So, you are working on a new series that you are sure is newsworthy, but don’t have the budget for a publicist to pitch your work to editors. Online and in-print press is a great way to get your name out to thousands of people and gain great exposure. The art of pitching is one that can take years to perfect, but here are a few tips on how to outreach to editors and, hopefully, gain some great media exposure.
Step 1: Know What You’re Pitching
Take some time to determine exactly what it is that you are pitching and what you think is newsworthy about your new work. It shouldn’t be an abstract idea (ie. “new artist
emerges in Chicago”), but something tangible and specific. Maybe it’s a subject matter that has not been explored recently or coincides with current national or global news stories. Maybe it’s the medium that you are using or an upcoming show that will exhibit your work in a new way. Narrow down your pitch to a specific idea to help determine your list of contacts.
Step 2: Develop Your List
Based on your pitch, determine which outlets make the most sense to pitch your work/idea to. It doesn’t make sense to pitch to a publication or website that would never cover your story. Do your research and built your list of media outlets including print (magazines and newspapers), online, and blogs.
Step 3: Find the Contact
It is so important to get the editor’s information right on the first pitch. Every print publication has a masthead within the first 10 pages of the magazine. This lists all of the current staff. This is a great place to start when trying to decide which editor email. Many publications have mastheads or staff lists on their website as well. Read through the latest issues or online articles and see if you can find a story similar to what you are pitching. Find out the editor of that story and that is your new contact.
Step 4: Determine the Timing
It’s important to know what is going on in the art world before you start pitching. If you are pitching a local publication, do a bit of research to make sure there aren’t any large art fairs or events going on. Your editor will most likely be focusing all of their attention on any large-scale events, both local and national depending on the publication. Avoid pitching during these times. Also, never pitch on a Friday. Like most of us, editors’ minds are already to the weekend by this point.
Step 5: The Pitch
Now you can start developing your email. The subject should be like a headline: eye catching, brief, and informative. The body of the email should get right to the point. Editors read dozens of pitches each day, so get to the point quickly. Do not write an intro heavy with your biographical information. If you feel the need to include this, develop a one-sheet that you can attach as a PDF to the email. Pitch the story using succinct messaging that is specific but also paints the story. Maybe even give them a great idea for the headline of the story. It also helps to mention exactly where you see your story being featured – it shows you did your research and you know the publication. Since you have already done your research, it should be easy to name the section of the magazine (ie. Artist Profile section).
Step 6: Follow-up
It is very rare that an editor will get back to you on the first pitch. Yes, be a bit aggressive without being a nag. I suggest following up once a week for the next 2 weeks. If you don’t get a response after this, then wait another 3 months before reaching out to the editor again. If it is a t