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4 Tips for Crafting the Perfect Pitch

Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the October 2013 issue of . Subscribe »

Pitch the right person. Don't pitch Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times. Or Arianna Huffington. Or BuzzFeed editor in chief Ben Smith. Instead, find a story about a subject similar to your business, then contact the staffer or freelancer who wrote it. In your e-mail, show familiarity with the writer's work; it helps them to understand that, no, this isn't just another blanket-the-media letter.

Make yourself available. This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised by how many pitches don't include all forms of contact information. Writers are not going to want to work to figure out how to get in touch with you, so make it easy for them. And this e-mail closer is a winner: "I'm available to chat at your convenience."

Offer sources. Suggestions on external sources of information can help a writer imagine how they might shape a story out of your pitch. Expert sources are best--either an independent analyst or, say, the brewmaster who crafted your new beer and can describe its blend of ingredients.

Don't go for star billing. You may think you deserve a big feature or one-on-one Q&A. But a slot as one of several subjects in a trend story or a mention of your company in a product roundup can be just as valuable when it comes to exposure. Most major magazines release their editorial calendars on their websites. Be aware of the features being planned, and tailor your pitches to fit. And keep in mind that periodicals with long lead times will be wrapping up stories up to three months (or more) before the publication date.

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