If you’ve been freelancing for any amount of time, chances are you’ll agree with this statement:
Pitching. Is. The worst.
First, you’ve got to come up with an idea. Then, you’ve got to wrack your brain for a place you think it could live. Then, you’ve got to figure out who the proper editor is at the outlet, which can take literal hours of Twitter stalking. (Yes, this is part of your job.)
With me so far? Cool. Next, find a way to make your story sexy in two paragraphs or less — while avoiding common errors and convincing the editor you’re qualified to write it. For bonus points, include a timely hook and any common network connections you might have.
Now take a deep breath, hit send, and brace yourself…
…to hear, in all likelihood, a whole lot of nothin’.
The worst, I’m telling you.
How Pitchwhiz makes pitching less painful
As a full-time freelance writer, it can seem like every step of the pitching process is working against you. At every turn, you’re having to search, sleuth, and spend an inordinate amount of time and energy on something that’s likely to net you zero ROI.
But alas: Pitching is absolutely essential to extending your pool of clients and growing your freelance business. Which is why when a great tool comes along to make it easier, writers the internet over rejoice.
(Psst: speaking of awesome pitching tools, have you visited writer extraordinaire Susan Shain’s yet? It’ll help you knock out that second step in a flash.)
But today, I’m excited to talk about a brand-new one: Pitchwhiz. And I’ve gotta say, it’s the kind of intuitive, awesome, life-easing thing that makes you wonder, “How did this not already exist in the world?”
The idea behind Pitchwhiz is pretty simple: It seeks to connect freelance journalists with the publications who need their work. It bills itself as “The easy way for writers to find commissioning editors, and for editors to find the stories that sing.”
And since so many of us in the wild world that is writing wear both of those hats, you can choose to activate one or both roles and seamlessly switch between them. (For the purposes of this post, though, we’re going to focus on the writing side rather than the editing.)
Pitchwhiz offers writers a host of organizational tools, allowing you to store miscellaneous notes and craft entire pitches right inside the platform. You can then market them directly to editors and publications using the Story Market — or seek out a specific editor using its built-in Editor Directory.
The story market is where the rubber really meets the road, listing both pitch requests from editors and proffered pitches from writers in an easy-to-use, filter-able format. You’ll also see a list of the latest pitch requests in a helpful sidebar on the home screen when you first log in — and have them delivered right to your inbox you on occasion. (Major bonus points: The emails are funny, and they don’t come frequently enough to be annoying.)
You can also create pitches whole cloth and add them directly to the Story Market for editors to find. There’s even an option to hide your pitch from other freelancers…which, yes, sounds a little shady, but let’s be real: idea theft happens. And if you see a pitch call you want to respond to, it couldn’t be easier: Just click the big, orange “pitch this editor” button and get typin’.
Basically, Pitchwhiz makes it simple to brainstorm, create new ideas, and find the people who want to publish them, all in one, comprehensive platform.
But honestly, it’s worth signing up for the Editor Directory alone. (I say this as someone who somehow does not love spending the afternoon repeatedly typing “editor at [insert publication here]” into Twitter’s search bar.)
I tried Pitchwhiz, and here’s what happened (Hint: $$$)
I’ve been poking around with Pitchwhiz for a few weeks now, and I have to say, I’m pretty impressed.
Although I haven’t yet imported all of my story ideas into its interface yet, I really like the idea of being able to keep all those eggs in one basket. (My current homegrown ideation technique involves a clunky, redundant, tab-switching-intensive combination of two Google Docs spreadsheets and Trello.)
And those pitch request emails have already paid off. I saw a story call from SheKnows for its series early one morning and quickly responded, throwing my current hometown, Santa Fe, into the ring. I heard back from the editor within three hours. Hours, ya’ll. And her response went directly to my linked email address, so I was able to simply respond in line with the conversation.
Easiest. Pitch. Ever. (And an extra $200. Score!)
That said, Pitchwhiz is still in beta — which means the features we’ve outlined here may change (and improve!) over time. And the platform does suffer from some minor growing-pain-related hiccups, as you might expect. For instance, I discovered while updating my writer profile that Pitchwhiz apparently does not yet know about the existence of the entire state of New Mexico.
I also encountered some other very small UI issues from time to time, but the site is generally solid, and the idea is absolutely stellar. Although it’s not yet as well-populated as I wish it were — and think it soon will be — Pitchwhiz has got huge potential.
Who knows? Maybe our days of professional Twitter stalking will soon be at an end. (Okay, that might be a stretch… but a girl can hope, right?)