I spent eight years working as a business journalist where I received thousands of pitches from people who wanted to get their ideas and articles published. Pitching remains a time consuming and sometimes, inefficient process, where would be contributors compete for an editor’s attention – often without success. But if you follow the advice below, you can vastly improve your chances.

Not researching your target publications

The first mistake people make is not understanding the publication that they’re pitching to. Yes, it can be time-consuming to research each one but it will vastly improve your chances of getting published.

Research the tone and style of the publication before you send anything. What kind of stories have they run before? Do they tend to publish first-person opinion pieces or are most of their articles written by journalists? How do they divide content categories up on their website? Understand which sections publish which kinds of content.

Sending your pitch to the wrong person

The second big mistake is sending your pitch to the wrong contact. Each journalist or editor has a ‘beat’. A beat is their specialism or area of focus.

Most journalists and editors are too busy to forward your pitches on to the right person. If you send your pitch to the wrong person, your email will probably sit at the bottom of their inbox and never see the light of day.

Writing too much in your pitch

You need to say as much as possible in the fewest possible words. Editors are just like the rest of us – they have short attention spans.

One of the biggest irritants is rambling pitches that seemingly go on forever. So skip the niceties and just be straight to the point. You shouldn’t have to say that “this will be interesting to your readers”, the headline and pitch should speak for itself.

Keep it short and sweet and they’ll love you forever – well for a while anyway.