How to Write a Pitch for an Article: A Step-by-Step Guide

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How to write a pitch for an article? As a freelance writer, you’re constantly pitching article ideas to editors in the hopes of getting assigned a writing project. But what exactly is a pitch, and how can you write one that will get the attention of an editor and increase your chances of getting hired?

In this post, we’ll take a look at what a pitch is, what makes a good pitch, and how you can write one of your own. By the end, you’ll have all the tools you need to start pitching editors with confidence.

how to write a pitch for an article

What is a Pitch?

A pitch is simply an email or letter that you send to an editor to propose an idea for an article. It’s a way of marketing your ideas and getting hired to write for a specific publication.

What makes a Good Pitch?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as different editors will have different preferences. However, there are a few elements that most good pitches have in common:

  • They’re clear and concise. A good pitch is easy to understand and doesn’t contain any fluff or filler.
  • They’re well-written. A good pitch is free of grammar and spelling errors, and it flows smoothly from beginning to end.
  • They’re specific. A good pitch contains specific details about what the article will be about and why it would be a good fit for the publication.
  • They’re tailored to the publication. A good pitch is written with a specific publication in mind, and it demonstrates an understanding of that publication’s audience and style.

How to write a pitch for an article

Now that we’ve gone over what makes a good pitch, let’s take a look at how you can write one of your own. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Do your research

Before you even start writing, take some time to do your research. This means finding out which publications are a good fit for your article idea and reading through their submission guidelines. This will give you a better understanding of what each publication is looking for and help you tailor your pitch accordingly.

The headline of your pitch should be clear, concise, and attention-grabbing. It should give the editor a general idea of what your article will be about and make them want to read more.

  • Introduce yourself

In the first paragraph of your pitch, briefly introduce yourself and explain why you’re the best person to write this article. Include a sentence or two about your writing experience and any relevant credentials or publications.

  • Explain your article idea

In the second paragraph of your pitch, explain your article idea in more detail. What will the article be about? Why is it timely or relevant? How will it be helpful or interesting to the reader?

In the third paragraph of your pitch, provide a brief outline of your article. This will give the editor a better idea of what to expect and help them determine if it’s a good fit for their publication.

End your pitch with a call to action, such as asking the editor to contact you to discuss the article further or requesting a specific deadline for the article. This will show that you’re serious about writing the article and help them decide whether to hire you.

The 5 Ws of pitching an article

When you’re pitching an article, it’s important to make sure that you include all of the essential information that the editor needs to make a decision. This can be summed up with the 5 Ws: who, what, when, where, and why.

Who are you?

Include a brief introduction of yourself in your pitch so that the editor knows who you are and why you’re the best person to write this article. Include information about your writing experience and any relevant credentials or publications.

What is your article about?

Be sure to explain your article idea in detail so that the editor knows what to expect. What will the article be about? Why is it timely or relevant? How will it be helpful or interesting to the reader?

When do you want to write the article?

Include a proposed deadline for the article so that the editor knows when you’ll be able to complete it. If you’re flexible, let them know and give them a few different options to choose from.

Where will the article be published?

If you have a specific publication in mind for your article, be sure to mention it in your pitch. This shows that you’ve done your research and tailored your pitch accordingly.

Why should the editor hire you?

Make sure to include a call to action in your pitch so that the editor knows what you want them to do next. Do you want them to contact you to discuss the article further? Request a specific deadline for the article? This will show that you’re serious about writing the article and help them decide whether to hire you.

How to follow up after pitching an article

After you’ve pitched an editor with your article idea, it’s important to follow up with them to ensure that they received your pitch and to check in on the status of their decision. This can be done in a few different ways, such as sending a brief email or making a phone call.

When following up with an editor, be sure to keep it brief and professional. Thank them for their time and restate your article idea. Then, ask if they have any questions or if there’s anything else you can provide. Inquire about the status of their decision and when you can expect to hear back from them.

How to write a query letter

A query letter is a brief letter sent to editors or publishers to pitch a story idea or ask for a writing assignment. Query letters are typically one page in length and consist of three paragraphs: an introduction, a summary of the article, and a conclusion.

When writing a query letter, it’s important to be concise and to the point. Be sure to include all of the essential information that the editor needs to make a decision, such as who you are, what your article is about, why it’s timely or relevant, how it will be helpful or interesting to the reader, and when you can write it.

If you have any relevant credentials or publications, be sure to mention them as well. Finally, end your letter with a call to action, such as asking for a specific deadline or requesting that the editor contact you to discuss the article further.

If you’re not sure how to get started, there are several query letter templates available online that can help you format your letter correctly. Query letter templates can be found on websites such as The Write Life, The Balance Careers, and Writers Digest.

