Break Into Journalism : pitch & publish to high authority publications. | Damien Walter | Skillshare

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Break Into Journalism : pitch & publish to high authority publications.

teacher avatar Damien Walter, Writer for The Guardian, BBC, Wired.

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      What is a High Authority publication?


    • 2.

      Who wants to publish High Authority?


    • 3.

      In the business of story


    • 4.

      You need an angle


    • 5.

      Know your community


    • 6.

      Exercise: Community Map


    • 7.

      Hack: Finding Angles


    • 8.

      Bonus: Business Angles


    • 9.

      Practice : Writing The Perfect Pitch


    • 10.

      Practice : Writing The Perfect Pitch 2


    • 11.

      Formats For Stories


    • 12.

      Finding Editors


    • 13.

      Negotiate pay


    • 14.

      Turn a gig into a job


    • 15.

      Build Your Own Platform


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About This Class

Getting published in a high authority publication can transform your career and massively boost your earnings. But with thousands of writers competing for the privilege, competition is fierce.

The Perfect Pitch is an easy to learn system for finding, formatting and pitching stories that will massively increase your chances of breaking into high authority publications.


This course will give you an insider look at how to pitch and publish at high authority level, from a 15 year veteran with bylines including The Guardian, BBC, Wired, Independent, Buzzfeed, Aeon and many more high authority publications.

  • What’s the REAL business of high authority publications? Knowing this changes everything.
  • Learn the 3 pillars of making the perfect pitch: Community, Story and Angle.
  • Understand the key formats that high authority publications use to tell stories.
  • Mine online resources like Reddit to find killer angles.
  • Lever the power of social media to find editors and grow your network.
  • How to negotiate pay effectively, and turn a one off gig into a long-term job.

Meet Your Teacher

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Damien Walter

Writer for The Guardian, BBC, Wired.


Damien Walter ( BA / MA / PGCHE / HEA) teaches good writers how to be great. His research and critical writing have been published in The Guardian, Wired, BBC, The Independent, Aeon and with Oxford University Press. He is a former director of creative writing at the University of Leicester, a member of the Higher Education Academy, and a graduate of the Clarion writers workshop taught by Neil Gaiman. He consults widely for businesses in technology, healthcare, and manufacturing to help them tell great stories.


