The 10 qualities of a strong pitch

Every editor looks for something different in a pitch. However, successful pitches do tend to exhibit common traits. Having spoken to many editors about what they want to see, and having spent a decade mastering the art of pitching to editors, these are what I believe are the ten most important elements in a successful pitch.

1. Delivered to the right person

2. Suitable for the publication

3. Explains why readers will be interested

4. Describes exactly what it will cover

5. Poses enough questions/opens up enough areas for exploration

6. Is concise and focused

7. Is free of basic errors

8. Describes who can comment on the subject and why they are well qualified

9. Offers clear next steps

10. Has clear commercial benefit to the publication

Any PR who delivers pitches that tick all of those boxes will find that more and more of those ideas are accepted. Furthermore they will also find that editors start coming to them for ideas.

However, knowing that that is what you want to achieve and actually achieving it are two very different things. In my masterclass ‘Pitching to Editors’ I show delegates how to create a pitch that has all those qualities. During the afternoon session every delegate actually builds a pitch which they can send out the next day.

Following the training I work remotely with delegates to reinforce the learning – each week for four weeks they work with me to build a fresh pitch that they can send. Usually by the end of those four weeks delegates are getting articles placed in publications that they thought impossible before the course.

If you want to find out more about this course click here:


Filed under PR

4 responses to “The 10 qualities of a strong pitch

  1. Great post…all stuff we probably know, but I wonder how many times in the pressure of the moment we try and bend the rules?!

  2. Alex
    Great to see you blogging. could you put an RSS button on your blog? Otherwise it will be very difficult to follow you regularly. Also, it’s a teensy teensy thing, but the white and red out of black isn’t very easy on the eye!

    Great to see your tips appearing! I’d add an 11th tip for print/broadcast – make sure the timing is right. I know I’ve occassionally forgotten a deadline day and frustrated the heck out of a journalist or editor about to put an edition to bed or not looked at a clock before calling the producer of a particular radio programme that hasn’t quite come off air!

  3. I knew the night editor for a national newspaper who said he worked as a PR consultant. He found it much easier to pitch to editors as a freelance journalist, rather than saying he was in PR. Same story, same angle. And he got paid twice!

  4. Celia Dixon

    Do you know what, this is a really good refresher Alex. I think I’d add to this as well, that if you don’t think that it fits these pointers then you have to push back on you account management peers, I came across this a lot when I was working in agency, now I’m in house it’s a lot easier to tame expectations on whether a story/research piece is deserving of quality coverage, or really is just exciting to the business only…

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