How to pitch to i-D
If you’re a freelance journalist who wants to write for us, here is a helpful guide.
05 June 2020, 12:04pm
i-D are always on the lookout for new writers and voices. But we’re also always learning how to democratise and be totally transparent with our pitching process. Many young writers and journalists who are just starting out in the industry are often unsure of how to pitch to publications, what a pitch should actually look like, and which topics they should be pitching to which publications.
With that in mind, here is a breakdown of exactly how to pitch to i-D -- with tips that will be applicable for many other publications too -- which we hope you find helpful!
Everyone gets so many emails, so how do you make sure that yours doesn’t get lost in the shuffle? The first thing to think about is your subject heading. If you title your pitch “pitch” or something more general like “hello”, it’s more likely that it might get missed. The best and clearest way to format your subject heading is; “PITCH: Your Clear and Concise Headline Here.”
When it comes to formatting your pitch within the email itself, try to include enough detail so that it’s really clear what you want to write about, why you’re knowledgeable on the subject and why it matters. A good length for explaining your article in a pitch email is 3-4 paragraphs. These can include a breakdown of the issue or trend you’re covering, as well as some pre-reporting on statistics or recent events, and a tentative list of people you’d want to speak to or interview in the article.
Most i-D articles run at around 1,000 words, but other publications have different lengths, and this will vary depending on the format of the piece you’re pitching. Try to tailor your idea to the house style. For instance, if you have strong take on a relevant subject, but a publication never runs first-person op-eds, you might be better pitching the idea to them as a reported feature instead.
You can also include your writing portfolio and clippings if it's your first time reaching out to an editor or publication. One good idea is also to shift around your portfolio order so that the most relevant pieces are on top before you hit send. Ask your friends which they think are your strongest clips, as it's sometimes difficult to think critically about your own work.
Finding what topics to write about
It’s important to write about what you’re passionate about, and to find the perfect home for the stories you have put so much work into. One of the most useful things to do before pitching to a publication is to see whether or not the story is a good fit. Read some other articles around the site or the magazine/newspaper you’re pitching to. This is incredibly helpful because it lets you see if your article or one very similar to what you’re pitching has already been published by that site, and also if the style of your pitch will work with the other content. That way you can see if the publication you’re reaching out to publish celebrity interviews, lists, first-person led experience features or brand-led product round-ups, and can direct your ideas to where they might fit best.
Dealing with rejections
Dealing with rejection is probably the shittiest part of being a writer. If you care a lot about what you’re pitching, hearing that it’s not a good fit for a publication can be a real blow. While rejections get easier to swallow over time, it’s important to remember that they’re not in any way a comment on your abilities as a writer.
There can be a million reasons for a rejection. Maybe, as mentioned above, the style of your pitch just isn’t a good fit for the publication. Or maybe there is something too similar already published or in editing stages for that publication. If you’re just starting out and trying to hone your craft and improve as a writer, don’t be afraid to ask why something was rejected, and what might be a better fit for next time you get in touch.
Knowing where to pitch
Most editors use Twitter, and many have their emails in their bio or DMs open (or both, hi!). That’s a good place to start looking for who to pitch to if you’re just starting out and you’re not sure who to reach out to. There are other good resources for freelancers which collate opportunities and Twitter callouts so you can see which publications have budget and which are looking for new writers. Sian Meades’ freelancing newsletter, for example, is a good resource for this. Here at i-D we have a general pitch email which is checked regularly, so if you’re interested in getting in touch after reading this, reach out to us there! (firstname.lastname@example.org)