#31WBGB: Write an Elevator Pitch for Your Blog

by Tonia Kendrick on July 3, 2011 in And More

Welcome to Week 1 of 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog! If you are just joining us, you can read the kick-off post here.

This week’s topic and action item is to write an elevator pitch for your blog.

What’s an Elevator Pitch?

What’s an elevator pitch, you ask? It’s a brief overview that can be delivered in the space of an elevator ride (hence, the name). “The idea is that you have a short and sharp piece that you can say about yourself when the opportunity arises, instead of bumbling your way through explaining what your business does (and miss an opportunity).” 1

The goal here is to tell people what you do and interest them in hearing more. I’ve done this task with my staff in my real-life job in the past. The hardest part for them has been getting past the corporate-speak and making their pitches personal. I think the challenge for us will be similar in that we need to move past the generic “I write about genealogy” into what really makes each of our blogs unique.

What Can You Do With An Elevator Pitch?

  • Tag Line – a tag line, which is even shorter than an elevator pitch, can be a great way to hook new visitors to your blog. Writing the elevator pitch will help you create a compelling tag line.
  • “About” page – conversely, an “About” page can be a longer version of an elevator pitch.
  • Real-life Conversation – thinking back to Jamboree a few weeks ago, wouldn’t it have been great when meeting new people to say, “Hi! I’m Tonia Kendrick and I write Tonia’s Roots, which is about . . .” They might actually remember it. : )
  • Business Cards – you could put your elevator pitch and/or tag line on your card. This is just one more way to make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Signature Line – you already put your link in your email signature line, don’t you? Add the elevator pitch and it could motivate people to click on the link. You could do this with forums and message boards, too.

Tips for Writing an Elevator Pitch

  • Define your audience – who are you writing for? You may have more than one elevator pitch that you use for different audiences.
  • Keep it short – no more than 100-150 words. “Get to the point, eliminate unnecessary words and make it punchy!” 2
  • Be energetic – show people that you are passionate about what you are doing.
  • Know what you are trying to achieve – your goal is not tell everything about your blog, but to interest people in visiting – or staying – and reading.
  • What tips do you have? – tell us in the comments.

Action Item(s)

  • Spend some time this week developing an elevator pitch for your blog. If you already have one, take another look at it and refine it if necessary.
  • Come back here and leave your pitch in the comment section. If you write a post about this activity, leave a link.
  • If you are feeling particularly ambitious you might want to do more than one version. These could be for different audiences or they could be super-short (140 characters or less = tweetable!), regular length, and then an expanded version (in case someone says “tell me more”).

This Week’s Prize Family Reunion Organizer

I’m excited to give away a copy of Family Reunion Organizer for Windows.*  Click on the link to see more about this program, which looks like it would be great for reunion-planners.

Here’s how to win.  Leave your elevator pitch (or a link to your blog post about your elevator pitch) in the comments section by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, July 9, 2011.  I’ll choose a comment number at random and the person who left that comment wins the prize!  Contest is only open to US residents.

*Disclosure:  I received this copy of Family Reunion Organizer as a prize sponsored by RootsMagic at the 2011 Southern California Genealogical Jamboree.  I am not affiliated with RootsMagic and receive no remuneration from them.

 

  1. Darren Rowse, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, no publication date; PDF download, Problogger (http://www.problogger.net/31dbbb-workbook/: downloaded 18 Jun 2011), 5.
  2. Rowse, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, 7.
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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruth Stephens July 8, 2011 at 10:46 am

Hi Tonia!

This is a great idea! My blog tends to get neglected, so I’m excited about this whole project!
Here’s my post:

http://ruthsgenealogy.com/2011/07/08/31wbgb-write-an-elevator-pitch-for-your-blog/

Ruth Stephens

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Tonia Kendrick July 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Hi Ruth! Glad you joined in. Your pitch is great – makes me want to read more.

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Amy Coffin July 9, 2011 at 4:26 pm
Sue McCormick July 9, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I am a beginning genealogist who is trying to learn how to conduct and record my ancestral search in a responsible manner. I find this activity and the studies surrounding the search to be both the best fun ever and the most frustrating time ever.

