Hi there! I just want to to write a quick note to say how grateful I am to have you along with my blogging journey here.
There is one little thing about me that I’m pretty sure you have no idea about: I’m a firm believer of a method called “learning through teaching”, in which…
students are expected to comprehend material and then prepare presentations or a lesson plan to teach their peers. […] Learning by teaching encourages students to take on the role of a teacher in order to enhance their learning experience through collaboration.TopHat.com
Well, maybe it sounds a little bit irrelevant here, but you know what? It’s actually the reason why I started this blog – learning through sharing.
OK, that’s not exactly the phrase, but I mean, either by teaching or sharing, me the writer is just doing the exact same job, sharing my knowledge and encourage freelancers to become magazine writers.
Soooo, today’s sharing is all about…
How to sell your article even before you write it
Before I tell you how to sell your article before you even write it down, make sure you’ve already read THIS BLOG POST, and even better, did some practice I gave you by the end of the post.
OK, so let’s say you’ve read it and know exactly what I meant by perspective here. And that, my friend, is how you’re gonna pitch your next unwritten article to the editor and nail it even before you ever write it!
Never ever write an email (a.k.a. a pitch) to an editor saying, “I would like to write an article for your magazine” and call it a day. Nope. NOPE!
The thing you must sell is indeed a solid, well-researched and on-point perspective that appeals to the target audience of the magazine you’d love to write for. A perspective that makes the editor think, “That person really understand our target and concept!”
PRO TIP: In fact, you should sell the idea (the perspective) BEFORE you start to write the whole article. This is to make sure your writing will be sold immediately after you’ve done writing. No BS, no time (and words) wasted!
To give you a closer look on how it works, here are how to sell your article before writing it down:
1. Do your homework & Present yourself
The worst thing you can do is to pitch wrong, meaning pitching a totally irrelevant topic to a magazine. For example you come to Harper’s Bazaar and would like to pitch for a frugal living lifestyle article. You know, things like that.
So the next time you would like to pitch an article for a magazine, make sure you know exactly you guys are on the same page!
However, that’s not enough!
As a used-to-be-editor myself, I can say people tend to take in pitches/article proposals from either those they know, or writers/freelancers who can show them who they are by…
- having written articles for them before
- having written articles for other magazines/newspaper they know about
- having placed a short introduction about who you are
- having a website/blog/online portfolio what can showcase your work professionally
You see, editors are not detectives to figure out who you are and what you’ve done. So, there’s no way they will spend time searching for you on the internet. You have to present yourself and show them what you can do.
They want the result, the articles. Full stop.
Next time you pitch, do your homework first. Do research to find out who the target audience of the magazine is. What is their interest? Their pain? Their concerns? Then pitch your unwritten idea like a boss!
2. Know what you can
The even worse thing (besides pitching to the wrong place) you can do is to not be able to deliver what you’ve promised!
Since I’ve been pitching and selling articles this way almost all the time, I know it can be daunting to sell something before you really know what it is about, especially if you’re going to write about something you partly cannot have control over. Like traveling.
You can talk about writing an article about experiencing the culinary of the destination by attending cooking classes, learning more about the food, the culture, and how to cook their dishes. Sounds great, right?
But, you know, sh*t happens sometimes, in very rare cases, the class is cancelled in the last minutes and you cannot book any other class, leaving you having no idea whatsoever how to finish your effing article.
It actually did happen to me.
Lucky me, I’ve been a columnist for that magazine for a proper long time, enough for me to drop the editor an email explaining the situation and asking him if it was OK for me to change to another topic.
This time, lessoned learned, I wisely chose something I could have full control over, like top food to try and where to find the best restaurants. It worked well.
But how about new writer, like new from yesterday? You pitched, got chosen, eager to write your first article for them, and… voilà, something unexpected just happens like dark magic.
PRO TIP: For first-timer, if you decide to go for this approach, please make sure to choose something you can control very well. An organized tour sounds OK, but then you depend on somebody else, right? Choose something concrete and easy-to-follow, without having your plan rely on a third-party. And again, do your homework before pitching. You’re not gonna pitch “Top 10 kids-friendly destinations in Europe” for Esquire, are you?
That’s the situation when your pitch got accepted. But how about you as a newbie and have nothing to show on the table? How can you pitch if you’ve never had any article published, any portfolio to show? How to sell your article hassle-free?
How can you even start?
Your writing can be any article you’ve written before, regardless of whether it was officially published or not. It can be your blog posts published on either your personal site or sites like Medium, just to show you can write and how. It can be a draft you wrote for this very magazine but never had a chance to send in.
Whatever it can be, make sure it look professional, straight to the point, and appeal to the target readers.
Selling your perspective, your idea before you write down the whole article is the way for both you and the editor to save time for each other.
The editor knows what she/he will have, and you know your writing will be sold, hopefully for a good price, before you’ve finished it.
Yet to say, it always takes time to practice, both your writing and your pitching skills. But don’t worry, since the more you write, the easier it will be the next time you send in a pitch for your unwritten article.