How To Write a Pitch That Wins Bylines

Stephanie Caudle
Dec 19, 2016 · 3 min read

Seeing your name plastered on the front page of your favorite online publication is the dream of every new freelancer. It is a badge of honor that shows the world someone other than your English professor thinks you’re a good writer. On the other hand, obtaining your first byline is only the first step to building your writer portfolio.

Whether you are trying to get your first byline, or you’re simply trying to add to your growing writers portfolio there’s only one thing that separates you from whatever goal you are hoping to obtain, the pitch.

A pitch is generally what editors refer to as a brief summary of the topic you are hoping to write for a magazine or publication. The editor reviews the pitch and then determines if they in fact belive your story is a fit.

While pithcing to several large platforms or even smaller ones may seem exciting it is also often intimidating for new and seasoned writers alike depending on the publication; however, with the right strategy becoming published on these platforms can be done, easily and repeatedly.

After talking to several editors and reflecting on my own experiences as a byline winning writer I’ve come up with 5 ways you can write a pitch that wins bylines.

Introduce Yourself

Most editors get hundreds or even thousands of pitches per day from writers, publicists and brands. Sending a quick note introducing yourself and also asking the editor what types of content they are looking for will make you look considerate and will also make you a name to remember when you decide to actually make an official pitch to the publication of your choice.

Do Your Research

As a freelancer I talk to lots of editors every day and they all express disappointment in writers who pitch to them or send them articles that don’t fit into their publication. Research is free and so is Google. Do your due dilligence and pitch like you know it’ll be accepted.

Keep Trying

In my early days I was super annoyed when an editor passed on my work. It wasn’t that I was annoyed with the editor but I was annoyed with my myself for not always nailing the pitch. In most cases(back then), one rejection often led to me never pitching to them again and then I realized, the more you try, the better you get. If you don’t stop trying you increase your chances of getting a yes.

Interacting Online

Does the site you are pitching to have a comment section or social media presence? If yes consider reposting, commenting and sharing their articles frequently on your own social media channels. Editors read comments and notice the names of those who actively interact with their content.

Keep Pitching Elsewhere

If one publication denies your pitch and there’s another publication similar to it, try pitching to them as well. Just because one editor says no does not mean another editor won’t accept it. I am a firm believer in re using previously denied pitches especially if you believe your content is not publication specific.

Now that you have the tools necessary to win bylines, go make your first pitch and be sure to share your successes with me! Here is also a list of editors you can pitch right now!

Want to learn more about my freelance journey? Follow me on Twitter. Want to work with me? Shoot me a message and if you’re an African American Woman who creates amazing content I’ve created a platformto connect you with businesses who are looking to hire women of color. If you just enjoy reading: make sure you comment and recommend. Let me know who you are :-)

Stephanie Caudle

Written by

Freelance writer @huffpo @xonecole @lifehackorg Email me: StephanieCaudle1@gmail.com

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