For more information on how to run pitches effectively, see the Editorial Processes and Pitching Guide.
Pitching is an important part of a content creation process. Effective pitching can mean the difference between an average story and a great one. It can also mean the difference between understanding and editing a piece before it is even written, versus spending hours or even days on improving pieces because the upfront angle or format was wrong.
While it can be tempting to ask writers to explain a suggested story or angle orally, written pitches are helpful so ideas can be synthesized properly and evaluated correctly. They also make it easy to be passed around and discussed in group settings.
Simply suggesting something to write about isn’t a pitch — a pitch is a well crafted, succinct summary of what the story actually is. Put another way, a pitch is just like a story, just shorter — it has an angle, a headline, a tension, a reason for existence. That’s why getting pitches in writing is so important.
- An approximate word count: Writers should have a sense of how long the finished piece will be.
- Headline: Each pitch should come with a suggested headline. This gives the reader a sense of what may make the story “click.”
- Description: The pitch should have a two to three sentence description. This description should outline the context in which the story is being written and the questions the story seeks to answer. The description should answer the following questions: What’s new or why is this important to the audience? What is the central tension, conflict or message of the piece? What are the key takeaways?
- Sources: The pitch should include the sources it will base the piece on.
- Art/other: Are there images that will help represent the story? Any video or multimedia elements?
- Deadline: Each pitch needs to include the deadline for when it’ll be completed.
- Word count: 750
- Headline: Inside Company X: How this newcomer went from zero to $50 million in revenue
- Description: Company X is unique in this field because it’s the first to create a certain kind of product. How did it manage to break through as a relative unknown? Company X is well respected among our clients because it’s seen as a winner in this category and our audience will want the inside story. We’ll be able to create an inside look with numbers and data and provide the real playbook of why this company managed to win in this market.
- Sources: Company X founder (interview scheduled)
- Art/other: We can also invite the founder to be a guest on our podcast. Headshots are available.
- Deadline: Feb 15