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Tonia Kendrick July 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm

“. . .the best fun ever and the most frustrating time ever.” If that doesn’t sum up genealogy, I don’t know what does. Great job, Sue!

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Caroline Pointer July 9, 2011 at 6:53 pm

2 Blogs, 2 Pitches:

Family Stories:

Dead people like to talk. And I like to listen and write their stories down. Sometimes their stories are sad. Sometimes they’re happy. And sometimes they’re downright naughty [if I'm lucky].

So. Family Stories is where I write it all down. Their bad decisions. And their good decisions. The times they got it right. And the times they couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s where I tell you about them in hopes that they won’t be forgotten. Everything they’ve willingly told me. And what I’ve had to pull from them. They’re imperfect. Just like you. And just like me. But they’re mine, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So take a look around. Read a few stories. Laugh. Cry. Shake your head in disbelief. [*snort* I do it all the time.]

For these are my family’s stories.

For Your Family Story:

For Your Family Story blog is:

1. For those who are completely new to genealogy (newbies);
2. For those who’ve just started researching with no or very little instruction & could use some help; and
3. For those beginner to intermediate researchers who’ve hit a brick wall or two & could use some help.

The one consistent theme you’ll see here is that genealogy is not boring. It’s not stuffy. It’s fun. At least, I’m going to try and make it fun. It won’t be hard. I promise. Ancestors rarely disappoint with their antics, with their silly decisions, and with their poor choices. Most worked hard. Sometimes they were sad. But sometimes they were downright hilarious, at least in retrospect. But what they’re not is boring and stuffy. [Even though most of the time they look boring and stuffy in their photos.]

~C

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Michelle Goodrum July 9, 2011 at 7:55 pm

You will find my Elevator Pitch at:
http://turning-of-generations.blogspot.com/2011/07/elevator-pitch-31-weeks-to-better.html

Thanks for challenging us Tonia!

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Debra Newton-Carter July 9, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Hi Tonya:

I took your challenge and rewrote my About This Blog description as follows:

“Welcome!

“I invite you to join me on my search for the many and varied stories intertwined within the roots of the Newton-Carter Family Tree . . . from African slaves in pre-Colonial Virginia to land-holding Free Persons of Color in Eastern North Carolina . . . from Mayflower refugees seeking religious freedom to Orthodox Jews fleeing the pogroms of Czar Nicholas II . . . from English indentured servants to Welsh coal miners seeking opportunity . . . to a young Filipino seeking a better life in America. Our roots are far-reaching and run deep.

“Please contact me with comments or questions. I am always glad to connect with cousins and fellow researchers. Thanks for dropping by . . . hope you’ll stop back again very soon!”

I tried to humanize my description by drawing readers into the adventure of my ancestors’ life stories rather than a series of studies as the focal point.

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Tonia Kendrick July 9, 2011 at 9:04 pm

I love it, Debra. African slaves, Mayflower refugees, Orthodox Jews. . .who wouldn’t want to read more?

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Deb Ruth July 9, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Hi Tonia,

Thanks for this challenge! What a wonderful way to remind us how important genealogy research is and how to communicate this to others.

My contribution:

http://deb-adventuresingenealogy.blogspot.com/2011/07/saturday-night-genealogy-fun-your.html

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Lisa July 9, 2011 at 10:20 pm
Sandi Wiggins July 9, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Here’s my entire pitch:

I’ve gained much healing, inspiration, and knowledge, as I’ve reflected on my place in my family and upon my family’s place in history. I started with a desire to preserve photographs and 35mm slides before they were lost to time and the elements. Then I dug up the “ancient landmarks” set by my maternal grandmother, as I reconnected with the genealogical research she had done throughout her life. Since then, I’ve learned history I’d never heard before, as each discovery of an ancestor’s life makes me want to understand the social and cultural forces that were affecting them. From the Mayflower to the Pequot War and from Rhode Island to Kentucky, from Ellis Island to Chicago, I am just starting to find the meaning that generations before me have given into my care. With this blog, I hope to bring their past into my present, and on to the future generations that come after me.

I think it’s a bit stiff. What do you guys think?

