How to Write a Pitch
No matter what career path you choose, you will most likely have to create a pitch at some time. Whether you are pitching a journalistic story, a new product, or even pitching yourself to a future employer, there are some crucial steps to take in order to be prepared.
- Determine your idea and angle.
It’s important to know what you want to convey in your pitch. What is the essential message you are trying to get across? How you frame the message is equally as important. As a journalist, if you frame your pitch as a news piece, but you actually write an opinion piece, your editor likely will not publish your story. It’s important to frame your message and indicate exactly how you are going to convey it.
- So what?
Your audience needs to understand why this pitch matters.It’s your job to make the audience believe your idea is necessary and useful. If you think your idea is great, but you can’t convey that to your audience, people may assume that you don’t have enough confidence. If you’re not fully invested in your idea, go back to step one and continue developing your angle.
- Who is your target audience?
Determining a target audience is one of the most important steps to creating a pitch. Think of whom you want to absorb your message; you must create your pitch in a way that makes sense to that group of people. You aren’t going to pitch a story idea about how to set up a 401k to a five-year-old, just as you wouldn’t target a commercial about Elmo to a single, 30-year-old man.
Meeting deadlines is necessary in almost any job, so it’s valuable to convey your readiness to turn in a story or project in time. In doing so, you are showing your audience that you have researched the topic and know how you are going to approach it and finish.
- Research Guidelines.
If you’re submitting a pitch to a company or publication you have not sent content to before, make sure you know what their guidelines are. If you don’t follow their specific guidelines, your submission may be cast aside without being read. Do your homework to discover how they want to receive their pitches.
- Keep it short and sweet.
“Fluff” is not necessary in a pitch. People reading them are often busy and do not want to spend their time reading about tangential information. Stick to the basics: what, when, where, why, who, and how? Address these five W’s and one H, and you should be good to go.
- Be memorable.
You want to stand out from other submissions. Make sure your idea is creative and hasn’t been done before in the way you are proposing. If it has, think about pursuing another angle that makes your pitch different.