what other people paid attention to this year

  1. Why I Got Up At 4:30 a.m. for 21 Damn Early Days
  2. I love that this is my top post from 2017 because it was what made all of this work. It was my biggest challenge, my biggest success, and thing thing I’m still most proud of from this year. I prioritized my writing by getting up at a ridiculous hour and have seen the fruit of my efforts. I’m filled to the brim with gratitude for this experience and hope others can have this experience as well.

  3. Exquisitely Imperfect: Choosing Life Unfiltered [new book]
  4. Second on the list is a book I contributed to, which was published in February 2017. I wrote about the publishing experience and hope it gives people some perspective on just how little control you have over the process when it’s not your book but also how exciting and fulfilling it is to see your hard work in print. Such a rush.

  5. Best Gifts for Writers | Gift Guide
  6. I put this together in October to try something I’ve heard a lot of Mom Bloggers do—gift guides. I asked a few writers in my circle what they would like for Christmas and built a list of 32 pretty cool writer-related gift ideas. I thought they were good hints but I will say I didn’t receive a single item on the list from my family for Christmas. So perhaps it hasn’t permeated quite that far yet.

  7. How a Marketing Tweak Re-launched JenniMarie’s Business
  8. This is a case study I wrote after working with photographer JenniMarie on a launch strategy for her last-ditch effort to get her wedding photography business up and running before giving up on the business once and for all. It’s an incredible story and one I think you should read if you doubt the importance (or power) of marketing. You just need the right strategy.

  9. Water Bottle Trends
  10. I LOVE that this is in my top five because I treated it like a throwaway post. It’s a review of a trendy water bottle my husband bought me, which I put on the blog because I found it interesting on a personal level. What I didn’t know was other people would think so too. It went viral on Facebook and I’ve heard from MORE than a few friends that they’ve purchased a similar bottle because of that post. It wasn’t sponsored or connected to an affiliate commission at all so this was all for free. And I’m happy about that, I was trying to connect and am pleased it did just that.

This last year I approached blogging in a new way, even though this blog is not new. So I wanted to do a little blogging year in review in order to capture my progress as well as set public goals for 2018.

So there we go. I hope this blogging year in review demonstrates what a little planning and goal-setting does for your blog. Maybe you’re one step closer to reworking your blog? Or getting it up and running again? Are you up for the challenge?

What is a Flat Lay and How to Style One

What is a flat lay? I hear this all the time and up until a few months ago it was me asking the Internet. Here’s the quick answer: it’s a photograph shot from above, flat.

What is a flat lay and how to style one for Instagram

Although this term is kind of sort of new (the earliest reference I can find is 2015) the style is not. It just went by different names.

Other names for flat lay

  • Flatlay (OK, that’s just a different spelling)
  • Collage
  • Bird’s-eye view
  • Top shot
  • God’s-eye view
  • Knolling (from the 80s, and the original flat lay)

If you’re styling your photo using a light background, natural light, and shooting it from above…then you already know what a flay lay photo is. You just didn’t have the vocabulary.

So. That was easy. Now what?

What is a flat lay? It's when you take a photo from above, parallel to the styled objects you're shooting. It's a great way to do #bookstagrams and showcase your products in an interesting and engaging light. Try different props, backgrounds, and textures to tell a story and involve your audience.

Now you have to figure out what you’re going to take photos of. When figuring out what you want to showcase you also need to think about why. Why are you showing this to your audience? What makes it special? Why do you want them to see it? Whatever product or prop you land on, this becomes your “hero” or the focus of your composition.

But let’s break the flat lay down a bit using a personal example

I love taking flay lay photos of books and movies because it makes them so much more interesting. The book or movie is the hero—none of the props should take attention away from the hero!—and everything else adds to the story.

If you look at the above examples, you can see I’ve achieved the storytelling angle better in some than others using props, background, and composition. The more flat lays you do, the better you get at them (trust me). I shot these over a period of months using different techniques, camera angles, and lighting.

What is a flat lay? The simple answer is a photo taken from above. It used to be called knolling or bird's-eye view (borrowing from magazines and movies). Now it's used on Instagram and blgos to showcase products in an organized, clean, and engaging way. Showing knitting as a flat lay is a popular way to make your products stand out from the rest.

