Pitch Slapped: How to Properly Pitch Publications

Let’s look at a few ways to pitch without causing the publication to delete your request.

Pitch Slapped: How to Properly Pitch Publications
Photo by Chris Moore / Unsplash

As one of the four people behind The Writing Cooperative, I receive a lot of pitches. Besides the two-dozen submissions received daily through our submission process, another dozen arrive unsolicited via email.

As writers, we want our words in front of as many eyes as possible. This requires pitching publications and growing our bylines. So let’s look at a few ways to pitch without causing the publication to delete your request.

Do Your Homework

Here’s an example of what not to do.

I would love to provide a guest contribution to your blog. I frequently write on topics related to the latest technology trends like the application of blockchain in various sectors, the future of IOT, crypto world, AI, and connected networks. Let me know what you think. -Terrible Pitch

Each publication has a unique focus. The Writing Cooperative publishes articles about writing. Pitches on blockchain technologies, for example, are well outside our parameters.

Know and fit your pitch to the tone and voice of the publication. Read their content and make sure your content belongs there. It’s OK if it doesn’t. Move on to a publication where your content belongs.

Likewise, look for the publications submission process. Most publications accepting pitches outline theirs. A few minutes on Google will help you discover the guidelines to follow. HuffPost, Narratively, and Slate — just to name a few — all have guides available.

Each publication’s process is unique. Follow it! Publishers want stories about people coloring outside the lines, but for the pitch process, they want you well inside the box.

Be Professional

I’m a Regular Reader of WritingCooperative. I just wanted to reach out because I’ve really been enjoying your writing. In fact, I impressed much from reading your blog posts. -Terrible PItch

Make sure your pitch email is professional and grammatically correct. Your pitch is the first impression of your writing and you as a person. The last thing you want a publisher to see is a pitch with less-than-stellar writing.

Address the email to an actual person if you can. Don’t make the language look like you’re copying and pasting it into a dozen emails, even if you are. And make sure your pitch doesn’t read like a text to your friend.

The example pitch above contains capitalization errors, adverbs, and grammatical missteps. Running a pitch through ProWritingAid would point out all of these issues and make a proper first impression.

Don’t Waste My Time

Won’t take much of your time, just wanted to inform you that I was going through your site writingcooperative.com. I must say this site looks Interesting and very helpful as always. I have been following this site since while. -Terrible Pitch

Pitch emails should be courteous, professional, and to the point. Including an entire paragraph informing me you don’t want to waste my time is, in fact, wasting my time.

In the example above, “insert URL here” might as well replace “writingcooperative.com.” Because of the poor grammar, I don’t want to read any further.

The thing is, the best pitch in the world might lie in the paragraph following this one, but I’d never know. I’ve already rejected the pitch because my time’s been wasted.

Remember, the people you’re pitching are human, just like you. The last thing we want is to read another email. So make sure yours stands out for all the right reasons.

Pitch On

Pitching publications is not difficult. It’s time-consuming and tedious, but it is not difficult. Put in the time and do it right and publishers will notice.

Now get out there and pitch.

A version of this article first appeared on ProWritingAid.