How to Pitch a Story

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I was recently published on IFB. I made it one of my goals in February to start pitching stories to larger publications and getting published more and more. They published my article on writing a content marketing plan for your blog. I have a few pieces at a few other websites that will go live in March. 

If you've ever had a genius idea for a post that just didn't really, well, fit with your blog, you might have thought that meant that the idea should just... go away. Wrong! Pitch that story to a larger website, like IFB or HelloGiggles. Not sure how to go about it? Here are some steps. 

1. Review the websites contributor policy. 

Most larger blogs that accept submissions have a policy for contributors. It's usually in the footer links of the website. This is HelloGiggles, as an example. This policy gives you instructions of how to submit a pitch, what they need, and what they want from any submissions. 

2. Have an idea. 

It's easy to just send out a bunch of emails saying, "Hey, I want to write something!" But before you hit send, make sure you're sending an actual, concrete idea. Even better, have part of an article written before you do anything. 

3. Write the email. 

Make sure that the subject line meets standards. (As an example, Rookie accepts submissions, but you have to use the correct subject line. Again, read those policies!) Introduce yourself and then write a brief paragraph outlining your idea. Why do you think it would be good for that website? How would it help readers? Be sure to include a link to your blog and any writing samples you have available. Double (and maybe triple) check your email for mistakes before you hit send. 

4. Play the waiting game. 

Waiting to hear back is the hardest part. I had the quickest turn around from IFB, but for others, it can take weeks. 

5. Get published... or not. 

Boom! Your pitch gets accepted. What now? Time to write! Sit down and write the post you promised. Send it in the format they asked for (most publications are OK with Word doc format). Make sure to include a brief bio at the end! And again, play the waiting game. They'll usually let you know of an approximate publish date. 

But wait, what if they pass on the pitch? Well, that sucks. But don't take it too hard. Move on and send the pitch somewhere else. So it wasn't right for one website... maybe there is another one it would be perfect for. Do some research and find it a home. A professor in college always said that if she ever got a rejection letter, she immediately submitted either the same piece or another piece to a different magazine because it kept the momentum going. No matter what: keep the momentum going!