The dos and don’ts of writing a query letter

Do:

  • Keep it brief and to the point
  • Include all of the essential information that the editor needs to make a decision
  • Highlight your relevant credentials or publications
  • End with a call to action

Don’t:

  • Send a generic letter – be sure to tailor your pitch to the specific publication or editor you’re pitching to
  • Ramble on – get to the point and explain your article idea in detail
  • Forget to follow up – after you’ve pitched an editor, make sure to follow up with them to ensure they received your pitch and to check in on the status of their decision
  • Give up – if you don’t hear back from an editor right away, don’t be discouraged. Keep pitching your story idea to different publications until you find a match.

What to do when your pitch is rejected

It’s normal to feel discouraged when your pitch is rejected, but it’s important to remember that not every pitch will be accepted. Editors receive hundreds or even thousands of pitches every day, so some will inevitably be rejected. The key is to not take it personally and to keep pitching your story idea until you find a publication that’s a good fit.

If you’re having trouble getting your pitches accepted, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances.

  • Make sure that you’re pitching the right publication – send your pitch to publications that cover similar topics to the one you’re writing about.
  • Ensure that your pitch is well-written and includes all of the essential information that the editor needs to make a decision
  • Don’t be afraid to follow up with the editor after you’ve submitted your pitch. Following up shows that you’re enthusiastic about your article idea and that you’re committed to getting it published.

How to follow up on a pitch that’s been accepted

Once you’ve had a pitch accepted, it’s time to start writing your article. But before you do that, there are a few things you need to do to ensure that your article is published successfully.

  • Make sure that you understand the publication’s guidelines for submitting articles. Each publication has different requirements for formatting, length, and style, so it’s important to make sure that your article meets all of its specifications.
  • Submit your article on time – most publications have deadlines that they expect authors to adhere to. Missing a deadline can result in your article being rejected or published late, so be sure to turn in your article well ahead of time.
  • Keep the editor updated on your progress – let them know if you’re running behind schedule or if there are any changes to your article. Keeping the editor in the loop will help to ensure a smooth publication process.
white tablet computer on top of newspaper

What to do after your article is published

After your article is published, it’s important to promote it to get as many people reading it as possible. The best way to promote your article is through social media – post a link to your article on all of your social media platforms, and encourage your friends and followers to share it. You can also promote your article by emailing it to people who might be interested in reading it, or by posting it on forums and discussion boards.

Don’t forget to thank the editor for publishing your article. A simple thank-you note goes a long way towards maintaining a good relationship with the publication, which will make it more likely that they’ll publish your articles in the future.

How to get paid for your article

One of the great things about getting your articles published is that you can get paid for your work. Most publications will pay you a set fee for each article that they publish, and some even offer bonuses for particularly popular articles. If you’re looking to make some extra money from your writing, be sure to pitch articles to publications that offer payment.

Getting paid for your writing is a great way to earn some extra income, but it’s important to remember that not all publications offer payment. Some magazines and online publications will only provide exposure in exchange for your article, so be sure to check with the publication before you submit your pitch.

Even if a publication doesn’t offer payment, though, getting your article published can still be a great way to build your portfolio and make a name for yourself as a writer.

What rights do you give up when you sell an article

When you sell an article to a publication, you’re typically giving up the copyright to that article. This means that the publication can publish your article in any format and any medium, and they can also make changes to your article without your permission.

In some cases, you may be able to retain the copyright to your article – this is usually negotiated on a case-by-case basis. If you’re planning on republishing your article elsewhere, it’s important to check with the publication first to see if they have any restrictions on where and how you can republish your work.

Some publications will allow you to republish your article on your website or blog, but others will require that you wait a certain amount of time before you can republish your article elsewhere. Be sure to check the publication’s guidelines before you submit your article to them.

How to format your article

Most publications will have specific formatting requirements for articles that they publish. Be sure to check the publication’s guidelines before you start writing – if you don’t format your article according to their specifications, it’s likely that they won’t even bother reading it.

Some common formatting requirements include word count, font size and type, line spacing, and margins. Be sure to follow all of the guidelines carefully, as even small deviations can result in your article being rejected.

Formatting your article correctly is crucial if you want to improve your chances of having it published. By following the publication’s guidelines, you can ensure that your article is formatted correctly and has a better chance of being accepted for publication.

What to do if your article is rejected

Even if you follow all of the tips in this article, there’s no guarantee that your article will be accepted for publication. If your article is rejected, don’t take it personally – instead, use it as an opportunity to learn and improve your writing.

If you’re getting a lot of rejections, take a look at your writing and see if there’s anything you can improve. Are you choosing the right publications to pitch to? Is your writing clear and concise? Are you formatting your articles correctly? By taking a closer look at your writing, you can identify areas that need improvement and make the necessary changes.