~Sandi

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Tonia Kendrick July 10, 2011 at 8:11 am

Sandi, I agree, the beginning is a little stiff. But I really like everything from “Since then, I’ve learned history. . .” to the end. I also like the second sentence a lot. You’ve got some good stuff here.

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Greta Koehl July 9, 2011 at 11:15 pm
Liz Tapley-Matthews July 9, 2011 at 11:35 pm
Shelley Bishop July 10, 2011 at 1:33 am

Tonia, this was harder than I thought it would be at first! But it was fun and very worthwhile. You can find my elevator pitch at How does it sound to you?

http://www.asenseoffamily.com/2011/07/elevator-pitch-31-weeks-to-better-blog.html

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TriciaS July 10, 2011 at 9:15 am

I know I missed the deadline for the prize, but that’s ok. I still wanted to post my link.

http://mygenealogyobsession.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/31-weeks-to-a-better-blog-challenge-week-1/

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Geneapoppop (Bart Brenner) July 10, 2011 at 6:47 pm

I’m a little late, but finally I’m on-board. The link to my post regarding my elevator pitch: http://geneapoppop.blogspot.com/2011/07/31-weeks-to-build-better-blog.html. I’m not sure that it’s compelling, but I can certainly work on it as we go through this 31 week challenge.

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Linda Gartz July 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Well, this is what I put in the header of my blog to grab readers’ interest. I will have to change it up soon, as the blog has been telling the story primarily of just one side of the family — my dad’s parents –because they saved EVERYTHING, leaving fantastic clues and insights into their lives 100 years ago. I’ll be rewriting in the next month or so, but here it is now, as it appears on every post at http://www.familyarchaeologist.com

“This blog is based on original letters, diaries, and documents that span the last 100 years. It starts with a century-old love note from Josef Gärtz, my grandfather, to Lisi (Elisabetha) Ebner, my grandmother, and follows their bold decision to strike out for America. Through their own words, you can be witness to one immigrant couple’s story–and in it see the story of America. To start at the beginning, please click HERE.” (that last HERE is a hot link on the blog to the first post.”

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Tonia Kendrick July 11, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Great example! It really expresses what makes your blog unique.

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Tonia Kendrick July 11, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Congratulations to Lisa from 1ancestry2littletime.com who was the randomly selected winner of the “Family Reunion Organizer” software giveaway! Thanks to everyone who entered.

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Dana July 15, 2011 at 1:47 am

First of all, thank you for this challenge! You helped inspire me to finally get off my duff and start that genealogy blog I’ve been meaning to.

Belated, but I wanted to try this, so here’s my own attempt at an elevator pitch – this was not easy!

“The most intoxicating mystery is our own history, a unique story centuries in the making. The more elusive the ancestor, the more enthralling my search, even though there’s no presidents in my past, no great artists or movie stars. Instead, there’s generations of hard-working, rough-around-the-edges, often-illiterate pioneers and farmers, tailors, soldiers, slave-holders, abolitionists, and merchants of any possible creed. Simple folk, many of whose forefathers arrived here before America was even conceived of. I never get to use naturalization records; my people never went through Ellis Island. In fact, they were probably running it. But that doesn’t make me any more American than anyone else; it just makes me in awe of the people who helped build this country – people I get to call my own thanks to studying my family history. Genealogy? Yeah, it’s addictive, and since I can’t stop, I’m transitioning from hobbyist to professional genealogist. After all, how many other jobs reward you for excellence in stalking dead people?”

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Tonia Kendrick July 16, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Hi Dana! Glad you could join us. The elevator pitch is hard, isn’t it? I actually worked on mine some more today.

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Susan Donaldson July 15, 2011 at 10:14 am

Hi, Tonia my first effort I have posted on
http://scotsue-familyhistoryfun.blogger.com

Hope this is the correct way to do it.

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Michael Hait August 6, 2011 at 3:17 pm
Mary January 7, 2012 at 11:06 am

I did, it took me all week to find the right wording but I like it!
http://meandmyancestors.blogspot.com/2012/01/31-weeks-to-better-blog.html
Mary´s last blog post ..31 Weeks to a Better Blog – Elevator Pitch

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