Think Like An Editor: Pitch Smart
Research, Research, Research!
Prior to drafting a pitch and before you even think about clicking send it is crucial that you do your research on both the publication and the editor you are pitching to. It is always a good idea to head over to the company’s website to see what they have recently published as well as who wrote about it. For instance, you may find only certain people write about food while others are focused on lifestyle, home décor etc. By paying attention to who is writing what, you can make sure your pitch is being sent to the correct editors and it will save you from pitching an idea that was already published.
Editorial Calendars-Your New Best Friends
On most publication websites, you can find what’s called an Editorial Calendar. These calendars are set up monthly, as you would imagine, and display the planned editorial features. They can help increase your chances of coverage by allowing you to pitch ideas that correlate with that month’s issue topic. As shown below in Food Networks 2018 Editorial Calendar, each month has its own topic with its accompanying close date. This date is important because it’s the last day that you will be able to submit your pitch. Not only do Editorial Calendars help you pitch the right topics at the right times, they can help you stay organized and plan ahead!
Pitch a Story, Not a Topic
Editors get hundreds of emails a day, which means your pitch must stand out. One of the best ways to bring your pitch into the lime light is by illustrating a must-read story and not just a topic. To create a good story, you want to look for the hook. Some great questions to ask yourself are:
Why should this story be written about now?
Why do readers need to know about the story?
Has the story been covered already?
What fresh angle does your story have?
Asking yourself these questions will help you create a pitch that will attract editors and be worth writing about. You want to keep in mind that editors are receiving pitches daily and not every single one will be read. Always take the time to explain why your story is timely, unique, important and of interest the publications readers. Make the most of yours so that you stand-out.
You never have to think long and hard about subject lines until you start pitching editors. The more creative you can be the better. The one’s that draw the most attention are going to get your email read. An editor that is sifting through their email is going to look for subject lines that are eye-catching. Don’t be basic. It’s something that is often overlooked so just be sure you’re taking the time to think of a subject line outside the box.