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Level: Intermediate

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1. What is a High Authority publication?: Hello, guys. Thank you for watching. Welcome to my house in Bali. Uh, I may for a few months focusing really hard on some commission writing projects. Also, my own creative writing's on kind of head down, focusing on the words deep in the word minds. And I wanted to take some time out from doing that, Billy, to make this short course, which is on how to pitch on publish to high authority publications. One of the things I get asked all of the time because I have a long track record off publishing in major publications like The Guardian, where I've Bean, a regular contributor for almost a decade now the BBC, Wired magazine, Buzzfeed, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press of The Independent. And actually, that's a considerably longer list that I could continue to give you part of my work as well . I do work with individuals and businesses who want to communicate their message out to these big high authority publications, so I could actually had probably another 40 to 50 publications. On top of that, the high powered people make pictures full and get stories placed in on. That is the pivotal word that we're gonna be talking about in terms of how to get your writing into these publications on that is story. Now that I've mentioned the term a few times, what do I mean by high authority publication? The easiest way to demonstrate that is to say some names The New York Times or the guardian of High Authority newspapers Vogue magazine or Teen Vogue, which is really popular at the moment are high authority magazines. You have high authority websites, places like other having turn post or buzzfeed on, you know have in our modern age, which is full of publications as select number of publications which you can call high authority. And it's really this this time authority that we're thinking about these publications are important because they have built a business around doing something which is very difficult to achieve. They have attracted the attention and held the attention of a very large audience. So high authority publications are typically those that have in the region off over a 1,000,000 regular readers, and that's a very difficult task because a huge number of people are competing for that attention. Every business in the world needs the attention off customers who are going to buy its products. A huge number of individuals, from bloggers to instagrammers to television celebrities to political candidates, are also trying to get the attention of people who they want to watch their YouTube channel vote for the middle election. So whatever we're trying to achieve today, we find that attention is one of things that we often need to get in order to achieve it. High authority publications, once they've gathered that pull the retention, have then also built, ah, high level off trust and hence, authority with those readers. Now that's really important, because you can gather a lot of attention publishing crazy cat videos. Comedy means whatever it may be. Well, no, what people look at on what goes viral on the Internet, but that doesn't necessarily imply authority. Ah, High Authority publication is publishing stories that people have a high degree trust in that they believe on that they will often act upon. Now this means that if ah high authority publication like, for instance, the Guardian Technology section, if that section which attracts millions of readers every day, who trust what's being said, pick up, for instance, your Kickstarter for a new product and say We're guardian. Think this is a really valuable and interesting product. Then you are see the huge boost toe. Whatever you're trying to achieve this clearly is why so many people are interested in publishing in these high authority publications. 2. Who wants to publish High Authority?: So who specifically is interested in achieving high authority publication? Well, if you're watching this talk, I'm going to assume that you are on going to think that you probably fit into one of a number of categories all people who be trying to achieve that task. And as we go through the talk, I probably refer back to these little's. First of all, you have journalists are aspiring journalists, people like myself, professional writers who worked for a number of publications as part off their professional career on They get paid for doing that. Obviously, if you can make it into publications like The Guardian, like The Washington Post, like any of these higher 40 publications, you're performing at the top of your career. So it's the ambition of every journalist. If they started off as a blogger, which I did, my first writing was all for my own block or if they are working local newspaper. Everyone in the journalism field is ambitious to work these high authority publications. Then you have a category of people who I call generally experts. They are academics. There are researchers, scientists or professionals in specific fields, very often like marketing business builds, and they want to communicate their expertise out to the world. Now, in the modern age of the Internet, online publishing experts have become more and more central towards what high authority publications do. These publications employ fewer journalists, fewer start writers, and they bring in more experts. Now the third category is what we might loosely call influencers. It's eternity is very widely now in marketing. In fact, influencer marketing makes up about 40% three average marketing spend from major businesses . Moment influences of people have a big YouTube channel against the Grand Channel. People have a lot of Twitter followers. These individuals do hold a massive influence. Somebody like Casey Neistat, for instance, who is probably the most successful youtuber out there at the moment, his millions of followers, absolutely fascinated by what Casey says on influences, work with high authority publications in two ways. They often want to write in them to grow their influence to attract more followers, and also then with the influence they will often work with high authority publications on behalf off advertisers are not going to go more into that business model moment. There are other places you can look into influencer marketing. We might touch on it again, but it's quite likely if you're watching this that moment that you are, in fact yourself on influencer. The fourth category of individuals, organizations of business is business people on these businesses. You have a new product launch commonly tech companies, consumer product companies, cosmetics companies on there, looking to get stories about their products into higher authority publications, which is actually very difficult to achieve because of publication like Guardian doesn't necessarily want to write about a new lipstick that's not gonna grow its authority with its audience. But nonetheless, this is very major area of high authority. Writing and publishing on the fifth and final category are causes. This covers a huge range of issues. It might be charitable causes. Fundraising for global refugees might be political causes individual politicians who are running election campaigns and political parties. It's really anything the people are trying to get the word out about on persuade on audience around. And of course, all of these causes absolutely focused on trying to get their message out in high authority publications 3. In the business of story: Now, if you learn only one thing from this talk, I want it to be this one thing. I want to re iterated at this point so powerfully to you that it becomes impossible to forget, because the number one mistake that people make who are pitching toe any high authority publication is misunderstanding. One. It is that that publication does on all high authority publications do the same thing. In this way, what they do is no publish News is not published. Articles is not publish interviews. These were all formats that will talk about a little later. These publications use all high authority publications air in the same business and they in the business off telling stories. This is the one thing that you absolutely have to understand in order to successfully pitch of these publications there telling stories. Each publication has its own stories, its own areas of expertise that it's writing in. But fundamentally, they're all involved with this same activity storytelling they're taking, whether