How to Pitch an Article or News Story
Pitching an article to a news organization can seem daunting, but if you know how to approach it, it can be very effective. Major news sites receive a staggeringly large number of pitches every week, so making yours stand out from the crowd is crucial to your chances of success. These five simple steps will help you craft a pitch that captures the attention of the right person.
1. Inquire before writing
Firstly, it may seem logical to write an article in its entirety before pitching it, but that could actually count against you when it comes to the pitch. Many editors like to influence the articles they publish and want to be involved as early as possible in the process.
Pitch an idea, not a finished article. If the editor likes the concept, they will work with you to fine-tune the direction the article should take and the length of the finished piece. It’s very rare for editors to be pitched an article or story that exactly fits their precise specifications.
2. One piece at a time
When pitching ideas, don’t muddy the waters by offering more than two concepts at a time. Have faith in one great idea and run with it. If the editor doesn’t like it, you can then pitch your next one. Editors want pitches that are specifically tailored to their publication. If you pitch a dozen at a time, they will assume you’re just spamming ideas with no real thought behind any of them.
Pick one pitch and make sure it’s as relevant and appropriate for the publication you’re pitching to as possible. If the concept is strong, commit to it with confidence and passion.
3. Keep it brief
Editors receive many pitches a day and can’t spend their time reading through unnecessarily long emails detailing what could be surmised in a few choice paragraphs. Keep it brief and edit your pitch until it contains only the most essential information.
If the editor is intrigued, they will ask for additional information, so your initial pitch doesn’t need to detail every single aspect of your idea. Stick to the essentials and keep the editor wanting more. Two or three paragraphs should be enough to convey the basics elements of your pitch, any more and you risk dissuading the editor from reading.
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4. Give context
Give context to your idea. Tell the editor why it should be written and why they should publish it. Explain why you would like to write the article by providing necessary contextual information. If it is related to a current event, briefly summarize how it is connected.
If you can convince the editor that they would benefit from publishing your particular story or article, your pitch will be more likely to succeed. Every news organization has an individual style, and everything they publish must match their editorial standards. Research the publication and explain exactly why your article is well-suited to their style and tone.
5. Pitch yourself
Finally, you need to demonstrate why you’re the right person for the job. Every major publication has access to a host of professional writers so you need to convince them that you can write the piece better than anyone else. Let them know how they can find similar articles you’ve written and why your past experiences make you well-suited to writing the piece you’re pitching.
If you have relevant expertise, now’s the time to brag about it. Sell yourself and your ability to write the article. Give the editor a reason to choose you over the other writers competing for the opportunity.
Pitching to a major organization can seem like a lost cause. The sheer number of emails they receive can often mean you don’t hear back if you’re unsuccessful but simply learning how to successfully craft a pitch email can instantly set you apart from the majority of your competitors.
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