Article pitch is a procedure that helps freelance writers reach editors of magazines with story ideas before the piece is done. The article ideas include news stories, fiction and non-fiction essays, blog posts, and more.
Usually, pitching is done through the mail. A writer mails the editor with the content brief, including details of the format, possible title, sources they will use, and contact details. The editor gives feedback to the article pitch informing the writer if their magazine is interested in it or not. It is basically a cover letter introducing a writer to the editor and their article idea.
Importance of pitching
If you want to be a successful writer, you need to pitch articles before writing gigs. You may be a professional reporter, but if you cannot write a pitch, you may fail to win the editor's interest, regardless of how robust your research is.
Most publications cannot keep full-time writers; hence, they employ freelancers for part-time. Some publications may look for freelancers for specific niche articles for their target audience, others wait for content writers to pitch story ideas.
How do you start a pitch?
No matter you are a professional freelance writer or a novice looking for a freelance writing job, here are a few points to keep in mind when pitching:
- Stay focused and precise: Editors have a busy schedule; they are not ready to spend too much of their time on what exactly you are pitching about. You have to explain it to them, right at the beginning. Hence, add a story topic in the subject line and keep the description precise and crisp.
- Attract editor's interest: Make your pitch as interesting as possible. If you catch the editor's interest, they know it will pick their publication's target audience interest. For instance, when pitching to a cooking publication, an email titled "Chicken Soup" will not be as appealing as "How Chicken Soup saved my Relationship."
- Target your pitches cautiously: Research as much as possible. Magazines and journals may have a targeted audience. So, the topic you pitch should be related to it and their style guide. Always follow the publication submission guidelines when approaching them with your article idea.
- Specialize: Today, specialization is very important. If you have specialized in a specific field, say music, medicine, fashion, or technology, stick to it. The story idea you pitch will include your personal experience and knowledge.
- Write an appealing subject line: Your subject line should attract attention and make the editor open your email. According to Data Research, a subject line should be 7 -9 words. Use their name to get their instant attention, along with a headline that shows your research and effort.
- Mention the benefits of your pitch: Explain how your pitching will help them in their client business. How will it give them an edge over their competitors? For instance, if you pitch a parenting website, share how your story idea will benefit its followers.
- Show off your writing abilities: Your email pitch will be your first impression if you haven't written for anyone before. Hence, make sure to present an appealing writing style. Keep it focused, precise, and interesting. Proofreading is very important to ensure your pitch is error-free. Explain to them you are the best person for this task. Share your experience, qualifications, and some of your writing samples.
- Try building relationships: Try to establish a connection with the editor. If you don't know anything about a publication, learn about who's working there, then address your pitch to them.
- Follow-up: If you don't receive a response to your pitch letter within 15 days, then politely send a follow-up email asking if they have reviewed your work.
- Be grateful for their time: Even if they dont choose your pitch, be grateful and thank the editor for their consideration. Acknowledge the value of the time they have spent reading your pitch. It will help you establish a professional connection with the editor and prove advantageous for your career over time.
Now that you know the things to keep in mind while pitching here is how to pitch for an article or blog:
The dos and don'ts mentioned above basically apply to all forms of articles, essays, blogs, op-eds, creative writing, and opinion content. Two major components that you should keep in mind when pitching a blog editor are:
- Be original
It is important. Editors look for authentic and original content. So, what is original content?
- In simple words, it means the content shouldn't have been published anywhere else and is written exclusively for the website or publication.
- The story idea should be fresh, new, and appealing to the targeted audience.
This is why a lot of stress has been given to research. You may think that your idea is innovative, but make sure you check it before pitching. Check out posts on similar topics published before and decide what new angle you can add to render value to the readers.
For instance, when pitching a health blog that has already published articles on pushups, you need to add a new story idea by pitching something that has not been covered in the previous articles.
- Pitch stories rather than topics
So, if the topic is pushups that have been previously covered several times, but if you follow a new approach of how pushups help in 15 days, you will see the difference.
A great story adds a new angle to your substance. It also reveals your plan of action to the editor and helps them know your writing skills.
How to write a pitch for a new client?
After considering the dos and don'ts mentioned above, you should focus on pitch emails: the proposal and the usual introduction.
The Proposal Pitch
This is about pitching a client with a particular proposal to offer him. Consider all the writing facilities you offer and how it will benefit your potential client; blogs, email campaigns, landing pages, case studies.
The proposal pitch should acknowledge their problem without sounding too critical. Just outline the solution and throw some light on the benefits. Keep it polite, precise, and professional.
The Usual Introduction Pitch
if you don't have a particular project in mind for clients but want to introduce yourself to them, then a general introductory pitch is great for you.
You will offer a general introduction of your services and find out if they need the services of a freelancer.
They may not have an immediate need, but they know you are the right person to consider if they want. Customize your mail to get their interest.
Mistakes people make when they don't know how to write a pitch
If you are new to pitching, then here are some common mistakes that you should avoid making at all costs:
Mentioning your full bio
Sad but true, most editors are not interested in you. They only wish to know what they can gain from you.
So, always present an altered version of your bio- do not mention your life history.
Keep the editors in comfort. Tell them why you write, give them a gist of your pitch proposal, show them you are the right person for it by linking pitch examples.
Write long emails
The editors are busy people; hence, you should respect their time by keeping the article pitch precise and relevant. Always avoid unnecessary details.
Copy-pasting one pitch to all
This is a big no! Every editor has a different audience, writing style, need. Hence, it is suggested to address them differently. There is no one-size-fits-all pitch template. Use as many published and unpublished samples as a framework, but tailor the details for every client specifically.
Show your poor confidence
If you don't have relevant clips or links for a specific niche, leave them. Start with those you know. A successful pitch enhances your credibility and confidence.
Avoid submission guidelines
Usually, publications have specific guidelines for submissions. Make sure you follow these directions to the point.
Attach anything to the mail
Do not attach anything to your mail unless important and necessary. Add links and attachments that will work for you.
Offer a finished draft
Not all publications ask for the end draft. They are more interested in the real pitch. So, make sure you present them with a finished piece before they have asked for it.
Need a proposal for a potential client?
Create a professional proposal in minutes with Indy’s Proposals tool. Use your logo and branding, add terms, and include portfolio items.
Now that you know how to write a pitch for your clients, you should research the brands you want to write for. Look out for the right person and send the best pitch email to them. The guidelines above serve as a blueprint to enhance your career and take it to new heights.
Avoid mistakes, add the right components, and pitch with high confidence and credibility.
Remember, pitching is all about numbers. The more you do it, the better you will get at pitching articles and land into high-pay writing gigs.