The Dos and Don'ts of Pitching to Press

Now I know it can sometimes seem bizarre in the era of social media to need traditional press coverage. We are essentially our own PR’s and our Instagram profiles our CV’s. But I think it’s important we don’t undervalue how getting great press can truly elevate our businesses. How it can bring in new clients or a flurry of new followers to engage with. I know for one that whenever I read a magazine, my phone sits near by - ready to pounce on the Instagram/Twitter search bar for someone I’ve found interesting, have just read about or a brand that looks up my street. 


We’ve spoken about getting press opportunities a bit before in The Coven, yet it continues to seem as daunting as ever. As an editor of a publication myself, I see no-end of pitches pop up in my inbox. Some good, some…not so good. So I thought I’d trawl through two years worth of pitches to draw up some conclusions for you all. Useful pointers of what instantly turns an editor off and little tricks you can use to sweeten your chances of being heard…Here are my dos and don’ts of pitching to editors and here’s to landing those press opportunities in 2019…


DO

Take the time to address who you’re pitching to with their first name. There’s nothing more instantly off-putting than receiving a generalised “hello there” when it would’ve taken a mere 5 minutes of research to learn what my name is.


DON’T

Send attachments (unless I ask you to). I don’t want to download your files and have them take up space I don’t have on my computer. Instead, add links where possible.


DO

Check if a magazine has a pitching FAQ. A lot of publications do, which will guide you through their preferred pitching format. Follow each step and you have a better chance of being heard. When I open up pitches for Hook Magazine, I always write a media pack with a submission FAQ - which means there is no excuse for somebody not pitching in the format I ask. 


DON’T

Just say you’re “looking for freelance opportunities” or you’re “looking for press coverage”, say WHY you’re approaching said publication. Don’t make the editor do the legwork to find out whether your pitch is a good fit - your job is to convince them that it is. 


DO

Check your grammar and spelling before sending. If you’re pitching as a writer with spelling and grammar mistakes, you aren’t going to be taken as seriously. Walk the talk of the writer you’re selling yourself as. 


DON’T

Send screenshots of notes on your iPhone or Instagram captions if an editor asks you to provide examples of previous writing. You may not’ve yet written anything published and everybody has to start somewhere but at least copy and paste your work into a word document to keep it professional. Again, add links where possible.


DO

Share a brief example of why you love the publication or what the editor is publishing recently. E.g. “I discovered the magazine through X and I loved the Y and Z.”


DON’T

Send pitches for already published work - even if it’s only currently on a blog. Not only are publications only looking for original content but you also don’t want to get caught up in a copyright debacle.


DO

Say how your pitch is either relevant to a particular issue’s theme or how it’s topical. This is vital and how the media operates.


Happy pitching, witches!

Sapphire BatesComment