Knowledge

8 tips for cold pitching editorial ideas to publications

5-MINUTE READ - 6th December 2019

Hayley Reynolds
Hayley ReynoldsSenior Outreach Executive

Here at Glass Digital, we secure coverage for our clients and build backlinks to their websites through our outreach service. One of the ways in which we do this is by pitching editorials to relevant publications, as this allows our clients to show they’re experts in their field — plus, it helps to widen their audience, as well as develop a healthy backlink profile for their sites, which is great for boosting their visibility when it comes to organic search.

However, pitching ideas to the editors of publications can sometimes feel like an impossible task, as you really need to stand out from the crowd. The people we contact can receive hundred of pitches every day, and many of these will be unsuccessful for a wide range of reasons. But, over time, we’ve been able to develop some hints and tricks we use to make sure we get noticed. Here, I’ll be outlining my top tips for creating a successful editorial pitch.

Make sure your idea is relevant

The first step to successfully pitching an editorial idea is coming up with a topic that’s relevant to both your company or client and the website you’re targeting. This means, before writing your pitch, you need to look at what kinds of articles the website has already published. This way, you can ensure your idea is going to be in keeping with what they typically write about, but you won’t just be going over ground they’ve already covered.

It’s also important that your editorial is going to provide the journalist with a new angle that they need your expertise to write. It needs to offer knowledgeable and helpful advice, rather than simply being product- or service-focussed, too.

Ensure your subject line stands out 💡

As I’ve previously mentioned, journalists will receive hundreds of emails a day, and many of these will remain unopened. The main way you can ensure your messages don’t go ignored is by making sure your subject line grabs their attention.

In the three years that I’ve worked as an Outreach Executive, I’ve tested countless subject line formats, and they’ve all had different levels of success. But, by far, the most successful tactic involves including the website’s name in your subject line. Adding an emoji (when relevant) can also be very eye-catching and doing this is a great way to help your emails stand out if you think it’s appropriate.

Make it personal

In a similar vein, the more personal you can make your pitch, the better the response will be. Editors will see generic or templated pitches as little more than spam, so it’s well worth putting some time and effort into making every one unique.

One way to do this is by highlighting a previous article they’ve published, and offering them a follow-up piece that’s going to make sense for your business or client. You should also address the journalist by name where possible, include their website name, and make sure your entire pitch is personalised — it can be tempting to simply change the intro of each pitch you send out, but good editors will be able to see right through this.

Research, research, research

In your pitch, you need to show the journalist how your editorial idea is relevant to their audience, and why it needs to be covered right now.

You can do this by using relevant research and statistics in your email. For example, if you want to pitch a piece on ‘How to keep your forklift drivers safe on your construction site’, you could include evidence to show that this is needed, such as the fact that 24% of workplace transport injuries are a direct result of forklift truck accidents (Health and Safety Executive).

Give an overview of what the editorial is likely to cover

Once you’ve introduced your idea and proven that it’s relevant, you’ll want to give the editor an idea of what the finished editorial will cover. I’d recommend doing this with bullet points, which will make all of this information easy to read and digest. For example, if I was pitching the forklift idea, I could suggest the following points:

  • Make sure your forklifts are always well-maintained
  • Provide your staff with the appropriate training
  • Ensure your workers have all of the relevant PPE
  • Encourage your employees to let you know about any forklift-related problems.

Make it visually appealing

It can also help to ensure that your pitch looks good, and a great way to do this is by using royalty free images and a tool like Canva to create a collage or design that enhances or supports what your pitch says. Editors receive countless emails that contain paragraphs and paragraphs of writing, so including some imagery could stop them from scrolling and convince them to take more notice of what you have to say.

End with a call to action

It’s vital that the end of your pitch gives the editor a ‘call to action’ that encourages them to respond. The simplest way to do this is by asking them a direct question, such as “Would this be of interest for your website? If so, please let me know your thoughts.”

If they’re on the fence about whether they’re interested in what you’re proposing or not, this could just be enough to convince them to get back to you.

Don’t be afraid to follow up

Unless an editor has specifically said that you shouldn’t follow up on cold pitches, it’s always a good idea to give them a nudge if you haven’t heard back from them after a while. Timing is vital, and your initial pitch might have simply reached them on a bad day, or during a busy month when they’re already rushed off their feet.

I’d recommend leaving at least a week between your first email and a follow-up. If you still don’t get a response, leave them be.

Cold pitching editorial ideas to online publications can be a great way of securing links and exposure for your business. But you need to get it right. Personalising your pitches, doing your research, and ensuring everything is going to be relevant to the site you’re targeting can make a huge difference.

This can take a great deal of time and effort that you might need to devote to running your business instead. Here at Glass Digital, we can do all of the leg work for you. If you would like to learn more, get in touch with us today.