I also wanted to include my knitting flat lays so you can see a more minimalist approach. I shot these all on the same day using similar props and the same background. I did this because I wanted a consistent look on my Instagram feed while showcasing my hand knit products.

Here are a few tips for styling and shooting flat lays

Use a light background. In most cases, a piece of cardboard or a sheet will work great. A flat surface is ideal.

Try and style your flat lay. This can be difficult if you’re not artistic or confident with what looks good. Here are a few questions to ask as you style: Is my hero product the focus? Do I like this composition? What will make this more interesting? What will my audience like? Take a few shots and then re-style your flat lay and take a few more shots. The more you tweak the better you’ll get at it.

If possible, use natural lighting. After MUCH trial and error I found a window in my house that lets in a consistent amount of natural light from day to day. I created a nice little setup with a card table by the window so I can take advantage of the great light.

Try to be parallel to your flat lay when shooting. This is where things get interesting. You’ll need to be above the shot in order to get it right. Try a stool, chair, step ladder, or whatever you need to get in the correct position. I use a combination of a chair and a tripod but I’m always trying to get my shots more parallel.

Remember to take lots of photos and to move your flat lay composition around a bit so when you get to the photo editing you have a few options. This may take a while at first but you will get better, I promise! If I can figure it out…then you’ll be just fine.

What is a flat lay? It is when you take a photo from above, parallel to the styled objects you are shooting. It is a great way to showcase your products in an interesting and engaging light. Try different props, backgrounds, and textures to tell a story and involve your audience.


More social media tricks and tips

Check out these posts on the blogging prompt “light”

Broken Mile [movie review]

Do you love being stressed-out by movies where you follow people around without any clue what’s going on and just hope there’s just a giant misunderstanding that will resolve itself in about 90 minutes? If so Broken Mile may be your jam.

broken mile movie review

Quick synopsis of Broken Mile: “A drug addict awakens to find the girl he is with is dead, and must rush to escape the consequences. A real-time thriller presented in a single, unbroken take.” There isn’t much more to say about the plot because it doesn’t go deeper. Through Broken Mile we follow drug addict Shaun as he runs from his best friend Kenny, who has a gun. Scary? Scary.

I think what makes this movie interesting is the shooting style—all in one take. I enjoyed following the characters around and switching from one to the other as they’d meet up and separate while roaming downtown Toronto in the rain. Things like story arc and dialogue aren’t strong (and the critics ripped the movie apart for this so I’ll leave it at that) but I did enjoy the movie overall. I didn’t know what was going to happen and did become emotionally invested in the story, even if I disagreed with every decision Shaun made and thought his actions made no sense. Except, well, he was on drugs so…OK then. Whatever.

Shooting a movie all in one take would be difficult and I appreciate the ambition of writer/director/producer/director of photography Justin McConnell. This could be a cool first step into the world of gritty action thrillers and I think if it was served to me as a mini series on YouTube I would not be able to get enough. As it stands my heart raced throughout the film and I’m glad I watched till the end because I got some closure. Or at least I know what everyone was so upset about.


Broken Mile synopsis

Broken Mile, told in pulse pounding real-time and presented as a single unbroken take, follows a drug-addict (Francesco Filice) who awakens to find the woman he is with dead, and must rush to escape the consequences. Along the way he enlists the help of his strong-willed ex-girlfriend (Caleigh Le Grand), and avoids confrontation with the gun-toting figure chasing him (Patrick McFadden). The film was produced by McConnell’s company Unstable Ground, in association with Pasha Patriki’s 9 Light Entertainment, and executive producer Andrew van den Houten’s (“Jug Face,” “The Ranger”) 79th & Broadway Entertainment.

Broken Mile began its North American theatrical run July 28th and VOD/Digital/DVD and Blu-Ray release on August 15th, 2017.

Quick synopsis of Broken Mile: A drug addict awakens to find the girl he is with is dead, and must rush to escape the consequences. A real-time thriller presented in a single, unbroken take. There isn't much more to say about the plot because it doesn't go deeper. Through Broken Mile we follow drug addict Shaun as he runs from his best friend Kenny, who has a gun. Scary? Scary.

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