Words by Reese Hopper
If you’re a freelancer, a service-based entrepreneur, or a creator, pitching is how you get work. What separates you from a hobbyist is your ability to pitch and win projects. I’ve written and designed over 50 winning pitch decks for clients like DJI, The Chainsmokers, Adidas, and Red Bull. Here are a few of my best practices for writing solid pitch decks.
Be Clear (before being cool)
When writing copy for pitch decks, it’s really tempting to get wordy. Writing fluffy, exciting, creative copy about your business and your offerings makes you sound really cool. But if your pitch isn’t clear, you won’t win.
The backbone of pitch deck copywriting is clarity. You need to effectively communicate exactly what your clients will be spending money on. A lack of clarity, mixed with copy that’s too creative leads people think they’re being hustled. That’s not what you want. It’s almost better to send an itemized invoice with costs of each line item than a pitch deck that’s too wordy with no clarity.
As a general rule, start every paragraph with a short sentence describing exactly what the page is about. “We’re proposing consistent social media management.” “I’m offering a content package with 10 video deliverables per month.” Boom. It’s not sexy, but people will know exactly what you’re offering.
A mistake people often make is describing what they’re selling before telling people what they’re selling. Starting a paragraph with something like, “Great video content captures the hearts of customers and grows a great brand” before you tell them what kinds of videos you’ll make them is a mistake. Tell them exactly what you’re offering, then describe it in the sentences that follow.
Be Cool (effectively)
In most pitch decks, there are times when you need to be a bit creative. Inviting potential clients into a storyline about them and their success is crucial in gaining buy-in from people within organizations. I love to follow Donald Miller’s Storybrand framework for this. As quickly and as compact as you can, write 7 sentences about the following 7 ideas:
A character (that’s your client).
Has a problem (what your work solves).
Meets a guide (that’s you).
Who gives them a plan (simple description of your offering).
Calls them to action (encourage them to buy).
Helps them avoid failure (describe the worst case if they don’t choose you).
Helps them achieve success (describe the best case if they work with you).
Here’s an example of the framework:
Rick’s plumbing fixes household problems fast. But with more and more customers finding home services online, Rick’s plumbing isn’t getting as many calls as they used to! I’m here to solve that with web design and SEO. A clean website that shows up on google search will get people calling again. There’s no time to lose. Every time Rick’s plumbing doesn’t show up on google, people are calling Sarah’s plumbing. Let’s get Rick’s Plumbing on google search so he can serve customers well, make more money, and enjoy the weekends!
There are more theoretical applications within the StoryBrand framework, but this a rugged storyline you can write to capture the attention of potential clients. If you’re looking for more on this, check out my review of the book, and check out StoryBrand here.
Good luck out there!