This post was published on mediaupdate.co.za by Darren Gilbert


While distributing an email about a story pitch might be easy, it’s getting editors to actually read your email and consider your pitch. Pitching a story with the goal of getting it published is hard work. But there are a few key elements you can include in your pitch email that can better your chances.

Be personal


For Nadine Todd, managing editor of Entrepreneur Mag SA, your pitch needs to be personalised. “I receive between 150 and 200 press releases and pitches a week. If the email is not addressed to me personally, I don’t even read it.”

There you have it. Editors are far less likely to even open the email containing you pitch if you don’t include their name. Not bothering to find out who exactly you’re pitching to illustrates a lack of effort.

“If they haven’t done this, I’m going to assume they are not familiar with our magazine or content, and therefore, have not matched their pitch to our editorial channels,” adds Todd.

Develop your angle


Addressing your pitch to the right person is the easy part. It’s what comes next that can be tricking: getting an editor to bite. To do this, you need your pitch to be clear, concise and – most importantly – it needs to be well thought out.

Sunmin Kim, writing for ProJourno, explains that a good pitch email is one that properly develops your story. “[E]ditors too often receive pitches before the stories are fully developed.” This means that premature ideas can be mistaken for topics, adds Kim.

Elizabeth Knowles, an editor and content strategist agrees. She writes: “Do not pitch any stories to anybody, ever, if they do not have a clear, engaging angle. If there is no angle, there is no story.”

“The pitch [must] clearly state out how a story will be covered, organised and also state the number of people who will be interviewed for a diversity of views,” says Evans Manyonga, editor of Fast Company South Africa. “We need to know it won’t be a glorified advertorial pitched as a story.”

Wait a while


Once you’ve hit ‘send’ on that brilliant email pitch of yours, give it a moment. It’s important to be patient. This doesn’t mean you can’t follow up at all, you can. However, there is a difference between following up and harassing an editor for an answer.

Anyone pitching a story via email should put themselves in the editor’s shoes. As Todd points out, she receives close to 200 email pitches every week. Be mindful that someone not coming back to you doesn’t automatically mean they deleted your email.

“If an editor is not responding to your email, wait one to two weeks then send the same email again,” writes Knowles. “Most editors will appreciate this and let you know if they are thinking ‘no’ straight away. Or they might let you know that they are considering it but haven’t been able to place it in their production schedule yet.”

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Wednesday, 12 October 2016



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