Writing Tools: Pitching Features

Pitch; noun: a form of words used when trying to persuade someone to buy or accept something.

Some ideas sell themselves, like an exclusive interview with the Queen, for example. Most require a bit of packaging to be sold, and the requirements of different magazines affect what’s asked of you. Here are a few tips:

  • First and foremost – know the tone and content of the magazine you’re pitching to. Is it the style of content they’ve already done? Although knowing the magazine well isn’t a pre-requisite to having an idea accepted, it’s pretty encouraging for an Editor to talk to someone who knows what the mag’s about – makes it less likely that the issue of tone is going to be a problem.
  • Ask the magazine how they prefer to receive pitches. Some of you already have with us! Email for a pitch to us is perfect. We would never say yes straight away over the phone until we’ve had a our weekly features chat, so it helps to have a written record of the idea.
  • If you’re new to us, examples of previous work are super handy.
  • We commission work with writers we know, but with new writers we can’t commit to paying for the piece until we’ve read it. We love to have new writers, but there are no guarantees that your work will be right for us – though we’ll try to work with you to make it so!
  • By all means ask about our rates – it’s not rude!
  • Originality is always going to improve your chances of success. Whether it’s a brand-new organisation or a fresh look at an old subject, really consider how you can make it stand out. That’s something we have to think about, too, when we pitch our own ideas at the weekly Features Team meetings!
  • For any magazine, don’t forget to think about how it’ll work visually. Can you get pics? Do you have pics? As a last resort, do you know where we can get pics? Talk to us if you’re not sure.

See more of our writer’s tools here 

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.