The art of the cold pitch is a key skill when it comes to winning new work. Regardless of the format you want to get published in, you start by pitching the idea - not the finished article.
Get it wrong and you’ll be wasting your time, get it right and the work will be rolling in!
Get your media targeting right. Before you approach an editor, take the time to familiarise yourself with the publication and the type of article they publish. You need to identify their angle and tone to determine if yours matches, only then can you explain why your article is relevant to their readers.
Networking is not about collecting contacts. Networking is about growing relationships.
Make it a habit to make connections on a relational, rather than a business level.
Building relationships takes time and the best way to approach an editor is to know them before you have an article to pitch. Make a genuine, personal connection in advance. Arrange to meet and interact in real life at events and conferences.
What’s the Unique Selling Point of your article? Some editors receive more than 100 pitches a day, so it had better be special. Your pitch should answer 3 questions:
This is your time to generate interest. Highlight possible connections readers will likely have once they’ve consumed the content.
Editors are busy people. They don’t want your life story, they just want to know what it is you have to offer. Successful pitches are short, yet well rounded.
Dangle the carrot and get them to buy-in before you’ve even sent the article! Write your pitch in an inverted pyramid format and use it as an opportunity to show off your writing skills.
The one size fits all approach won’t work when it comes to pitching. Editors don’t want content that’s being published by competing publications. They want exclusive content. In fact they’re yearning for engaging, relevant content, you just have to be able to create it and most importantly - sell it!
Pitch an article so relevant to a publication's readers that the editor can’t afford to say no. Although it may be tempting to show off your portfolio at this stage - don’t! Only submit your portfolio if it is expressly required. Going back to the time factor, editors can’t read through long winded details of every pitching writers professional background.
A strong title can help an editor visualise your article on their publication immediately. Use your title as a subject line, as an editor will be more inclined to open it. Even if they can’t open it straight away, a catchy title will make them more inclined to go back to it. A boring, irrelevant title, however, will most likely be deleted or reported as spam.
There’s a sweet spot for sending a follow-up email if you haven’t had a reply: one or two weeks after you’ve sent the pitch. Your email might have gone to the editor’s spam box, in which case, you could send it again from another email address, using a different subject line.
Your follow up should be a brief reminder of your earlier email.
Wait a couple of weeks before sending a follow up email. You don’t want to appear to be pushy.
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