it's events in the world's happenings within a specific industry, news events, fashion items, wherever it may be on their telling stories about it. And when you're making a pitch to these higher 40 publications, you're telling them what story you want to tell for them. To illustrate this point. I want to take a look at today's Guardian website, and I want to have a look at the kind of stories that featured across the website and in the newspaper today. I mean is worth thinking a little bit at this point about the divide now between print publications and online publications. Even when I start professionally writing for higher authority publications, print was still the gold standard websites for out there, but they're very often run by Saturday start by interns and particularly a big established publications in print. They weren't taken seriously. That has completely changed now print publications dying off left, right and center. The website is the focus off really every single high authority publication out there. We have perhaps the exception of some remaining glossy fashion magazines who still have a particular market, the kind of advertising that they provide. So if we just look at the front page here, we have some big stories that the Guardian is serious newspaper. I thought we don't need to reiterate that it tells on the whole serious stories. So we're looking at stories about Donald Trump. We're looking at the war in Syria. These clearly related stories and Trump is the president. United States of America is unbelievable, as that might seem on the war is here is a very big part of his presidency. If we look at some of the other sections in the gun, you see different kinds of really non news stories. Let's look at at opinion. So under the opinion section, you have a different approach to storytelling. But many of the same stories look at Syria, and you can see all the elements that have led toe World wars. So you see this story here by the regular garden calmly. Simon Jenkins. So the former has changed. That story remains the same, and this is taking stores One of the key points about the way that higher priority publications D always storytelling. Let's look under the Culture section film What's the secret to the Rocks? Success. Let's think about culture coverage. We have here a story about the road, but he's part off a biggest story because over the course of a number of years, The Guardian has run many stories about the rock in the same way as it will run many stories about Donald Trump, and it will run many stories about the war in Syria. So stories the authority publications cover a bigger than individual articles or interviews or opinion pieces on this is the big thing to understand about storytelling in high authority publications. These stories are bigger than individual pieces that bigger than individual writers, and they're bigger than you, bigger than you, the person making the pitch. 4. You need an angle: So the most basic mistake that writers make when they're pitching higher authority publications is that they pitch stories that aren't relevant to that publication. If you're pitching a story about a new line of high end cosmetics, if you pitch that story toe Wired magazine why it isn't interested. Cosmetics, beauty and fashion are not the stories that Wired magazine is telling. But if you go and pitch that story to marry Claire, you have a much better chance. And this is really the most basic rule off making a great pitch. Know the stories that the publication your pitching to is telling. And if you have a specific story or telling, know the publications that are in the market to tell that story. What ever the story is that you want to tell when you make a single pitch to a publisher, you're not pitching the whole story, and this, again, is a very common mistake that writers make. Let's say you want to write a piece on Donald Trump. You're not writing the whole story of Donald Trump. That might be a job for a biographer or a number of biographers. At various times, you're writing one angle on the Donald Trump story. If you're making a pitch for a new tech product, what you're trying to do is find a story that that tech product is part off. If it's, let's, say, a new smartphone from a Chinese manufacturer, you're trying to put that smartphone in the context off the overriding story off smartphones, which is dominated by Apple and to a lesser extent, Samson. So ideally, you're looking for an angle on your smartphone, which places it in the context of the big story about the Apple iPhone, which most technology publications who are interested in that story are focused upon on. This is really one of the very, very, very cool things to understand about making a good pitch. You need to know what the story is that you're tapping into. The story is bigger than you, and you need to find a really great angle on that story. Again. A really common mistake in making a pitch is pitching an angle, which is out of sync with story as it's being toned in these publications because stories progress over time. If I make a pitch to a publication about George Clooney and his upcoming role in the Batman movies. Clearly, this pitch is 15 20 years out of date on. Even if editors respond, they're just going to come back and say, Well, you know, we already covered that George Clooney was going to making Batman movies. In fact, he made the Batman movies. They have Bean on Gone. Now that's a slightly absurd example. The stories progress over time. Andi writers who are repeatedly making failing pitches to editors, tend to be out of sync with where the story is. You want your pitch to be saying what's happening with that story right now? You want to be talking about the latest events in the war in Syria? No, what happened a month ago and know what you think might be happening six months from now. It's just impossible to pitch a ahead of where the story has progressed to. There is particularly important in, for instance, political stories where there is an ebb and flow toe opinion about those stories. So, for instance, you have a political figure. Let's take Jeremy Corbyn in the UK Jeremy Corbyn eyes the left wing leader off the Labour Party in the UK on for a long time. Jeremy Corbyn was very, very unpopular. And to publish a story about drumming Corman, it had to be in sync with that unpopularity. Then feelings. An opinion changes Jeremy Corbyn's standing changes, and he's now much more popular political figure in the UK, although still quite unpopular with many people who work in the media. So now, to be in sync with the story, you need to reflect that changing popularity. So these two elements work together story and your angle on the story. You need to know the story very well. You need to have researched it so that you understand what the progress of the events in the story, and so that when you make your pitch, you can find a unique pitch, which is in tune with the progress off the story. And if you have these two elements working together a relevant story and a great angle on that story, then you're going to really nail your pictures 5. Know your community: So the big question, once you're thinking in the right terms about stories on about finding great angle on most stories, is where two stories come from already fine stories. The answer to that question is another really important term toe. Think about on, understand so that you have the right mindset to make great pitch. That's community. What do I mean by community? Where all members off many different communities. There are geographic communities that were part of the neighborhood that you live in the city that you commute across to get a work. Were members often off social Andi political communities, political parties, sporting teams, these all communities there, groups of people who communicate with each other who have a shared message. And you have shed stories for you as a writer pitching to hire party publications. The crucial question is, who is my community? No, you can use other words for community. You can use Tribe. Who is my tribe? What stories My telling about my tribe. It might be your niche is a very common term. Your what's your niche audience, your niche market, that you are telling stories about telling stories to a turn that you might vote for many professional journalists. Is there beat? What's their beat? Are you on the Washington politics beat? Are you on the consumer tech beat? All of these times we're talking about the same thing. They're talking about communities and the stories that communities