Pitching 101: Get Your Writing Published | Anna Codrea-Rado | Skillshare

Pitching 101: Get Your Writing Published

Anna Codrea-Rado, Writer, editor, teacher

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8 Lessons (18m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:28
    • 2. Finding Your Story

      3:54
    • 3. Fine Tuning Your Idea

      2:06
    • 4. Finding A Publication

      2:57
    • 5. Drafting Your Pitch

      1:50
    • 6. Sending Your Pitch

      2:40
    • 7. Dealing With Rejection

      1:27
    • 8. Celebrating Success

      1:29

About This Class

Want to get your writing published online? Have a great story idea but are unsure how to get it in front of the right editor?

In this 20-minute video class, you'll learn how to pitch story ideas to editors to get your writing published online. 

The class is taught by Anna Codrea-Rado, a journalist with ten years of experience both editing and writing for international media outlets. 

This class is ideal for early-career level writers, bloggers, content makers, and anyone looking to perfect their pitching skills. 

In this class, you will learn:

  • What is a good story
  • Where to find story ideas
  • How to write a pitch
  • Where to send your pitch

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hello, My name is Anna. And welcome to my skill share class on how to pitch digital editors In a series of short video clips, we will be talking about some tools and techniques you can use to get your writing published online. I'm a journalist with 10 years experience working for international digital publications. I'm currently in news editor advice on I was previously an editor at The Guardian. As an editor, I have fielded hundreds of pictures from writers. Andi as a right to myself. I have pitched hundreds of story ideas to editors. This class is aimed at early career level writers, bloggers and content makers who are looking to find you in there. Pitching process. Maybe you've been writing your own block now for a while, but you're looking for other writing opportunities. Or maybe you're a student journalist with a fantastic story idea, but you're not sure where and how to go about pitching the idea to an editor. In this class, you will learn the basics of what makes a great story idea where to find a story, how to write it up into a pitch and how went descended to editors equipping you with all of the knowledge you need to perfect your pitching process Project for this class will be writing off a pitch that you can then uses a template when pitching your real story ideas to really digital editors. I can't wait to see all of the cost projects, and I can't wait to get started, So let's jump right in with the first lesson. 2. Finding Your Story: in this first lesson, we're going to start at the beginning and talk about what makes a great story and where to find one. Because before you can pitch an editor a story first, you must find the idea. So what makes for a great story? A great story is surprising, teaches you something that you didn't already know, has some tension in it and, ideally, has a compelling character. For example, I recently wrote a story about why people should consider adopting older dogs instead of Puffy's. This was a great story because it was surprising you don't often read stories about older dogs. It taught you something new because I included some little known facts about why older dogs make such great pets. It had some tension in it because I included some statistics that show that, unfortunately, the adoption rates for older dogs are significantly lower than they are for puppies. And it had a compelling character because the leads character in my story was a dog. Why? To find a great story idea? There are numerous places that you could look for good story ideas, and to a large extent it's personal. From writer to writer how they go about finding their stories. What I'm going to talk about three ways that I use to find my story. It is one of the best ways to find great story ideas is to read as widely as you possibly can on the area that you want to write about. Subscribe to magazines, read website blog's Anything that you can get your hands on to learn as much as you can about your subject area. Because the more you know about your subject area, they're better equipped. You are to know when a new development arises or when a new trend emerges. Also, by reading as much as you can about the subject area, you may find stories within other stories. For example, you might want to write about technology. And so you read a story about how an iPhone app can help with people's productivity. In the story, there's a reference to a scientific study that has made a new discovery about how the brain works, but it doesn't go into too much detail. You could use that as a jumping off point to research ah, whole new story idea about the relationship between technology and how the brain works. Talking to people talking to people is a fantastic way to find great stories because people have really good stories to tell. So next time you're talking to your friends, your co workers or even the guy that you buy a coffee from in the morning, be on the lookout for any good stories they might have to tell, it could be intentional. You could ask them, Hey, have you got a good story to tell May or it could be unintentional. They may just mention in passing about the time that they tried out for the Olympics or their friend who started a Rudy really amazing social enterprise. You never know where conversation can lead you. Social media is an excellent tool for finding stories. Twitter, reddit, Facebook, soundcloud. All of these platforms are fantastic pools of information. You can search on social media by the topic areas that you're interested in to see what people are talking about to give you leads for story ideas. You can set up a lot on Twitter or one of my favorites, Google, for finding good story ideas, for example, going back to if you want to write about technology. You could set up an alert on Google for technology iPhone productivity and just play around with it and see what comes back. To recap a good story idea is surprising teaches you something that you didn't already know , has tension and has a compelling character. Three places to find good story ideas are reading, talking to people and social media. The assignment for this class is to can't with a subject area that you would like to write about and using some of the tools that we talked about in this lesson. Start researching ideas within that subject area to write about. 