Jacqui Thornton's tips for pitching a story

All of us journalists dream of getting our story published in a magazine, especially one that we read and look up to already. But before you can do this you must master pitching a story to an editor. Freelancer Jacqui Thornton tells us how with her top tips:

Show the ability to deliver 

You must show the editor you have the access to the people you need to interview. 

Think about the pictures

Never forget the pictures as even something like this will be a concern to the editor. It’s best to already have your collect pictures and send them with the email/pitch in low resolution. 

Match the style of the publication 

Make sure that the style replicates the magazine you are pitching too, therefore learn as much as you can about it. 

You have to be accurate

As a freelancer you don’t have a lawyer, you become one. You will need to check your own article. Or depending on ones self esteem you can get the person the articles about the double check the facts. BUT remind them it is the facts that they are checking and NOT the style ( often people want to change the style) 

Only mention money when your pitch has been commissioned

This is important if you want to get paid. Ask them who your invoice needs to be sent too. But never mention any of this until you have been given the approval. 

You need a killer first paragraph 

You need to show you can write in a compelling way and there’s no better way than in the first paragraph. In this paragraph you must summarise what your article is about in the first paragraph. 

Discuss why your story would effect people 

In the second paragraph you must give the ‘nut grab’ the reason why your story would effect/interest people. 

Include who you will interview.

In the third paragraph you must tell the editor your set plans of who you will be interviewing. Even better you would have done this already. Say who they are ( not just a ‘dr’ give their full name/details) and explain why they’re relevant to this story. 

Wrap up (in final paragraph) 

Explain again why this story is new/important and in your final paragraph include a bio of yourself including your contacts as reference. 

Don’t include attachments 

They’re too much effort for a editor to open they need to see everything in a body of the email. 

Subject field needs to be gripping

5/7 words of what your story is about. 

Consider lead time

A pitch about a story for the summer emailed in May is too late. 

No American Spellings or grammatical errors. 

We live in the UK- and there’s really no excuse. 

(When sending your pitch to a magazine obviously you may have a few that you would like it to feature in. But do give an order of priority of each magazine. You can either tell them it’s exclusive or you can send it ‘all around,’ it depends on your circumstances and the story. Usually it’s a good idea to send all around. But the style must be individual for each magazine.) 

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