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How To Write a Pitch That Won’t Get Rejected

First impressions matter. Whether it’s in meeting someone, in advertising a product, or in pitching an article, the first encounter someone has with a thing vastly influences how they perceive it moving forward. This is crucial information to master in the world of freelance writing.

How To Write a Pitch That Won’t Get Rejected

Anyone trying to learn how to write a pitch is also learning how to master the art of the first impression. You need to be able to package your ideas so that they’re presentable, exciting, aesthetically pleasing, engaging, and quick. But how do you do that in our ever-changing world?

This article will walk you through everything you need to know about how to write a media pitch.

Have Something to Say

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who write pitches that contain nothing but the bare minimum.

Your pitch needs to have drama, story, character, and life. You can’t write an article about something unless you have something to say about it.

I have an idea for an article about Bob Dylan is not saying anything. How many articles about Bob Dylan do you think are already out there on the internet?

I want to write about sexism in the publishing industry is not saying anything either. Your subject might very well contain topical and political, content, but that doesn’t mean you have something to say about the issue.

You have to come into these things with an angle.

A good pitcher has to be like a good playwright. Ask yourself—what are the stakes?what are the consequences?what’s my motivation?who are the characters?why does this matter?who’s side am I on? 

Transformation 

You can transform a general pitch about Bob Dylan into the story of a man who rose up as the folk-political “voice of his generation”, ditched that and embraced the poetic stylings of Rilke to become something much more universal, and slowly fell into cheesy pop-stardom, doing Christmas albums and recording Sinatra songs.

Through that, you can talk about what ideas corrupted him, how the entertainment industry works, the corrosion of art in the late 20th century, and anything else that comes to mind.

That story has an arc, themes, the main character, and maybe, if you dig hard enough, even an antagonist.

That story about sexism in the publishing industry can easily be transformed if you know someone who went through a similar experience.

Just imagine if you interviewed a talented woman who just knew that she was being kept from publishing because of her gender. That’s a dramatic story with tension and a pull.

As a freelance writer, it’s your job to find the narratives buried within the raw data of our everyday world.

You’re working in the world of nonfiction, so you need to sift through pop culture, high culture, art, news, journalism, and anything required by your specialty to weave together narratives.

Always stay pitching, and always keep your eye out.

Stay Timely 

Unfortunately, that story about Bob Dyan isn’t going to work unless he recently put out an album of Frank Sinatra songs (or something like that).

You can’t write your articles about dead topics. This is the world of freelance writing after all, and people are constantly looking for their hit of new content.

A good question to ask yourself is—why this story now? You don’t need to work like TMZ, or a tabloid (unless you’re writing for Buzzfeed), but you do need to constantly stay plugged into the current culture.

Pay attention to the news cycle. No matter how big a story is, it’s going to fall out of news circulation in a few weeks. Even giant topics, like the COVID-19 pandemic, are too big to talk about in general—the news cycle breaks it into digestible parts.

Try to catch stories at the beginning of their time in the news cycle, so by the time that your article gets written and published, you can ride the wave. To do this, you’re going to need to study the news and develop a sixth sense for when a story is going to be big.

Sometimes, however, you’re going to need to throw caution to the window and make something a news story. If something as huge as the MeToo movement is going on, you might be able to slip your piece about sexism in the workplace.

Think About Benefit

The world of writing is a creative field. However, it still operates on the central tenants of business. You’re providing a service, and you need to offer a supply of something that’s in demand.

Try writing pitches that answer questions readers — and publishers — have already asked themselves. This creation of value is essential to your success as a freelance writer.

You can be the best writer in the world, but if no one can relate to your ideas, you’ll be beaten for jobs by much lesser writers.

However, the job shouldn’t feel thankless. Try to become an expert at the values you share with audiences. Ask questions that you wish to answer yourself, and in your pitch, let the publisher know how you’re going to go about answering that question.

Remember, as a writer, it’s not your job to have all the answers. It’s your job to look for the answers and elucidate the search.

Even if you come up short for answers at the end of your journey, the information you provide your readers should give them enough to draw their own conclusions.

Form Matters 

When you’re writing your pitches, make sure you nail your pitch format. Just as our language affects what we see, our form affects what we right. Wonderful sentences won’t mean anything if you don’t get your form right.

An incorrect form can communicate inexperience, laziness, and a lack of professionalism. How can you expect to convince someone that you’re right for the job of looking for answers if you can’t even get the format of a pitch email right?

The internet has made it easier than ever to find a proper pitch format. However, this also means that a publisher’s standards are high.

If you don’t get your pitch right, your publisher may very well think — oh gosh, if this person can’t even Google a correct pitch format, how can I expect them to write a good article? 

Try to make your sentences quick, direct, and concise. If you have a tough time doing this, the Hemingway app can help a lot.

It identifies lengthy and complex sentences, encourages a reduction in adverb usage and passive voice, and lets you know which phrases have more simple alternatives.

Use a Service

If you’re a new freelance writer just getting into the world of freelance, you can always use great PR software. A PR software will help you find work by acting as your organizer.

It can let you know who you’ve already reached out to, which pitches have worked, and who you’re looking to reach out to next.

They can also help you find the bests journalists covering your specific topic, other websites that work within your niche, press opportunities where journalists are seeking services you’d be good for, and updates of press-based opportunities.

You have to handle each of your clients in the world of freelance writing personally. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to make things more difficult for yourself.

Great service will allow you to create your very own conversation starter pitch that you can reuse for any client, reducing your work.

These services will also help you develop your email pitch skills, by providing you with several professional templates. These templates aren’t to copy and paste, but to take pieces from to learn and grow.

The best services out there are also able to verify that the emails you’re sending to are open for submissions. You’ll never have to receive one of those pesky bouncebacks that you get so often as a freelance writer.

You’ll also get analytics of your open and response rate, so you can understand just what you’re doing right and wrong. You can filter your email pitches based on how well you perform, and adapt your strategy for optimal success.

Understand How to Write a Pitch 

Now that you know how to write a pitch for an article, you’re far more likely to gain writing jobs. Keep in mind that you need to have something to say, stay timely, think about the benefits you’re offering, and focus on form.

You should also consider making use of a digital PR agency.

Conclusion

Implement all of these tactics into your freelance writing life, and you’ll be writing tons of articles in no time. For more articles like this, check out the rest of our blog.

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