3. Fine Tuning Your Idea: So you have a great story idea before you can pitch it to an editor. We need to talk about fine tuning it. Firstly, research. Once you have a great idea, we need to check whether it's been written about before. You can do this by simply googling your idea to see if it's been written about, and if it has to make sure that your angle is different or you've taken a fresh approach to the idea. It's absolutely fine if someone has written about your story idea before, but you just need to make sure you don't pitch the same place. The same idea. Make sure your idea is for a story rather than a topic. What do I mean by this? A topic is gentrification. A story is the battle of a 50 year old local London store that's fighting off property developers, facts and figures. If your story is predicated on assumptions, make sure that you back these up with facts, figures and statistics. For example, if you want to write about gentrification in London, you can research the fluctuation of average house prices in a particular neighborhood in London over the last few years and Lastly, a headline first approach. This I find to be really helpful when I'm trying to find June 1 of my story ideas. You want to think about what the headline of the story would look like, or how can you sum up your entire story idea into a sentence? For example, if you were describing to your friend that you were writing a story about gentrification, you could say to them that this story was about a bitter battle off one of London's longest running shoe stores to fight off property developers who are trying to turn it into a trendy coffee shop that would probably peak their interest a lot more than if you just described it as a story about gentrification in London. To recap in this lesson, we went over three ways to find junior story idea research, making sure you have a story, not a topic, and take a headline first approach. The assignment for this lesson is to take the idea that you researched in the first lesson and use the tools that we've just spoken about to summarize your idea into a one sentence description 4. Finding A Publication: in this lesson, we're going to be talking about researching publications. You're going to want to start with the list of publications that you think would be interested in your story idea. A really simple way to come up with that list is to start with the publications that you read. Being familiar with the publications you want to pitch to is one of the best ways to help your story get published in those publications. For example, if there is a technology block that you read religiously and no inside out, your chances of knowing what kind of story idea they would be interested in are significantly higher than if you pitch to a publication that you have never read before. You'll need to tailor your pitch to the specific publication that you're writing for. For example, if the technology blawg that you write for has a particular voice or tone, be mindful of that when you're pitching to them, as chances are, they will expect that you to adopt a similar tone. Also, be mindful that if you're pitching about a particular topic that the publication you're contacting actually covers that topic. For example, if you want to write about technology. There's no point in pitching a website that only covers entertainment and lifestyle. Unless, of course, the angle you've taken to your story about technology is relevant to that entertainment and lifestyle publication. We're now going to talk about ways that you can look for. Editors. Contact details. A great place to start is on the publication's website in there about a section that contact pages with their masthead. You might strike lucky and find their contact details right there on their website. If there no, that's okay, we can just do a little digging. Start by thinking about what particular section you think your story would best fit into. For example, if you want to write about technology for a large publication, you want to try and figure out who the technology editor is. You could do a simple search on Twitter linked in or even Google, for the technology editor off that particular publication, Email addresses from most publications will follow the same format. So if you can't find the actual email address of the person you're looking for, if you can figure out the former off the email address, you can usually work out what that person's email address would be. So, for example, let's say you are trying to pitch a publication called the technology blogger dot com. And you know that that the editor you're looking for is called John Smith, but you don't know his actual email address. But you do know the email address for Sarah Jones, which is sarah dot Jones at the technology publication dot com. You can figure out that John Smith's email address is most likely to be john dot smith at the technology block dot com. To recap in this lesson, we learned how to find editors. Contact details to make sure you research the publication, your pitching and how to tailor your pitch to that publication for this assignment. Europe. A list of three publications that you think would be interested in the story idea that you came up with in the previous lesson. 5. Drafting Your Pitch: in this video, we're going to be talking about drafting your pitch. I will walk through what needs to go into your email that you're going to be sending to editors what to include, how long it should be and what time to adopt. I recommend keeping email pictures to no more than three paragraphs for at the absolute maximum if the story is particularly complex. I like to start off my pictures with a short and snappy introduction about myself. Firstly, just because I think it's polite to introduce yourself before launching into your sale. But also it's very important to demonstrate that you have the capability of doing this story. So maybe include a few links to a couple of other stories that you've had published or a link to your block. And then in the next paragraph, you go straight in with your story idea. You could even open that paragraph with some variation on that sentence that we spoke about in a previous lesson, summarizing your story