This is the second of two articles in our professional pitching series. The first five tips on pitching are here.
Creativity counts when you’re pitching. As we said in the first article:
Few writers pay sufficient attention to pitching. Think of it this way: pitching is IDEAS. Everyone needs ideas. Your job as a writer, is to be a fountain of ideas.
You need tools and strategies to be creative with pitches, so that you can pitch every single day. Nothing is more important.
If you’re a beginning writer, please realize that every pitch is an audition.
You can pitch a magazine once a month for many months, before the editor picks up the phone and calls you. As the months pass without any response, you can feel that you’re wasting your time. You’re not… keep pitching. People want what they want. They may not want any of the ideas you pitch. However, they will get a sense of the kind of writer you are, and what you can do. Sooner or later, something will come along which is perfect for you, and they’ll ask you to write it.
On with the tips…
6. Give people what they want
As we’ve said: people want what they want. When you’re pitching, watch what the publication or company does. Sign up for their newsletter if they have one. Study their website. Do Google searches for everyone who’s associated with the company. Read their Twitter feed.
You can’t do all of this on the same day, of course. Once you have an idea of what a publication or company MAY want (you can never be sure), pitch an idea or two.
Add the prospect to your “pitch list.”
I like to keep pitches in a spreadsheet. I create a folder for the publication/ company on my computer.
Next, I create a schedule for pitching to this prospect, to send them a pitch once a month. Remember, in a real sense, you’re auditioning.
When you approach pitching as a campaign to get a new client, rather than sending out scattershot pitches to whoever hits your radar screen, you’ll get results. Always.
7. Follow trends (but not too closely)
Keep an eye on trends. For example, when 50 Shades of Grey became the hottest ebook trilogy in publishing last year, many writers jumped on the bandwagon and created clones.
Some writers did very well with this. 50 Shades readers were looking for more of the same kind of experience.
Other writers however, looked at the characters in the 50 Shades books, and wrote “New Adult” fiction. The New Adult fiction category is directly related to 50 Shades – it swept into publishing like a whirlwind, and as USA Today says, these books are “roaring up the best-seller list.”
If you spot a trend, look deeply into it. Get creative. See what YOU can do with it.
8. Review your pitches regularly and repurpose them
You’re sending out many pitches. How many? If you’re a full-time writer, I recommend five a day, if you can.
This means that you’ll end up with a lot of pitches to which no one responded. Use them. Slant the ideas to other companies, and publications. Turn them into something else. One of my oldest friends turns her “old” pitches into short reports and ebooks.
9. Piggyback your pitches to the news
When you’re creating pitches, do a search of Google News. If you can tie a pitch to something in the news, this can make it more appealing.
You won’t always be able to do this, but if you can manage it, it’s a great strategy.
10. Back up your pitches with samples and/ or examples
I’m always advising you to blog because every blog post you write is a writing sample. Your blog(s) inspire trust.
When you pitch, you’re approaching people who’ve never heard of you before. If you audition – send pitches regularly – they’ll take notice. They’ll get to know you. Your blog (include the link in your email signatures) helps them to get to know you even more. If nothing else, regular blogging suggests that you’re a reliable writer. Being reliable is a huge asset.
Good luck with your pitches. Enjoy pitching. It’s huge fun. It will take you anywhere you want to go as a writer.
If you’re a beginning writer, and pitch regularly, you’ll outshine professional writers who are lazy, and expect the world to arrive at their door. How many pitches will you create today?