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Creating the Perfect Article Pitch

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Estimated reading time: 6 min

1.1 Perfecting  Your Pitch

Over time you will encounter a variety of tasks that will require you to craft a pitch. The most prevalent will be the pitching of articles to news outlets, website and blogs. This is a great way to garner attention to a campaign or project and positions MCS as an authority in its field.

1.2 Quote from an Editor

“I get roughly 300 emails a day. Most of the time, I read a subject line and that’s it. There’s just simply too many emails every day from publicists to be replying to each one. I can probably count on one hand the amount of general PR pitches I’ve responded to over the past few years. What they all have in common is they were targeted at BuzzFeed and me specifically. The publicist knew who I was, what kind of stories I write and was able to speak to this and why their pitch fit in line with that. They also know what BuzzFeed News is (hint: it’s not the same as BuzzFeed!) and why their story was of interest to our readers. It’s all obvious stuff, but you have to tailor your pitch like you would a cover letter for a job application.”

—David Mack, deputy director for breaking news at BuzzFeed News

1.3 Questions to keep in mind when crafting a pitch:

  • What gets the publications/our fans excited?
  • What demonstrates your credibility in your pitch?
  • What is your expected turn around + total word count for that turn around?
  • Where do you pitch and why?

 

1.4 The Do’s and Don’ts of Pitching:

Do …

  • Target your pitches. Pick the right section and editor for your story.
  • Include a clear, concise headline for your article.
  • Provide a brief outline of the topic you will be covering.
  • Be creative with where you pitch to, topics have multiple facets that can interest overlapping audiences.  

Don’t …

  • Pitch to a publication you haven’t read. Know that your style matches what they publish.
  • Don’t forget to triple check your spelling and grammar when sending your pitch
  • Don’t attach a full draft, even if you already have one written. Let the editor green-light the pitch first, then go back to your draft and reframe it according to your editors’ requests.

 

1.5 How to Craft Your Pitch:

Keeping it short and simple. Get right to the point.

  • Let the journalist or media outlet know who we are and what they’re getting right at the top. Include our brand, your topic, or our new game for our press release in the subject line. It is also important that your pitch includes a possible title, a writing format that would match theirs and our brand, and an elevator pitch that is concise but powerful enough to convince them.


Eye Catching and Curiosity Inducing Subject Line

  • This can make or break your pitch, as this will be the first thing that they will read. You don’t want to bore your readers with a generic subject line. Always go for the kill! Be creative, go out of the box, have fun. But remember that it’s important to keep a professional but friendly and appropriate tone. This will be your first step in persuading them.
    • Creating the perfect pitch based on the advice  will be a waste of time if your subject line is boring, confusing or overdone. It needs to be something that intrigues the journalist enough to open the email, and short enough to appear within the preview.
    • Be upfront and clear about what the email is about. That means stating that it’s a pitch. This makes it quick to identify as they scroll through their inbox. Something along the lines of, “PITCH: [proposed title].”

The hook. Get their attention.

  • Briefly explain why someone would want to read our article or topic. Always identify the  target market. Make sure that what we are offering aligns with their audience as well. If our hook piques the interest of the company that we are pitching in to, that means they know that it will get their audience’s interest, too.

 

Call to action. Make it easy to contact us.

  • Make sure your pitch  includes our contact information such as our MCS website link, email address, phone number, and any relevant social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, IG, YouTube, etc. *refer to Marketing Bible).
    .


Pitch to the right person.

  • Find the appropriate editor of a good target publication online. Try a Twitter search. For example, in Twitter’s search bar, you could search for “Refinery29” “editor.” From there, you get a listing of accounts whose bios match those search terms. Many of the people listed will have email addresses and contact info in their bios, as well.
  • Look for email formatting clues. For example, Buzzfeed uses the firstname.lastname@buzzfeed.com formula. With that, you can figure out any editor’s email address.
  • Once you find the email address of the editor to whom you want to pitch, address them by name in your email (and, for goodness’s sake, spell their name correctly!).

 

Target your pitches carefully as well as research the person you are pitching to.

