So, you’ve developed your content following Christian’s expert advice – now it’s all about getting it placed in the perfect publication. But pitching your piece is much more than just finding a few contacts and shooting off a quick email. It’s important to put as much effort in here as you did when crafting the piece to ensure the perfect placement for your clients.
The first step at this stage is to clarify exactly what you want from the piece you have written. While some articles might gain interest from national and international publications, most will appeal mainly to a particular region or industry.
It’s important to understand your target audience and ensure you pitch to publications within your client’s area of expertise. For instance, pitching article proposals that are not relevant to busy journalists will likely see the piece rejected and possibly reduce your chance of future coverage in this publication.
Instead, can you delve deeper to look at a specific sub-section of this industry? Don’t be afraid to look at more niche publications – the more closely aligned the publication is with the topic you’re writing about, the more likely your piece will be commissioned. It’s also important to do a thorough Google search to see what publications have recently covered your chosen topics.
After putting together an initial list of publications, it’s important to research each more thoroughly. Examine the media pack to get a better understanding of a publication’s audience. Critical information like the number of readers, what industries they are working in and their job titles are likely to be included to help judge the viability of pitching to a certain publication. Leverage this information to tailor your pitch and content to the publication’s requirements; it will give you the best chance of a commission.
Check for an editorial calendar highlighting features for each edition. It might be a good idea to pitch for a specific issue where your content fits best. This shows you’ve taken the time to look into the publication and get an understanding of how your content fits into their wider programme.
Once you are confident about the publications you are pitching to, identify the most appropriate contact to reach out to. If you’re pitching to a large publication with multiple contacts, pick the editor that is most closely aligned to the topic of your piece. When dealing with publications you have liaised with before it’s important to use your experience to your advantage. If you have a rapport with a journalist already, try and build on that relationship by reaching out to them first or draw on previous feedback to guide your choice of contact.
But don’t think the work is over once you’ve hit the send button on your pitch. If you don’t hear back from journalists don’t be afraid to follow-up! A quick phone call can make the world of difference, sometimes emails slip through the net and journalists haven’t even had the chance to read your pitch. Also, don’t let a no be the end of the conversation. Ask (in the politest way possible, of course) why they are not interested and what kind of content they’d like to see in the future. Who knows, this could even lead to a commission for your next piece or at least give you a better idea of what content to pitch in the future.
I hope this two-part blog provides a helpful guide but please feel free to get in touch with me or any of the ThoughtSpark team if you have any questions. We’re always more than happy to help!