share. So I'm gonna give you on example over community that I've done a lot of writing about, which is the science fiction community. Some of my earliest published professional writing was talking about science fiction. I love it. I'm a big geek, really. But I've done a lot of writing about his community, and I've been able to do that because I understand community really well, I know loads off really influential science fiction fans who were just massive fan boys and girls. I know a lot professional SciFi writers, editors, agents, movie producers, You know that I know that community really, really well, and that means that when stories happen in that community, I will probably know about it long before outsiders to the community and owned enable to pitch those stories and great angles on those stories to various high authority publications. So that's one of my communities and the question for you is what's your community? What's your niche? What's your beat? And how well do you really know that community? If you're a travel writer? If you're writing about rock climbing, if you're covering athletic sprinting. If you're writing about politics, charitable causes, you really need to know your community very, very well, because that's where the stories are coming from on again. One of the classic mistakes writers who are failing in their pictures makers. They don't really know their community as well as they think they do, so this is a really important step. Know your community. 6. Exercise: Community Map: now when I'm teaching this topic, which I've done that many different universities and specialist institutions of digital writing, publishing, online pitching, publishing and high authority publications. At this point, question I always get asked is How do I know what my community is? How do I find my community on whatever not just a member of one community? I have lots of interests. So this is an absolutely valid question, and you think back to those individuals who would be interested in publishing and high authority publications other than journalists who are, in a sense, picking the community they're writing about. Everybody else comes weather set community. If you're an expert, it's the area of expertise. If you're an astrophysicist and you want to publish into higher forage publications, you're writing stories that come from the Astro physics community. If you're an influence or YouTube influence about health and beauty about yoga, possibly if you're on Instagram Yogi, then your stories air coming from the yogic community. So this is important to remember at the same issue with businesses and causes as well that your community is really defined by that. But your community is no clearly defined communities are what you might call in mathematics terms fuzzy sets. They do not have hard edges. People bleed from one community to the other. To demonstrate this for you. I'm going to talk about the different communities that my professional writing crosses over into now. To do that, I want to Doria a map, a mind map of the communities that I rightful. In a slight moment of meta, the core of mine community is actually story, story and storytelling on. That's the idea that I place it at the core of my communities on anybody who is a storyteller is in some way a community that I'm talking to. And I've done a lot of writing about advice for telling stories, screenplay development on that kind off area, but then branching out from story as the core of my community. And this is useful for you to think about what's your core community, and in a way, it's the most difficult one to define. You might find yourself having to work your way back to it because it's surrounded by other in some ways more specific communities. So the first form of storytelling that I'm most interested in his books. So with this interested in the story community and then also working over in the books community, and that's publishers, agents, editors, novelists who all see themselves is focused around books and writing below that I have. Well, I'll simply call Saifi. SciFi Fantasy horror These are all the rial, huge interest to me, and they're one of the community's I write in. And, of course, that crosses back up in destroying into books. This is like the central hub off my Matt off communities, then over from this fund, talking about books. What books really contain find ears. So from having established a reputation for writing about books, I was then able to write more broadly about ideas on philosophies that are expressed within books so you can grow your communities laterally by thinking what else that community crosses into from SciFi and fantasy. I was also able toe think more broadly about geeks and the culture, so you see how this map of communities grows over time, but it remains relatively coherent. I keep on identity in my writing. Books also spread out into the culture more broadly from story. I've been able to think about film on TV. I'm from SciFi. I've been able to look at also technology Andi, what were called loosely futurism, making predictions about the future. Now I love the writing that I do. And I love it because I'm able to spread out across all of these identities as a writer. A really useful exercise for you to do. Is this kind of mind mapping off your communities? If you're an established writer, what have you done over the years? What communities have you written into? If you're just starting out, which niche community can you begin with from where do you feel you might able to grow that over time? 7. Hack: Finding Angles: now, once you know your community, your job is a writer or anybody. Telling stories about like community is to be really, really in touch with subscribed toward the newspapers. Follow the major players in that community on Twitter, connect with people on Facebook, attained conferences, doing things that help you get into that community and play a role within communities. Air really made up off lots of people playing different roles. Every community has its stars, who everybody feels that they know in some way communities have information providers. They have their own internal arbiters of opinion and commentators on you find that these repeat in every community that you go into, whether it be the massive community or the United Kingdom politics or the world of international golfing communities or work in actually rather similar ways on what you're trying to do is really be an integral part of your community. And as you do this, you find stories coming out to that community or the time, in fact, in a relentless flood, you'll never have a problem finding great stories to tell about your community. And if you put the work in off looking at what the publications are talk about your community, be it The Washington Post for international politics or golfers monthly for the world off top level Triple A golfing. Then you quickly find this process of making pictures is really easy. Is actually not difficult. A tall on where you are possibly going wrong before he's in. Not understanding thes stages off knowing your community telling stories about the community. Andi Finding great angles on those stories Now I'm going to reveal a trade secret to you. It's a bit of a hack for how to fight and great angles on stories on rarely continual basis . And it's about doubling down on being really connected to your community. Follow the conversations about the stories in your community, read Web forums, read the comments underneath articles gone Look on Reddit enjoying Facebook groups because that's where you find your readers. Your community has stars, people who the story is being told about. But actually the bulk of the community are the people following the story there, the watchers, the readers, they are the community itself on its their opinions, which can tell you what the great angles are. If you look on a Web form, and everyone is saying Donald Trump is basically a big orange clown. There. You have potentially a great angle for a pitch. Has anyone communicated at the high authority level that people think that Donald Trump is a big orange clown? So you're not just telling the Donald Trump story there? You found a slightly absurd, but that is a relevant angle on the story. 