Getting published can be a great way to build your portfolio and make a name for yourself as a writer. However, it’s important to remember that not every article will be accepted for publication.

If your article is rejected, don’t give up – instead, use it as an opportunity to learn and improve your writing. With enough practice and persistence, you’ll eventually see your articles being published in the publications of your choice.

Should you include clips with your pitch?

Most publications will want to see writing samples from you before they decide to publish your article. However, not all publications will require or even prefer that you include clips with your pitch. In general, it’s a good idea to include at least one clip with your pitch, especially if you’re pitching to a publication that you’ve never been published in before.

By including a clip, you can show the editor that you have previous experience writing the type of article that you’re pitching. If you don’t have any relevant clips to include with your pitch, don’t worry – you can still submit your pitch without them. However, including clips (or links to published articles) can help to improve your chances of having your pitch accepted.

Do you need a query letter?

A query letter is a brief letter that you send to a publication to pitch your article idea. In most cases, a query letter is not required – you can simply send a pitch directly to the editor. However, in some cases, a publication may request or prefer that you submit a query letter along with your pitch. If you’re not sure whether or not you need to submit a query letter, check the publication’s guidelines.

If you do need to submit a query letter, be sure to keep it brief and to the point. Include your name and contact information, as well as a brief overview of your article idea. Query letters should be no more than one page in length – any longer, and you run the risk of boring or confusing the editor.

How many pitches should you send at one time?

There’s no hard and fast rule for how many pitches you should send at one time. In general, it’s a good idea to start by sending out a few pitches and seeing how they’re received. If you’re getting a lot of rejections, it may be necessary to send out more pitches. However, if you’re getting a lot of acceptances, you may want to focus on quality over quantity and only pitch your best ideas.

Ultimately, the number of pitches you send should be based on your goals and the amount of time you have available. If you’re looking to publish as many articles as possible, you’ll need to send out more pitches. However, if you’re looking to publish fewer articles of higher quality, you may want to focus on sending fewer pitches.

How often should you pitch to a publication?

There’s no set rule for how often you should pitch to a publication. In general, it’s a good idea to wait a few weeks in between pitches, especially if you’ve just been rejected. This gives the editor time to forget about your previous pitch and makes it more likely that they’ll be open to considering your new one.

If you have a great relationship with an editor and you know that they’re always looking for new content, you may be able to pitch more frequently. However, even in this case, it’s important not to overdo it – too many pitches can be overwhelming and may cause the editor to start ignoring your emails altogether. Thanks for reading!

How do you know if your pitch is working?

There’s no surefire way to know if your pitch is working. However, there are a few signs that you can look for that may indicate whether or not your pitch is successful. For example, if an editor asks for more information about your article idea or requests to see a full draft, this is usually a good sign. It means that the editor is interested in your idea and wants to learn more about it.

How to keep track of your pitches

If you’re sending out a lot of pitches, it can be helpful to keep track of them. This way, you can easily see which publications you’ve pitched to and whether or not they responded. There are a few different ways to do this. For example, you can create a spreadsheet with the name of each publication, the date you pitched them, and their response. Or, you can use a pitch tracker tool like Pigeonhole or Article Tracker.

Keeping track of your pitches can help you to stay organized and to make sure that you’re not pitching the same idea to multiple publications. It can also help you to keep track of your success rate and see which publications are more likely to accept your pitches. Thanks for reading!

What else should you include in your article portfolio?

In addition to your query letter and article pitches, you should also include a few writing samples in your portfolio. These can be articles that you’ve already published, or they can be original pieces that you’ve written specifically for your portfolio.

Either way, it’s important to choose writing samples that are relevant to the type of writing you want to do. For example, if you’re pitching travel articles, it would make sense to include a few samples of your previous work in this genre.

Including writing samples in your portfolio gives editors an idea of your writing style and helps them to assess whether or not your work is a good fit for their publication. It’s generally a good idea to include 3-5 samples in your portfolio.

How to find the right editor for your pitch

One of the most important parts of writing a successful pitch is finding the right editor to send it to. This can be tricky, especially if you’re pitching to a publication that you’re not familiar with. However, there are a few ways that you can increase your chances of success.

  • Take some time to research the publication and familiarize yourself with their content. This will help you to gauge whether or not your article is a good fit for their readership.
  • Try to find out who the relevant editors are and what kinds of articles they’re looking for. You can usually find this information on the publication’s website or by doing a simple Google search.
  • Once you’ve found the right editor, make sure to tailor your pitch specifically to them. Mentioning something that you know they’re interested in or referencing a previous article they’ve published is a great way to show that you’re familiar with their work and that you have a good understanding of what they’re looking for.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when pitching an article?

