13 Dec Perfecting the Pitch
Pitching. Love it or loathe it, it is part of a freelance writer’s life. Personally, it’s the the job I like the least.
First you take the time to read the publication or website thoroughly. You work out the regular slots and how to tailor your idea. Then you craft your pitch.
You don’t want to say too much — remember that 30-second elevator rule — but enough to whet an editor’s appetite. You fiddle with the pitch, email it in, and then wait for a reply.
You send it out again and follow-up with a phone call. Except the editor is usually away on a travel story and your email gets buried beneath several hundred others.
So you start the process again. I’m amazed how many weeks can go by and I’m still chasing one or two editors.
So a few tips on how to get better at pitching.
- This sounds obvious: keep a systematic list of editors you’ve tried and the story ideas you’ve pitched.
- Keep refining your pitch. You’ll find it becomes sharper with each revision.
- When you call editors, do so when you’re feeling confident… and have another idea up your sleeve.
- If you get a rejection, don’t take it personally. This is hard but so important. I think of it as developing a thick goanna (lizard) skin.
- To avoid overwhelm, do pitching in short 30-minute bursts when you’re energy levels are high and don’t expect a quick answer back.
- Set yourself the task of researching two new publications or websites a week. There are tons of travel websites out there looking for content. And don’t give up!