8. Bonus: Business Angles: If you think back to those cats, grease off individuals, organizations who want to achieve higher priority publication. One of them was businesses, and I want to just take a moment to look up. How this idea off communities and stories is is relevant for businesses who want basically to get coverage for their products, which is totally valid thing You want to achieve the biggest mistake the businesses making , trying to achieve this on the honestly, a lot off pay public relations people make us well, kind of people he might go to to write a press release for you is that they think that the product is the story now, unless your Steve Jobs launching the iPhone and that's almost the only product I can pick up, the product is never the story. If you want somebody to write in a high authority publication to give coverage to your product, um, you need to understand the story. That product can potentially be part off because it is never this story in itself. So if you're trying to get coverage for a new software as a service website, a new smartphone on you camera tripod, a Kickstarter for one of these technologies, New Bitcoin cloned that you're launching, whatever it is you're looking for, the story that this technology is part of. So let's use this example of a smart Your new smartphone is not the story, but his story might be smartphones that had three cameras, and your Smart by now has three cameras, and this makes it better in the Apple iPhone camera because there is a big story on ongoing , overarching story and higher authority tech publications about the quality off photography . Now there you have a story. You want to find a good angle for that story. You're looking at something like how the like lens beats the home built Apple lends. That's not a great headline, but it is kind of the angle that you want to be going for when you're trying to pitch these business focused product promoting stories to our high authority publications. It's really worth if you are a business when you achieve that, looking into bringing in people to help you with this, because if you're very focused on product design, engineering, running business, even the marketing people in your business probably don't have the right skill set to achieve this, which is why high authority publications tend to just ignore things like press releases from businesses from PR's because they simply aren't doing the job they need to to achieve that publication. 9. Practice : Writing The Perfect Pitch: Okay, So now I have had some really good coffee, and I'm feeling rejuvenated by this tall of my professional traders. A writer. Where I want to do is pull together some of the ideas that we've spoken about so far in this little short course on pitching and publishing in high authority publications and actually practice putting together a pitch on. In order to put this pitch together, we're gonna think about some particular elements. Gonna think about titling subtitling the main body of your pitch, the credentials that you give in terms Did you offer for the pitch that you're making? This is the way that I have evolved making pictures, having made literally thousands of pictures. Not everybody does saying you may encounter some disagreement, but let's just crack on on, get into this way of making a pit which I think you're gonna find really tremendously useful and practical forever you're trying to achieve in high authority publishing first, So I don't always right in this massive front. This is 30 point font and I got up on the screen, so you can you can kind of see what I'm doing and I can talk. You for all this. So I'm just gonna think of something to pitch the kind of thing that I might right myself. I'm hugely excited about the upcoming Avengers movie Avengers. Infinity War. Excuse me? If I getting factual details wrong in this and is making this pitch up off the top of my head to give you an idea of how this all works, So let's just go for it. Let's just put that up there. Avenges free. So we know what this story is. Okay, They were writing about a vengeance free. Now, this is gonna be a big think piece topic in the build up to the release of this film. And now is the perfect time to picture ideas about this couple weeks before the release you're getting to the editors early, they're going to make a decision about who they're going to employ. Let's say that we're making this pitch for the Guardian, The guardian culture section, the film section within the culture section we found the editor that we want to pitch it to are not going to tell you who that is. Sorry. We want to pitch them clear idea in Avengers free. We have the story that this is. Think PC's and about avenges free. What angle are we going to pitch? Have you used my hack from earlier on? You've gone and looked at what the fan base for Avengers for the Marvel Cinematic University movies are into and you've gone and found some ideas there. And here is an idea that I think would work because a vengeance for Infinity War is based on the earlier comic The Infinity Gauntlet. And I'm going to say avenges three can never match the comic book original Avengers Freakin Never match the comic book original. This this is something that I do it if I'm writing about fun topics about geek stuff about side by. I will try and look for a bit of an argument about that, and I'm known for this, but that's because I think these things are fine. We're gonna have fun arguing about them, and it's not something to take too seriously. So Avengers Free can never match the comic book original. Why have I picked on this? So I get I'm going to give you a secret about titling and about finding great angles. There is a thing called a fresh hold issue. This is an idea from Educational Ferry. I'm also a trained teacher, so I've done a lot of educational ferry on the threshold Issues are an idea within a learning curve that is very difficult for people to get over. So this isn't hugely serious issue, but I'm using this. This serious technique, the people who are into Avengers free the movies might not even know that they're comic book sources on their different group of people to the comic book fans. So there will be two responses to this casual viewers of the film will go, of course, films better than comics. You know, they got special effects that got active hundreds of millions of pounds of spent on them. Whilst the comic book fans well really agree with this on, both of these groups of people are gonna pitch up at this article, and they're gonna have a great fun debate about this point. So here is a great title on. This is super important to think about with pitching. What is the title? Let me just make this clear by putting title about this so we have a title Avengers free can never match the client book original with titles today, you need to think about how they're going to play on social media. Will people share this? Yes, People are going to share this title. They're going to see this title on this is there for a story that they were sharing a social media and the people click on and we'll bring traffic to the High Authority publication Who commissioned this from you? This is how it is his think this is what you put in your pitch. You make this the title off your pitch so Avengers free can never match the Compaq original . Then we want to give this a subtitle because we want to expand on the meaning off this title to bring in even more. So how about we go for something like comic books may seem old fashioned about? They still tell the best stories. It's a bit of a soup ality. Of course, there's no such thing as the best story, But again, you're looking for a way to engage people in a debate together, talking about this piece to get from sharing it, and that's what your high authority is. That's what the high authority publication you wanna work for is also looking for So you've got this subtitle there on. Then we've got the body. Now it's worth thinking about about what you do in the body of a pitch. I am a bit obsessive compulsive about things like full stops. So if I've started off not putting forced up self two things and I put a full stop then that has violated my obsessive compulsive disorder about full stops, commas, apostrophes, all that kind of thing. But that's the point. The body, the body of your page is a sentence to paragraph description off what you're gonna say in your pitch. A sentence to paragraph description. What do I mean by that? Well, what we're trying to achieve is that each sentence that you write in this pitch, which is not very long because you don't have a great deal of time to engage Theo Editor it's only gonna bay half a dozen to a dozen sentences long. At most, the each sentence is a paragraph of what you're ultimately right. As a think piece on this topic on you do this for every kind of pitch. If you're pitching a 6000 word