Friday Speak Out!: Pitching That First Article

Friday, May 06, 2016
by Judith Docken

In launching my freelancing career, I found that the biggest hurdle I needed to get over was pitching an article to a publication. I have been spending a lot of time learning how to do this, but eventually I needed to take the chance and put that learning into practice.

I want to share how I finally took that chance and pitched my first article.

Through a search on a freelance writer’s job board,, I found a link to a publication that deals with environmental issues. It sparked my interest and I checked out their submission guidelines. It was totally within my capability, so I started researching ideas that would be a good fit for the publication.

Here is the exact process I followed:

1. Once I found the publication’s website, I looked through it and read over their submission guidelines. I also read some of the articles on the website to get a feel of their “tone” and focus.

2. Since this publication deals with the environment, I pulled up a search of current environmental issues. From this search, I jotted down some angles I could take on a few specific subjects relating to those key issues.

3. Out of these six ideas, I picked one, researched some facts, narrowed down my topic, and created a list of sources that I could draw on.

4. One thing I wanted to include in my proposed article was an interview or quote from an expert on the subject. I sent emails to the “Contact Us” link in a couple of my source websites, requesting an opportunity to conduct a short email interview.

5. Then I wrote my query, pulling all these pieces together.

a). I opened the query with an attention-grabbing key fact about my subject.

b). I followed with a paragraph addressing my subject.

c). I listed a few detailed facts relating to my subject.

d). Next I stated what my proposed article would be about, the proposed title of my article and how many words it would be.

e). Then I referenced another article on the website that was similar, but stated clearly what the angle of my article would be and why it would be a good fit for the publication.

f). I then added a “call to action”, by letting them know when I could get the article draft to them.

g). Next, I told them a bit about myself and added a link to my website.

h). I also added a bulleted list of other article ideas I want to pitch to the publication.

i). Finally, I added links to two other articles I have published, as samples of my work.

j). I thanked them for their time and signed off, again adding links to my email and website.

Having a template takes the guess-work out of pitching an article, and helps me craft my pitch specifically for a publication.

Hopefully this template can help you, too.

* * *
Judith Docken is a freelance writer, author and blogger. She has published gardening articles in SF Gate and Modern Mom online magazines and was published in an anthology of Canadian short stories called That Golden Summer by Polar Expressions Publishing. She is also a contributing writer and photographer for her community newsletter, The Bowest’ner. Her debut novel, Ghosted: A Novel of Life, Love and Moving On is set in her home town of Calgary, Alberta, in Canada, where she lives with two of her three sons, two black cats and many plants.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Angela Mackintosh said...

This is excellent advice, Judith! I can't tell you how many queries we receive from writers who've never read the articles on our website. And referencing another article published on the website that will be similar to yours is a GREAT idea. I also like how you fleshed out your query. This lets the editor know exactly what she'll be purchasing, which is a deciding factor. Thanks for sharing your template with our readers! :)

Unknown said...

Happy to contribute! Thank you Angela!

Unknown said...

Happy to contribute! Thank you Angela!

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