Are you having trouble finding ideas to pitch to editors? On September 7, I tuned into Carol Tice and Linda Formichelli’s Idea Clinic webinar on how to find and pitch ideas to editors. Here’s a recap of the webinar.
How to find good ideas
1. Look at your own life. What’s going on in your life? You would be surprised how many people may be going through what you’re going through. Look at your family — they’re full of ideas!
2. Think about disasters and failures. What did you fail at? How did you turn it around? Do you live in ‘tornado alley’ and have experienced a tornado? Think about the disasters and failures in your life and the world.
3. Read other publications. Get out of your comfort zone and read other publications to get ideas.
4. Speak to people. You can find ideas by speaking with family, friends, co-workers and the general public.
5. News: what happens next? What’s happening right now? What will happen next? Stay on top of current events and pop culture because there are plenty of ideas.
Most of the time, ideas come first and then you think about the market later. Of course, you could flip this.
6. Can you localize and or nationalize an idea? What’s happening in your area? Can you nationalize a story? On the flip side, how can you localize a national story?
7. Go to PR Web and other press release websites. You can find plenty ideas from press releases.
8. What’s shocking and surprising? Let’s face it; people love sensationalism. It sells! What’s shocking and surprising right now? What do you find shocking and surprising?
9. Listen to conversations. Have you ever been in the grocery store and found someone with their cell phone glued to their ear? They’re usually oblivious to the people around them. Feel free to listen to their conversation — you could find a ‘gem’ of an idea.
10. What are peoples’ problems? Remember, you’re in business to solve problems and market your business. Think about problems that most people are having and solve them.
According to Carol, “Editors are overwhelmed. One editor received 100 pitches per day — that’s 500 pitches per week. Some editors won’t respond. Keep pitching and sending at least five pitches per week.”
How to pitch articles
1. Read the publication before you pitch an idea. You’ve this before but it begs repeating. Read publications before you pitch your ideas.
2. Write a one page query letter. Keep your query letter to one page.
3. Make sure an idea is timely. It’s important to make sure your idea is timely. Remember, publications are usually 3 to 6 months ahead.
4. Be counter intuitive. Pitch an opposite idea. Give editors a fresh take on old ideas.
5. The idea must be marketable. Make sure your ideas are marketable. Study the target markets.
- How to Promote Your Blog to the Media (problogger.net)
- Top 7 Query Letter Mistakes Makes Writers Minds Explode (savvy-writer.com)
- Top 6 Mistakes Beginning Freelance Writers Make (freelanceswitch.com)
- Query, query. (leighevans.wordpress.com)