long feature. You're gonna maybe do 1/2 page description of that on again. Go with this principle. Sentenced to paragraph one sentence per paragraph. So I'm gonna put you on hold for a second West. I write out the body. That will be a bit boring for you to follow, but I will be right back with you. 10. Practice : Writing The Perfect Pitch 2: okay. And after a few minutes, intense concentration in the hard work tapping at the keyboard. I have a rough sketch of a body text. This is the kind of thing that you're working towards in your pitch to remembering. This is about Avengers free. Marvel movies are the king of the box office, but the original comics where four Iron Man and Captain America got their start, should never be forgotten. Jim Starlin Superlative storytelling blended high concept metaphysics with detail, character work, all backed up by George Praise on Ron limbs. Gorgeous artwork can until our movie without the guiding hand of Joe Sweden at the helm ever match the Galactic Wonder and death off its comic book source. Question mark on. I often like to end the body of a picture of a question mark because it's opening up the discussion. I'm going to go into him or detail for the editor on. A professional editor will understand that this is essentially the opening off the discussion that this block post think peace is going to be bringing out to readers following on from the body text. This is where really I sell myself a little on I don't do it earlier because ultimately you are selling the idea. You are selling the story on the angle on your credentials. Writer don't matter as much as you think they do, and they won't get your gig on their own. But they do help to inspire some confidence. The thing to do if your credentials is put forward in the best light what you have. So I'm gonna put in my credentials, and I do tend to do this in the third person. Uh, Damon Walter, uh, rights stories about technology and culture for the guardian wired BBC, etcetera. And I won't go on any further that tonight's gonna be boring for you. Those are a set of my credentials. I could develop those further. The question for you is what are your credentials coming in? Let's say you've never being published so you could go with something like pretending it's me. Danny in Malta is a passionate fan of the Avengers movies who is being 24 out of five preview events in London. I don't know. That might not be factually correct, but you're trying to find some way to represent that you are a person who could incredibly credentials here, who incredibly tell this story following on for the credentials, I usually offer terms. So depending on the terms I want to offer, uh, I will say something like this story is a fully researched ANDI available as a short blawg or MAWR in depth feature because I don't really know unless I know this editor well, where they would want to put this story. So I leave them options, but on giving the editors some facts here, one is I'm not gonna ask for anything beyond payment for the peace. I'm not gonna ask you to get me tickets for the Avengers launch on. Nobody asked you to fly me to California to speak to Robert Downey Jr. This story is ready to go. I already done those things. If I'm going to do them, I'm not gonna fly to California for this piece. But I have traveled globally to put pieces together in the past on I have had publications pay for that for me. But you want to tell the editor as far as possible that the piece is ready to go. There are no unexpected surprises here. This helps a lot to sell your pitch. Very few writers do this, and I think they're really missing something. So once you got this in place, we're going to be sending this out as an email. So our pitcher just have ahead of High Editor, you know, practical questions. You can do stuff like mail merging on picturing to a lot of editors at once. I find that is generally not a very good approach. People who look a email all day long can kind of tell when they're receiving a mail merge. So it is better to do each one individually. Eso you know, it might be high san. Whoever the editor is, I have this great great story. Hope you like it now. If it's the first time I have spoken to the editor, I might be a bit more formal. I might see to give him a bit more information, but I keep it brief. Number one mistake with pitches is far too much detail. Three a four pages trying to sell your pitch. The pitch will sell within two seconds of the editor looking at it or it won't sell. That's as much time as the editor is gonna spend on it unless they decide to take it. So you have. Let's be generous five seconds to get through the editors window of attention. So you keep it'll short. Let's Ah, reduce the size of this. And then, really, you just think off a title for your email, and I always put pitch top again. Obsessive compulsive Sammy COLUMN Colon I mean, if I put a semi colon there are, it would actually be sick with myself. Pitch colon, Andi. Then there's a number of ways you can. Unless, of course, you can just use this story avenges free. Can never hope to match kind book original. You can use that as your email pitch. That's generally what I do if you want to be a little bit more tricky. This is also a bit of a hack. You can say a story story idea from, uh, Damien Writer for The Guardian. Something that isn't giving away the pitch. That is interesting. The editor. So they're actually gonna click and open the email because there's just get thousands of emails. They just hind ones elite. Um, so if you want to get red, that could be, ah, way to open up that kind of attention again. Tiny little bit of a hack there. So this is a pitch. It's simple. Today all pitching is done. Liar! Email. You might also make if you have switched Teoh What you might talk about a little bit later and talk hot Pitching your pictures might only be a few sentences if it's not just that, you know you'll already have a report in a dialogue about the kind of stories that you're doing but for cold picturing editors have never encountered before, this is the kind of format that we're working towards. It's gonna review those elements. Title subtitle, body credentials, terms. If you put all of that into your pitch, you're gonna look here to professional you don't go interesting toe Editors. 11. Formats For Stories: We've already touched on the idea that high a priority publications tell stories the stories are bigger than we are in individual writers are, or that any individual parts of the story is onda. We fought about the idea that individual parts of this story come in different formats. I want to spend just a little bit of time looking out. What those formats. Oh, I'm not gonna go into debt about how to write each of these formats. That's beyond the scope off this talk. I do have a longer course in high authority writing, where you really dive into the nitty gritty technical details of actually doing the writing once you have successfully pitched it to the publisher that you want to make it into. But I think it's important to have a general understanding of what these formats are. So a form it's become very popular is the blawg. The block post now really a block post could be anything. In many ways, blogging has displaced journalism as an activity. But in the poll, Unz of Higher Forage Publications of Block has become a very short take on a story which is largely rooted in opinion isn't news reporting on it really stays. Suggest a few 100 words, maybe only 2 to 400 words overall, and even that might not stay. Be considered. Rather a long blogged on. The thing that's key about blog's is, of course, the title. The boat off the formatting that you see in big newspapers is reporting. They're focused on the news and factual telling off news reports. News reports tend to be relatively short. Only a few 100 words. They focus on the facts as a discernible to the news reporter rather than opinions on those facts. Opinion writing, however, is a massive area off high authority writing. You have comment pieces. The's what are often called the think piece today, the hot take. These tend to go very viral on the Internet, particularly on Twitter, if they're successful. And this is trying to articulate at a longer length anymore death. A specific opinion on a new story off the day be that the political career of Donald Trump thief failure to win the election of Hillary Clinton wherever it may be. The opinion writers trying to articulate their opinion, which will then vibe with a certain hopefully very big audience out there on the on the Internet. Columnists