There are a few common mistakes that people make when pitching an article.

  • It’s important to make sure that your pitch is relevant to the publication you’re sending it to. Tailoring your pitch specifically to the publication’s readership will increase the chances of your article being accepted.
  • Additionally, try to avoid generic pitches that could be sent to any publication.
  • Another common mistake is to underestimate the importance of a good query letter. Your query letter is your opportunity to sell your article and to convince the editor that it’s worth their time.
  • Make sure to spend enough time crafting a well-written and effective query letter.
  • Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back from an editor right away. It can sometimes take weeks or even months to hear back on a pitch.

How to target your pitch to a specific publication

When you’re pitching an article, it’s important to make sure that your pitch is relevant to the publication you’re sending it to. This means tailoring your pitch specifically to the publication’s readership and understanding what kinds of articles they’re looking for.

To start, take some time to familiarize yourself with the publication. Read through a few recent issues and take note of the types of articles they typically feature. Additionally, try to find out who the relevant editors are and what kinds of articles they’re looking for. You can usually find this information on the publication’s website or by doing a simple Google search.

Once you have a good understanding of the publication, you can start to tailor your pitch specifically to them. Mentioning something that you know they’re interested in or referencing a previous article they’ve published is a great way to show that you’re familiar with their work and that you have a good understanding of what they’re looking for.

How to make your pitch stand out

With so many pitches being sent to editors daily, it can be hard to make yours stand out. However, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success.

  • Take some time to research the publication and familiarize yourself with its content. This will help you to gauge whether or not your article is a good fit for their readership.
  • Additionally, try to find out who the relevant editors are and what kinds of articles they’re looking for. You can usually find this information on the publication’s website or by doing a simple Google search.
  • Once you’ve found the right editor, make sure to tailor your pitch specifically to them. Mentioning something that you know they’re interested in or referencing a previous article they’ve published is a great way to show that you’re familiar with their work and that you have a good understanding of what they’re looking for.

Additionally, try to make your pitch as unique and interesting as possible. If you can find a What not to do when pitching an article

There are a few things to avoid when pitching an article to an editor. Firstly, it’s important to make sure that your pitch is relevant to the publication you’re sending it to. Tailoring your pitch specifically to the publication’s readership will increase the chances of your article being accepted. Additionally, try to avoid generic pitches that could be sent to any publication.

Another common mistake is to underestimate the importance of a good query letter. Your query letter is your opportunity to sell your article and to convince the editor that it’s worth their time. Make sure to spend enough time crafting a well-written and effective query letter.

Conclusion

Pitching your articles to publications can be a great way to get your writing published. However, it’s important to remember that not every article will be accepted for publication. If your article is rejected, don’t take it personally – instead, use it as an opportunity to learn and improve your writing. With enough practice and persistence, you’ll eventually see your articles being published in the publications of your choice.

FAQs

How do I write a pitch for an article?

Before you start writing your pitch, it’s important to understand what editors are looking for. In general, editors want pitches that are:

  • On-trend and timely: Write about topics that are popular right now or will be soon.
  • Relevant to their publication: Make sure your pitch is a good fit for the magazine or website you’re pitching to.
  • Well-written and well-researched: A strong pitch will be free of spelling and grammatical errors, and it will include enough detail about the topic to show that you know what you’re talking about.
  • Interesting and unique: Your pitch should stand out from the hundreds (or even thousands) of other pitches that editors receive.

Tips on how to write a pitch for an article

  • Use a catchy headline: A great headline will make your pitch more likely to be clicked on (and read).
  • Keep it short and sweet: Editors are busy people, so make sure your pitch is concise and to the point.
  • Be specific: In your pitch, include enough detail about your article idea to give the editor a good sense of what it will be about
  • Show why it’s relevant: Make it clear why your article is timely and why readers will care about it.
  • Offer to provide sources: If you have sources lined up for your article, mention that in your pitch.
  • Provide a writing sample: If you have clips from previous articles you’ve written, include them with your pitch to show off your writing style.

Tools you need to start pitching editors with confidence.

When you’re ready to start pitching editors, you’ll need a few things:

  • A list of publications to pitch: Start by making a list of the magazines, websites, and newspapers you’d like to write for.
  • An understanding of what each publication is looking for: Read through the website or recent issues of each publication on your list to get a feel for their style and content. This will help you tailor your pitches accordingly.
  • A few good ideas: Once you have a handle on what each publication is looking for, brainstorm some article ideas that would be a good fit.
  • Writing samples: Editors will want to see examples of your writing, so be sure to have a few clips from previous articles or blog posts on hand.
  • A pitch template: Having a template for your pitches will save you time and help you make sure you include all the important information. You can find a pitching template here.

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