How To Pitch a Publication: A Guide to Getting Published for Attorneys, Part I – Researching Media Outlets

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Publishing articles is an excellent way to boost your online authority, establish yourself as a thought leader in your practice area and drive traffic to your website. Publishing in today’s leading media outlets involves more than just sending your article to the outlet and hoping it will be published. Most editors require you to pitch your idea before they will assign a story. Writing the article is the easy part; landing the article assignment is harder.

Pitching a publication is a tricky process. The first step is researching the publication itself to learn more about its target market, tone, style and the types of articles they publish. Below are seven factors to review when researching a media outlet.

A man in a waiting room reading magazines

It’s important to know the publications you’re pitching to. Researching a publication’s expectations and understanding the kinds of articles they’re intersted in publishing is essential to getting noticed by editors.

     1. Writer’s Guidelines

Writer’s guidelines (also called editorial guidelines or submissions) offer crucial information about how to pitch and structure your article. Guidelines may outline in-demand topics, editors to contact, style tips, word counts, compensation, target audience, core purpose, prohibited content, page format, image guidelines, bio guidelines and other important information. A link to the writer’s guidelines are often found in the website footer or on the Contact Us page.

     2. Articles

Articles offer a wealth of information about the publication or media outlet. Review the features and columns to learn what types of articles the media outlet features. What is the length of a typical feature or column? What is the tone and style of the articles? What topics have been covered in the recent past?

     3. Editorial Calendar

Some media outlets publish an editorial calendar which outlines monthly or quarterly themes for the publication or upcoming topics they plan to cover. Pitching an article that will fit within the theme or topic shows you have done your homework and boosts your chances of getting published.

     4. Advertisements

Advertisements can provide clues as to the publication’s target audience, which in turn can help you frame your pitch.

     5. About Us

A website’s About Us page can tell you a lot about a publication, including its purpose, mission, philosophy, readership, popular topics, editorial staff and other important information.

     6. Masthead or Online Press Room

The masthead or online press room can help you track down editors, identify the hierarchy of editors within the organization, and locate contact emails and phone numbers. These sources can help you identify the best editor to contact for your pitch.

     7. Contributors

Review the bios of the media outlet’s writers. What are their credentials, qualifications and experience? What other outlets have they published in?  What are their academic degrees or training? Are they paid staff members or freelance contributors?

     8. Media Kit

Media kits often offer a treasure trove of information such as circulation figures, advertising costs and demographics. This information can help you better understand the outlet’s target audience.

Researching publications can be time-consuming, but your hard work will pay off by allowing you to tailor your pitch to the publication, boosting your chances of landing an article assignment.

Once you have identified the media outlets that you want to pitch, the next step is drafting a query letter. For a full outline of the steps to publication, see 7 Steps to Publishing Articles in Major Media Outlets. For assistance in developing article ideas and pitching publications, contact PaperStreet. Our writers and media experts can guide you through the process and help you get published.

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