As a writer, you want to get your words in front of as many readers as possible. But this can be challenging when the competition from other writers is so great—to say nothing of the competition from other media like TV, social media, and smartphones.
But you must start somewhere. And one of the best ways to get your name out there as an author is to pitch articles to magazines.
What is an article pitch?
An article pitch is a brief message that tries to convince a publication to consider your idea for a story. It’s the way that most writers get featured in top magazines—at least when they’re starting out.
So if you want to pitch an article to a magazine, follow these steps:
1. Choose a publication
The first thing you should do is choose a publication to pitch. Choose one that fits your area of interest or expertise. You wouldn’t want to pitch a scientific magazine as a finance writer, for example. Matching the publication to your domain is crucial.
You may also want to select a section of the magazine to pitch since some magazines cover a range of topics.
Whatever you do, get familiar with the publication you intend to pitch so that you have a better idea of what they like to publish.
2. Come up with an idea to write about
Once you’ve narrowed down a publication to pitch, start generating ideas for an article. Choose one that would appeal to the interests of the magazine’s readers. Also, make sure the magazine hasn’t already covered the same subject (in the same way).
3. Research the editor
Find out who the editor of the magazine is. This information can often be found on the magazine’s website along with the editor’s email. This way, you know where to send your pitch and can personalize it by addressing the editor directly.
4. Understand the submission guidelines
Most publications have submission guidelines that you must adhere to. Usually, these can also be found on the publication’s website somewhere. Make sure you follow them to a T so that your pitch is error-free. Otherwise, your pitch may not be considered.
5. Create a compelling subject line
An email subject line is the first thing an editor will see of your pitch. So make it compelling. You want it to stand out in their (probably crowded) inbox. Include the word “pitch” in the subject line so it’s clear what the email entails and a short description of the article, such as a potential title. Of course, if the submission guidelines include requirements for the email subject line, follow those.
6. Write the body of the pitch
When writing the actual body of the pitch, there are two main things you must cover: the main idea of the article and why it would be of interest to the publication’s readers. What’s in it for the magazine? If that’s unclear, it won’t matter how interesting your article idea is. The publication probably won’t accept it.
Your pitch body should also include a few title options for the publication to choose from and what resources (e.g. statistics) you aim to use in the article. Keep the pitch brief so that editors can quickly skim through it and are less likely to skip over it.
7. Include a bio
Though often overlooked, a brief bio is an important part of your pitch. It tells who you are as a writer and what other qualifications you may have. For example, you can mention degrees you hold or provide a writing portfolio of other published work. This helps prove your credibility as a writer.
8. Check for mistakes
Next, you should look over your pitch for any mistakes. Identify any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. The smallest typo could be enough for an editor to reject your pitch and go with another. Having an error-free pitch shows that you are detail-oriented and that you take the magazine editor’s time seriously.
9. Hit send
At this point, you’re ready to hit send on your pitch. This can be a relieving and rewarding feeling. Congratulations! You’re that much closer to being a published writer.
10. Follow up
Finally, if you haven’t heard back from the publisher after a week or so, you may want to follow up with them. Editors can get busy between publication deadlines, magazine printing, and other parts of running a magazine.
A friendly check-in never hurts, so long as you don’t come off as too impatient.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.