On a coaching call this week, a client reminded me of a favorite feeling: when a comment sends a knowing tingle down your spine, and you think “Hey, this could be a story.”
My impulse is to send the idea to an editor right then! On my phone! But oh no. There are steps to getting a pitch actually accepted.
For your story to reach readers, the editor needs to feel that spark first. That takes work.
By the time I send the pitch, I have 25% of the reporting and writing done ahead of time.
Do you want to know how?
Find your angle:
- In a few words, what is this story about?
- Why is this work unique?
- What’s your proposed headline?
Do some research:
- Bulk up your pitch with concrete facts, not just ideas.
- Try to include at least one big statistic.
- Ask experts to chat for 15 minutes to test out your idea. Secure future interviews you can promise the editor if the story gets picked up.
See what’s already out there:
- How has the topic been covered? What’s been said already?
- Where are there holes — e.g. unexplored aspects, perspectives, or voices (that your work can fill)?
- Demonstrate the need for your story.
Organize the info:
- Document all the research, resources, and potential story content you come across.
- The Writer’s Mission Control Center is a great tool for keeping track of all of this, including the pitches you send.