Diana Kelly Levey

Freelancing 101: How to Find Editors to Pitch Articles To

woman looking through magazines

August 8, 2019

(This blog post is a sample lesson from my Get Paid to Write: Become a Freelance Writer self-directed online course. Learn more about the Freelance Writing Online Course here.)

You’ve got your freelance article idea, and you know the magazine or website you’d like to sell it to. Now you need to make sure your pitch goes to the right person. That can be more challenging than it seems!

See also: Freelance Article Pitches That Worked

Sending your idea to the correct contact will save you time. When the wrong editor or contact gets a pitch, they might ignore it. And then you’ll be sitting there waiting to hear back from them when no one is actually going to respond to your article pitch.

There are several ways to find out whom to contact for a magazine, blog, or company and if it’s open to writers.  (Discover the 10 Things I Did to Earn Over $100,000 Freelancing in 2018.)

If you want to write for magazines, try to get your hands on at least the last two issues. Libraries are excellent resources for magazines, as is Barnes & Noble (or your local bookstore). You don’t even have to purchase the magazine if you don’t want to. Simply do your research and read the magazine there, then take photos of the masthead and the sections you want to write for.

(In case you missed that, read the magazine! The biggest gripe editors have about pitches is that writers don’t know the audience or don’t fully grasp the types of content they publish.)

Learn how freelance writers get work.

Learn How to Find Any Editor’s Contact Information for Your Freelance Pitch

Find an editor at a print magazine:

Look at the masthead.

Before you start pitching article ideas, you need to know which sections of a magazine are available for freelancers and which are written in house. Familiarize yourself with the masthead, the section in the front of the magazine that’s usually after the Editor’s Letter. Some magazines have it in the back (a few don’t have one at all).

That’s your starting point. From there, when you look at a byline on an article, see if the person’s name is also on the masthead. The front-of-book (FOB) sections of a magazine are often written by staff, usually editorial assistants, assistant editors, associate editors, and editors. I used to write the FOB health and nutrition pages when I worked at Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine. So if you saw my name next to one article (and then my initials D.K. next to other, smaller pieces on the same page) and noticed that my name was on the masthead, you should assume that this page is not open to freelancers. As you go through the magazine, note if a writer’s byline is on a page but their name isn’t on the masthead; that likely means that section is one the staff assigns out. If the section is written by a celebrity or a well-known person who’s a regular columnist, that might be a sign it’s not a section to pitch.

If you’re tight on time and don’t have access to the print magazine’s masthead, search LinkedIn for the person’s name. You’ll need to look at the company their magazine is published by. For example, Cosmopolitan is published by Hearst Corporation so you can try to email the editor by searching Hearst.com on the Hunter.io website. You could also check out a company’s press releases to see how a staff publicist’s email looks and copy that format with the name you found via LinkedIn.

Use online search tools to find staff names if you don’t have access to the masthead. I typed “Outside magazine editorial staff” into Google and got this search result with names. It even has their email addresses right there! Cross-check an editor’s name with their LinkedIn page and Twitter feed to ensure they’re still at that magazine. Editors are constantly changing in this industry so check this information out before you send your pitch, and double-check again that they’re still at the publication when you send your follow-up email to the editor.

Doing this research ultimately saves you time because you’ll be pitching ideas only for sections that editors assign to freelancers.

Here are some Mistakes Freelancers Make When Pricing Their Work.

Find an editor at a website:

Look to the masthead if it’s a print magazine’s site. This can be trickier because many websites hire more freelance writers than print magazines do. Magazines are limited by pages, but the Internet has no space limit, only an editorial budget. You should still apply the technique of looking at a masthead in the print magazine, then looking at the names of the digital team members for whom to contact. Under the digital or online section of a masthead, look for a senior editor, managing editor or digital director. I’d recommend contacting a senior online editor and asking if they use freelancers. Apply the same email techniques mention above and below to  determine their email address format.

Find content marketing clients:

Go on LinkedIn and look up the company name, then see the PEOPLE who work there and look for someone with a title of Marketing Manager, Content Marketing Manager, or Editor.

Type the company website into free hunter.io to learn how they formulate emails. They will show you the “most common pattern” (i.e. for my site dianakelly.com, it shows, “Most common pattern” {first}@dianakelly.com and even an example with d—-@dianakelly.com. Follow this pattern using the marketing manager’s name you found on LinkedIn to try their email address. (Note, you might need to try this a few different ways if the email bounces back.)

Now that you have an editor’s name, learn the best time to pitch an editor.

If you didn’t hear back, it could be because you make some mistakes. Discover common reasons why an editor deleted your freelance article pitch.

Here are some additional helpful articles on other websites.

6 Ways to Track Down a Magazine Editor

5 Strategies for Finding Any Editor’s Email

Ed2010’s Magazine Company Contact Format

If you want to make more money freelance writing, check out this blog post.

Like this freelance writing content? Get more tips and advice like it on my “Get Paid to Write: Become a Freelance Writer” online course to get your freelance writing business up and running!

Not ready to enroll in a course? Check out my new e-Book “100+ Tips for Beginner Freelance Writers.” Get the tools you need to kick-start your career, find well-paying freelance jobs, and become a successful freelancer.

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