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Freelance journalist? How to pitch freelance feature ideas

I’ve been a freelance journalist for many years, but because the industry and the people change so frequently I am forever honing my system for pitching out ideas. There’s no ideal way to do it but I have worked out a few tips that work for me…

1. Keep the quality high. Don’t just pitch-bomb editors with anything and everything you can think of. It takes time, but consider each idea carefully and make sure you send them to the right person – rather than a random list of hundreds.

2. You can start with the ideas. One way is to compile a list of ideas and think where each one might go. Think through all the possible angles on your story and consider which publication would be the best fit.

3. Or you can start with the publication. Get a few back issues of the publication you want to pitch to plus a list of commissioning editors. Then go through your extensive list of possible features and send them the one you think they would most like.

4. Send one feature idea at a time to one publication. Don’t send multiple pitches of the same feature. Editors want exclusive work, rather than something you are sending around everywhere.

5. Brainstorm for 25 ideas every day and keep a book full. This will help you when pitching. Come up with lots and lots of ideas and some of them will be gems.

6. If a publication doesn’t want what you consider to be a great idea, try it somewhere else. It’s not the idea that’s rubbish – it’s just that it’s not the right fit for that publication.