idea and then maybe go into a couple more sentences, rounding it out. And then in the third paragraph, you want to give evidence as to why the story is important and why it should be told now. Here would be a great place to include a couple of key statistics that support your idea and make it relevant or newsworthy and give it a wider context. To recap, keep your pitch to no more than three paragraphs. Include one paragraph on who you are in any relevant writing experience that you have another paragraph summarizing what your story idea is. And then your final paragraph should include evidence as to why your stories important backing up with any relevant statistics and facts. The assignment for this class is to start drafting the first paragraph of your pitch, which is simply going to be an introduction of yourself, who you are and any relevant writing experience that you have. 6. Sending Your Pitch: in this lesson, we're going to be talking about sending the pitch. When should you send your pitch? In the grand scheme of things, it's not going to matter a huge deal. How you send an email. If the idea are strong, chances are it will get picked. But there are a couple of things that you can do to ensure your email stands out in a crowded inbox to start with. Think about your subject line very carefully. I always like to put the work pitch and then a code on and then the grabbing headline that I've come up with for my story idea as the subject line of my email pictures. For example, pitch why you should adopt a senior dog this November in terms of what time? Descend your pitch. Well, it doesn't really matter a whole lot, as you're never going to be able to know what time someone is more likely to be in front of their computer. And in the mood for reading emails. However, there are a few things that you should bear in mind. Avoid sending your pitch late at night or on weekends. The chances of it being read are significantly lower, and the chances of it being buried in spam or emotional emails are significantly higher. Also, be mindful of time zones. If you're pitching an editor in a different time zone to you, try to send the email so arrives in their daytime. Should you pitch multiple editors the same story at the same time? Unless the story is very time sensitive, it is always best to wait to hear response from one editor before sending the story to another editor. You don't want to risk two people accepting the same pitch at the same time and then having to tell one of them. Oh, actually, sorry I sent it to somebody else as well. And then this brings me to my final point following up. This might be the most nerve wracking aspect off pitching, an idea to an editor. How long should you wait before you get in touch with them again? If the story isn't particularly time sensitive on this good work is quite large. Give the editor a little bit of time, perhaps up to a week, to think about the story idea. Feli. If the story is quite time sensitive, perhaps it's pegged to an event that's happening in a few days time. It's fine to contact them within 24 hours. Just always be polite and respectful to recap When sending a pitch to an editor, be mindful of the time of day you're sending it. Think carefully about the subject line and wait until you hear back before sending your pitch elsewhere. The assignment for this class is to work on the second paragraph of your story pitch. This is the meat of the pitch, so include the summary of what the story idea is and a few more sentences rounding out. 7. Dealing With Rejection: in this lesson, we're going to be talking about how to deal with rejection. As unfortunately, it's inevitable that not every story idea you pitch is going to be accepted. Speaking from personal experience, I've had countless story ideas rejected by editors, but it's very important not to get disheartened just because a story idea hasn't been accepted by one editor, it doesn't mean it's not a good idea, and it doesn't mean that it won't be accepted by another editor. There are numerous reasons why a story idea might not be accepted by an editor, which have nothing to do with the writer or story idea itself. For example, budgetary constrictions. The freelance budget might be really small or non existent. Another writer might already be working on that story. Or the story idea simply doesn't fit with that editorial planning. These are things you can't control for, so they don't really matter. The most important thing you can do is to try and get be back. If the editor responds and says that they're going to pass on the story, reply and say that you completely understand and asked politely if they would be able to provide any feedback. What you do need to figure out, though, is if there was something missing in your pitch idea that you could go back research on a dress for the next time you pitched the idea elsewhere. The assignment for this lesson is to draft the final paragraph of your pitch idea in which you should include any wider context about why the story is relevant to be told now on any key facts and figures. 8. Celebrating Success: And in this last video, we're going to be talking about celebrating success. What happens when an editor accepts your idea? There are three things we're going to be talking about in this lesson for When and Editor accepts your story idea. The 1st 1 is rates. Make sure you establish what the rate of pay for the story will be and how and when it will be paid to you. Then make sure you take on board any changes that the editor has asked for you to make to your pitch. And lastly, make sure that you file your story on time in the format that they've asked and triple check for any typos or grammatical errors to recap. If you've had a story idea accepted by an editor, there are three things you need to make sure you do. Establish your rate of pay. Make sure you taken onboard any changes the editor has requested to the pitcher idea. Make sure you file clean copy on time and in the format that they've asked. The final assignment for the class project is to put together your drop pitch, go back over the tools we talked about in the videos to make sure you have a solid story idea. Then using the three paragraphs you've already been working on is a starting point right up your pitch as though you were going to send it to an editor. Include your list of three publications that you think would be interested in the story.