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500 Writers & Editors Reveal What They Look for in a Pitch


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In this BuzzStream webinar, Ryan McGonagill & Kelsey Libert share the results of their Perfect Pitches survey. Ryan and Kelsey reached out to more than 500 editors at publications like Time, BuzzFeed, Upworthy, and more, and asked them what they look for in a pitch.

For more about outreach best practices, visit For more from Kelsey & Ryan, visit

Published in: Marketing, Business
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500 Writers & Editors Reveal What They Look for in a Pitch

  1. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  2. This is a story about a noise:value ratio that has gotten out of whack. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, Image Credit:
  3. Editorial voices are outnumbered by public relations professionals by almost 5:1 @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  4. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, “Many [PR professionals] have a misunderstanding when it comes to the difference between advertorial and guest posts.” – “Too many submissions we get are clearly just pitches for a company, attempting to masquerade as thought pieces, a press release dressed as a guest post.” – “Over time [guest blogging] has become a more and more spammy practice.” – Matt Cutts
  5. Our Research @KelseyLibert,
  6. We interviewed over 500 writers, editors, and publishers. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  7. This Is Their Story @KelseyLibert,
  8. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  9. @KelseyLibert,@RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  10. The majority of people you’re pitching only write ONE STORY per day. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  11. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  12. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  13. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  14. Although most writers publish one story per day, 44% of them get pitched a minimum of TWENTY TIMES per day. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  15. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  16. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  17. Although writers are inundated with pitches, only 11% often write a story based on content that was sent through a pitch.
  18. However, 45% said sometimes, so there is an opportunity for change. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  19. Your Strategy Lesson @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  20. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  21. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  22. STOP spamming writers with poorly matched assets. Instead, collaborate on mutually beneficial ideas. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  23. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  24. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  25. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  26. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  27. Your Networking Lesson @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  28. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  29. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  30. 64% of writers think it is of some importance that you establish a personal connection before pitching. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  31. Use Twitter as a platform to socialize with your prospects weeks prior to the pitch. Engage in blog posts. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  32. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  33. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  34. Put down your cell phone. Stop spamming on social media. Start writing sincere emails to the best-fit person for your campaign. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  35. Use a CRM such as BuzzStream to manage your relationships. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  36. Your Pitch Lesson @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  37. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  38. What time of day do you want to be pitched? @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  39. Use a pre-scheduling tool to send your emails in the early morning hours. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  40. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  41. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  42. 88% of writers prefer a pitch be less than 200 words. Check your word count before sending. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  43. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  44. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  45. Test your subject lines in your inbox. What stands out? The golden rule is 45-65 characters. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  46. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  47. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  48. An overwhelming number said they want a subject line that is: • Direct • Concise • Descriptive • Includes keywords relevant to the writer’s beat Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill,
  49. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  50. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  51. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  52. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill
  53. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  54. • Do your research. • Know the publication. • Be relevant. • Make it newsworthy. • Know my beat. • Don’t use all caps. • Be personal. • Be concise. • Don’t cold call. • Does it fit my beat? • Use spellcheck. • No giant attachments. • Don’t pitch on social media. • Know my audience. • Avoid phony friendliness. • Get my name right. • Avoid the fluff. • Tailor your subject lines. • Die in a fire. @KelseyLibert,Image Credit:
  55. Image Credit: @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, “If I don't respond it's because I'm not interested. If I am interested, I will email you back.” – “1) Don't send multiple emails and follow-ups. 2) Don't follow up your email with a call.” – “Do not call me 5 minutes later to follow up.” – “Don't follow up so many times. If we're not interested, we're not interested.” – “Unless I contact you asking for more information, don't follow up 2 and 3 times asking if I'm going to write about the story you sent me.” –
  56. @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  57. • Breaking news • Exclusive research • Emotional stories • Timeliness • Relevance • Data • New hook • A story • Interview opportunities • Data visualizations • Useful information • Innovative • Interesting analysis • Storytelling • Well-researched • Meets editorial mission • Original content • Solutions to problems • Engaging • Amusing • Useful insights • Humor • Unique angles • High-quality graphics @KelseyLibert, @RyMcGonagill, www.Frac.tlImage Credit:
  58. Research by Kelsey Libert,
  59. Leverage The Science Behind Great Content. Research by Kelsey Libert,
  60. Build Relationships. Build Buzz. Check us out at!