Pitching for Work: A Freelancer's Best Friend for Getting the Gig
Pitching, on Scripted and elsewhere, gives you the freedom to write about what you love.
"Pitching is more a science than an art," states journalism professor and freelance writer Jennifer Kahn of U.C. Berkeley. However, once you've successfully added this tool to your writer's toolbox -- and perfected your strategy -- it's more akin to second nature. Whether you are pitching content to businesses for marketing value, to magazines and newspapers to build up your portfolio or as a writer on Scripted trying to establish a client base, a good pitch can make or break your next gig.
Let's explore some different journalistic venues for basic pitching, suggestions for catching the "big fish" and best practices that help craft a successful personal pitching style.
Types of Pitches
Not allpitches are created equal. You have to know your clients and their content goals, suggests business writer Megan Somers, Senior Account Manager at Agency PR.
It's also helpful to know specifics for each journalistic venue to which you're pitching. Pitching for a magazine article requires different information than a blog post for a small business. Know that magazine articles require lead-ins, while newspaper articles should be quick and to the point. Keep in mind that stories need defined characterization, but blog posts need to provide industry information and value. Pitches should match the style of the content type. By researching about the type of media you want to produce, you will know how detailed each pitch should be.
Pitching on Scripted
While pitching in the writer's marketplace can require legwork, Scripted provides "perfect-world pitching" for writers. For example, within Scripted, you can pitch in two different ways, both of which connect you to real-life clients who want content now. You can pitch conventionally, on a topic a client has requested, or via the new Topic Marketplace. There, you just pitch an idea you love in the requested Industry that may prove interesting to a variety of readerships! Either way, you have the freedom to write about something in your wheelhouse, and some believe that it's this type of writing that's often best - and easiest.
Anatomy of a Successful Pitch
When constructing a pitch, think creatively while grounding yourself in ordinary concepts. Although experts advise novelty, writing what's most practical for a job or client may work just as well. Writers come from all walks of life and have unique insights, which can - and should - add a unique perspective to their writing.
Ask yourself, if you were the customer, what topic might provide you with value? Then, think of the clients you're targeting. What content should they be providing to readers, and in what ways? Are they trying to be industry experts, or are they trying to establish trust, provide value or sell a product? Consider these factors before you pitch.
Pitching Best Practices
Keep these rules of thumb in mind as you start pitching your ideas.
Know the client, or type of client, to whom you're pitching.
Do your research.
Find a relevant and interesting angle that you can relate to.
Pitch often and across multiple jobs and Industries.
Follow available guidelines (tone, structure, etc.).
Pitching is all about knowledge - know who you're pitching to, what kinds of stories they want and what kinds of articles fit your expertise. Beyond that, all you need is the confidence to present your great ideas.