  • Familiarize yourself with the publication that you’re pitching to, so that you’re sure they show an interest in the type of story you want them to publish. For example,Good Housekeeping wouldnt be interested in Dev Log articles.
  • Media outlets usually have  specific target audiences that they are trying to reach (mature, general, retro, etc.). The topic of the article or talk that you’re pitching should be relevant to their readers (attendees, or viewers).
  • By researching who you are pitching to, you may find common grounds that can get you an in. For example, if the journalist you are contacting used to be a boy scout and you were a boy scout, that is one way to draw a connection to each other.

Build relationships and always be networking.

  • Your connections or network is often the key to getting pitches accepted and once you have rapport with someone, it is commonplace to ask for a referral. We can always turn a “No” into a “Yes” and have a positive result out of it. If done well, they might even introduce us to their network of companies that they think might be interested in our press release or article. We might get rejected, but always be respectful, we can still check them out and send another pitch that they might be interested in the near future. Never close your door! 

Different companies = different turnaround and word counst.

  • Be flexible. It is one of the greatest skills of a marketer and a writer. Small sites may require you to have a 1,000-word article for a press release and big fishes may require you 5,000 words to write, so adjust accordingly. If the editor requests a different approach from what you’d originally expected, embrace flexibility. It will make the revision process all the more pleasant. Get in touch with a wide array of outlets. Also, make sure you follow a publication’s submission guidelines when you approach them with article ideas. 

Proofread your pitch before hitting send

  • One of the quickest ways to turn off a trained journalist is a poorly written pitch full of grammar mistakes and typos. Getting a client, colleague, or a close friend with a keen eye for detail to look over your work is an invaluable part of the pitch-writing process.

Follow up! 

  • Following up is vital when pitching, and can set you apart from most as many people skip this valuable step. If you don’t hear about a submission in a week, send a VERY short follow-up email.
    • Ex: “I’m just checking in on the submission I sent you last week, (insert awesome title here).” Add in a bit about how you’re looking forward to hearing from them and viola, you have a perfect follow up email.

1.6 Example:

Subject Line:  Article Pitch: Pillars for an Effective Charity Stream

Hi Matthew,
Pleased to e-meet you!! I saw your call for pitches on GameIndustry.Biz and I have a story to tell in the B2B space.

The Pitch: Pillars for an Effective Charity Stream
From one-man indie teams to AAA studios, everyone participates in charity streams–and for good reason, they work.
Making up a major pillar for most non-profit fundraising efforts, charity streams keep your brand active and solidify the infrastructure to support causes that you care about.

Pillar 1: Brand Alignment

Millions of families are facing hunger – many for the first time due to the COVID pandemic. Mega Cat Studios’ partnership with Feeding America leverages its eating based universe to support hunger relief initiatives, thematically on-brand. Aligning with causes you believe in amplifies interest and engagement for influencers who will ultimately drive the campaign.

Pillar 2: Tech

Everyone has their preferences for crowdfunding and crowdsourcing donations. Tiltify and Warp World’s Crowd Control check the boxes for most. The reason Tiltify is the most requested charity platform is simple: it’s easy to use for all parties involved.

Pillar 3: Recruitment

There is no wrong way to recruit streamers that share the same values. Whether your relationships are older than AOL, or they’re being initiated at the start of your campaign, charity streamers are catalytic in getting people to act. Having a clear window and a sense of urgency keeps things dynamic, and you can find communities to spread the word across the digital landscape.

Pillar 4: Awareness

Every endpoint and digital extension of your brand can be put to work to amplify signaling. Get creative: Using the Feeding America campaign example, there is an entire world of Foodie streamers who schedule their content calendar explicitly around charity streams. Think critically about your cause, and which non-gaming channels fit the strategy for your campaign.Charity streaming is user-initiated, where streamers over the globe can decide to assist raise money on a charity’s behalf at a moment’s notice. The reach of fundraising through Twitch is unparalleled, and its community is deeply engaged with spreading awareness for any great cause.

About me: I am a Miami based writer and community manager, going into my second year with Mega Cat Studios, you can find some of my work on our blog.
Please let me know if I can provide you any additional information or if you have any feedback for me.

Best,

Mina Figueroa”

 

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