Five Expert Methods for Pitching Articles
Building links is crucial for a successful marketing campaign. Of course, though, it’s easier said than done. The process is something of a balancing act. You want your link to appear on a relevant website, but you also want it to shine on a reputable one. Once you’ve found your perfect placement, the next step is to pitch the article to the editor or journalist.
There are a number of things you can do to ensure your article stands out in their inbox. Take a look at Mediaworks’ five ways to pitch an article successfully:
Tip #1: Have a strong news hook
The editor or journalist you’re approaching has a job to do. They want to publish the most relevant and on-trend information to their readership. Again, it’s a balancing act — your article needs to be relevant and current, but at the same time, if it’s been covered over and over by other outlets, the editor will not be interested in re-treading old ground.
Tools such as BuzzSumo can give you an idea of how much coverage is already out there for a topic. The perfect news hook would be a topic with a high search volume, but limited amounts of quality content. That’s your niche — write it, pitch it, and you’re onto a winner.
Tip #2: Give the journalist something unique
Ideally, you want to have solid, primary data in your article. You want to be the source, rather than an echo of what’s already out there. Primary data can be a number of things — it doesn’t have to be statistics, though of course, that’s a fantastic primary source to have! Other examples of strong, primary sources include:
- First-hand quotes from experts you’ve contacted
- Images and photography taken by your business
- Polls and surveys
With a good portion of primary data in your article, your pitch will become much stronger by default. Plus, it has the added benefit of driving strong backlinks from other articles referencing your content.
Tip #3: Do your research on the journalist
Look through the type of content the editor or journalist already publishes. It should go without saying but skipping this step can ruin your pitch — it looks like you’ve not considered their needs at all. By looking through their current posts and writing tone, you can match up potential articles to suit them. It makes for a much stronger pitch, as you are proposing something that helps you both, rather than just yourself.
A strong move would be to follow editors and journalists on their social media pages. This gives you access to the most up-to-date style and interests they are posting.
Tip #4: Craft a professional, concise email
Once you have a strong article that is relevant to your editor’s interests, it’s time to reach out. A strong subject line is vital to ensure you’re noticed in their inbox. Try fashioning a subject line using these five national-press buzzwords: ‘data’, ‘revealed’, ‘new’, ‘study’, and ‘worst’. These five words are simple and powerful, without being sensationalistic.
The body of your email needs to be concise and professional. Tell them everything they need to know about the article in two or three sentences. You want to make sure the editor can get the gist of the piece quickly within your email. If you can’t summarise the topic in two or three sentences, you may need to review the article before sending it out — chances are, it’s overly-complicated.
But the most important piece of advice for your email: double-check the spelling of their name. Nothing comes across worse than an email addressed to an editor with their name spelt wrong!
After that, hit send and be patient. Too many follow-up emails can be detrimental.
Tip #5: Time it perfectly
If you’re pitching to a US editor from a UK office, take into consideration their time zone. You can schedule your outbox to send emails overnight, so take a look at what time their office hours fall for you here in the UK, and schedule the pitch email accordingly.
For UK-based publications, the prime time to send article pitches is before 8:30am, and then before 2:30pm. These windows are where editors will generally have their meetings to decide what content to post out that day. You want to be fresh in their mind as they do so!
Finally, be aware of the calendar. Seasonal dates can really boost your chances of getting placements — if the Great British Bake-Off finale is coming up, send out that bakery article and capitalise on it. It’ll be exactly what the journalist is looking for!