again are a form of opinion writer, but they're continually returning to the same themes and ideas within a regular column. So you have somebody like Paul Krugman who's a globally acclaimed economist, and he's often frequently commenting critically on things like neo liberal economic policies, which he does very well on. The columnist is open a very senior figure within the high authority, publication or news organization that they're working for in a much lower for writing, You have to compete National and, they say's a common feature in gossip magazines, celebrity auto biographies, celebrity magazines. Which of following the stories kind of really like start to erect confessionals about the drug rehabilitation, their experiences being bullied at school. Now these can be much more serious. But the confessional is always playing on a high degree of sentimentality, and emotion can be very successful, but it's not highly respected form of writing the long form. She's quite a recent development in writing because Internet writing is so brief on the whole attention. Spans are so short, long form isn't away. An answer to that it's still relatively short. It's usually less than 2000 words, but it's going into a high degree of debt and gathering our high level of authority within a relatively short space. A long form writing is actually very difficult. Andi long form writers deserve a lot of respect for what they do, particularly because it's very difficult to get people to read even good, long form writing. It will tend together a much smaller audience than, let's say, a viral block Post four A list ical. Let's cause a hugely popular where publications like Buzzfeed Lis tickles. Hack a specific circuits in the human brain that if I tell you there are seven ways to get published in a High authority publication, you will really want to know what those seven ways own. Your stay tuned to hear them all. Unlisted calls on 24 exotic destinations where you can travel 38 silly things that George Clooney has done in movies, including Playing Batman. All of these things go viral. I teach a whole short course in how to get things to go viral online. Check that out. Should you wish to learn that skill set very valuable skill set. I'm not gonna tell you anymore about that right now. Then we have some of the more standard mainstream print formats. The profile on the longer form, the profile. The interview, which takes an interesting figure in public life for celebrity scientists and novelist, artist dance or whatever it may be on because they're relatively famous. There's a lot of interest in them, and you conduct an interview with them on. If I interview is gonna be sure to its board down to a profile where you don't include so much of the into your information, you're just really giving a few 100 words about who that person is in a kind of capsule format. These are most of the major formats that you find online today. These formats Roy's evolving the world of online digital publishing moves very fast. There are new formats all of the time. As we think about pitching, it's really useful toe. Have a clear idea what your story is, what your angle ease on the formats that that story on angle can potentially be presented in 12. Finding Editors: now, I've already said the pitching is easy once you know what you're doing. Once you're thinking the correct terms of stories and angles, the community that these stories and angles come from represent the pitch is actually relatively easy to make do. Finding the person to pitch to is hard work. I'm gonna take you through a process of making contact, finding, making the contacts that you need in order to make successful pitch is Step one in this process is to know the publications are interested in the community. You cover on the stories you are telling about that community when I am making tech related pictures. I have a list magic moment of 34 high authority tech publications that I am making those pictures, too, and it took me a considerable length of time to research those publications. I also have notes in my contacts spreadsheet off the specifics whether they cover smart phones, whether they look up political angles on technology, whether they're particularly ready to a particular manufacturer like Apple, which is very common. And you need to know these things so that you know which of these publications your specific story on a specific angle on that story is going to be good for research This. If you find the research odious, you can potentially higher a researcher for a not huge sum of money to do some of that work for you. But you need a great list of those publications. And then the really hard part begins, because once you know the publications, you don't just want to be sending to a generic email address, although if that is the guidelines, for instance, if you want to pitch to the verge, I have one pitch email address and you make your pitch to that. Anything else you send will be deleted. But what you want to be doing, preferably, is making contact with the right individual. At that publication. Who will be an editor? There will be a commissioning editor, a senior editor. The job titles changed. They nearly always have editor in them. That might be a contributing writer contributing editor, and you're looking for the person who is the ideal individual to receive your pitch. How do you find them? Damien's hack number two for making successful pictures. This hack is quite simple, but a lot of people don't think of it. Social media and particularly Twitter, are the gold mine off editors. Every editor with very few exceptions who is in the market for new stories. Who wants writers to approach them? Who is open for pictures is on Twitter. And if you search Twitter for the publications that you're interested in for the communities that you're writing about, and with stories that you're telling you will find those individuals, note down their email address. Fine Air email address one way or another. Florida mon Twitter. Get into conversations with them, respond toe what they are saying. Build a contract with that editor. This is that thing that they call networking. It may once being the fact that you had to go and do networking in person. You have to live in New York, London. You have to go to the right events and meet those editors that can still really help. We'll tell you absolutely honestly, I've never met an editor in person before I had successfully published with them. I know many of managers at the Guardian, but that was always after I have made cold pictures. This is 90 will come back to cold, hard pitches after I'd make cold pitchers to them. The way that I have made all of those contacts is by finding the right publications, finding the right Editors find them on social media, getting talking to them, following the stories that they're interested in and then making cold pictures. So if I'm able to do that, you, with the advice taken from this talk, can definitely do that as well. Take a while this information publications the editors put it into a spreadsheet. Keep that spreadsheet regularly updated if you fail in a picture and editor. But they respond. Note down that they responded because that's usually some kind of invitation he had. It didn't want that pitch then one that angle on that story. They are interested in MAWR on that story or from you as a writer. Followed that up. Develop a specific pitch for that editor. If you get acceptances from Editor's, note that down as well. This is how you develop your contacts, develop your network in the community that you're writing about 13. Negotiate pay: Okay, so you know your community. You found your story. You've got your angle together. You made your pitch is being accepted by an editor on there, right back to you and say, Yeah, we'd love to publish this, but we can't pay you. This is gonna happen quite a lot now, to put this in context, if you are an expert trying to build up your authority of urine influence or trying to get views view to your YouTube channel, it's possible that it will be worth it for you to publish to that publication without being paid. You should be aware that you are, however, definitely being exploited in that situation, but it might be an overall beneficial form of exploitation. You're giving a free story toe a publication who are in one form another monetizing that story and generating income from it. If you are a professional writer, if you're wanting to build your career with journalists is one absolute rule. You always get paid. Money always flows towards the writer, which is way of indicating that you should absolutely never be paying get published anywhere that you're paying to get published is not worth being published. in no exceptions, no compromise. So when you get that email back, unless you really think there is a compelling reason in terms of exposure to take that deal you right back as they show me the money, you save more politely than that. But you do need to get paid and you need to negotiate. Pay editors are often in charge of a budget that we're gonna get the best value from that budget. So they are often trying to look for writers who will work for free. Think about the general professional rate. We are talking high authority publications here that are in the business of paying. Their writers should be in the region of 35 cents, 50 cents a word for what you're writing. Longer pieces are often lumps on $500.700 dollars. $1500 can be a considerable sum. Of course, journalists, a professional writers, they make their living. During this. I make my living doing this, so you do have to get paid. Remember, when you're negotiating, I can't go into the depths of hell. To negotiate is an important professional skilled. I can give you one kid. Remember that your writing has great in fact, extraordinary value. Yes, they're all millions of writers in the world, but most of them are not very skilled, which is why they don't make a career in professional area. To be a professional writer, you really have to have a top level skill set at every level grammar sentences, structure. Assuming that you have a lot of this, your writing is a great value. You know this community, you understand story. You have the angle on this story on your editor ultimately needs this. They only have a job if they can bring the best writers to come and work with them on. This is the leverage that you used to make sure that you are being paid properly. 14. Turn a gig into a job: once you've landed a gig with a major publisher with a higher authority publication, what you want to do and I've done this very successfully through my creates one of the ways that I have Bill a financially rewarding career path in professional writing, which allows me to come and live in Bali. In my beautiful house here, I spend my time focusing on putting words on the pages, so doing a side job to make that happen is you want to take that gig and you want to turn it into a job or, at the very least, are repeating gig you're getting paid for regularly now, in orderto achieve that transition, you need to think about two different kinds of pitching, and I have mentioned the first of these already. Cold pitching is what we're talking about, really. In this talk, when you're cold pitching, you are finding your community getting a story, finding the angle. Putting this all together is an effective pitch and sending it cold to an editor who you don't know or you've only had sporadic communication with in the post. Once you make that contact, we have an editor. Once you're published with them. You want to move towards hot pitching. Hot pitching is keeping up a dialogue with our editor, knowing what stories they're interested him on. Pitching peace is on that story as it's evolving to them. Think about this speed that a modern high authority publication, particularly online, works out. Whether it's breaking news of the war is Syria. The latest iPhone launch leaked information about new tech product security hacks off major operating system. All of this happens like this. It's all moving very quickly on the writers who are working regularly. I'm moving to keep up without their hot pitching. So you're keeping in touch of your community the evolving stories on your pitching angles on those stories that you will write almost instantly. For that editor. I'm really successful Editors have a pool of writers around them who are their hot pitch writers that they're go to writers for these ideas. If your regular communicates with an editor, you're finally coming back to you. They actually start making pictures to you, will you? Right this. I need this in on our 30 minutes 10 minutes. A professional skill here is writing extremely fast to meet disorders. There are some hacks again I talk about in the higher priority writing course that will help you achieve them. Don't getting back to the point If you can work your way into a hot pitching area, you're doing that for a handful of publications. Then you have a grid, and you can find that you're actually making a lot of money very, very effectively in doing this. And, you know, one year it's hard work. If you're a freelance writer, hot pitching for a number of publications, you can find yourself working around the clock there in different time zones, stories breaking all of the time. It's not necessarily something you want to be doing for a long time. I've done it sporadically over different periods, Daryl other models for building up your income for the kind of high authority writing that I'm talking about. But moving from cold to hot pitching, hugely effective, very important, something you should definitely be during, especially in the developmental part off your writing career. 15. Build Your Own Platform: a final area to talk about if you've made it through this progression of steps. Nine your community finding stories, developing angles, making great pictures, moving from cold to hot pitching, building up, pull our publications that you're regularly working for is then to think about where you take this next or in some cases, how you might have approached it differently. This was really the only option for a professional writer up until perhaps in a regional 15 to 20 years ago. And since then it's moved very fast because as a writer, particularly in the print area on the early days of the Internet era, you were reliant on publications that you were going to mainstream, higher 40 publications who you are writing for, and this is still a totally valid career path to build up income, to build up your reputation as a writer. At some point, I'm really, I think, today throughout this process, you're also thinking about where is your own platform because you look a really successful writers today. In my opinion, they're the people who are scoring a 1,000,000 readers on medium who have YouTube channels running a duty challenges, also writing even If you're talking to the camera as I am here, these are still really writing communication skills and the people who are really, really building great long term, lasting, profitable careers a building that in the mainstream on that also building their own platforms. What's your Twitter park while Hominy followers finding on Twitter? Are you converting followers when you have mainstream high authority publications? People then coming of finding your Twitter feed that subscribing to you there? Are they going from their over to your YouTube channel? Are you building up on Instagram platform of what you do is particularly our visual in focus on this is a balancing act. I've made the decision in my own career over the last three years to slowly re balance the work. I'm doing the high authority publications where the progress that I'm making also building up my own platform building a platform is hard. It's much harder really than pitching writing for high authority publications, but it's also much more long lasting those people who are engaging with you directly, who are interested in your specific opinion on these subjects who engage of your personality on your view of the world I'm gonna follow you on a long journey. They're going to be the people who are there. When you publish a book, when you take the next steps off your career building a platform online there's a huge range of options for this is complex. It's hard work. What I want to do is really sign off this talk by leaving it for you there as a thing to consider if you're pursuing the high authority route, where does this move off into development off your own platform as well. Thank you very much for watching these talk and joining me on this really beautiful morning for this discussion off pitching, publishing to higher authority publications. And please come for me on Twitter. I talk about this kind of stuff all of the time over there. Subscribe to my YouTube channel, where I go into a little bit more on depth about a lot of these issues. Building a writing career is what it's talking about geeky stuff like later superhero movies that around once again. Thank you, Andi. I hope you really receive something very valuable from this talk