Diana Kelly Levey

This is the Best Time to Pitch An Editor

A woman reading an email on her laptop at her desk

August 10, 2020

If you read my previous freelance writing advice blog post on Why An Editor Deleted Your Pitch, you learned some of the do’s and don’ts of article pitching when you want to get published in a print magazine or online outlet. (Pssst, her’s how to come up with article ideas if you’re in a creative rut.)

Another important factor when considering your working relationship with editors is to learn the best time to email an editor.

Because any freelancer can tell you, about half the battle with nabbing an assignment is getting an editor to open your email and read your pitch. You worked so hard on it! But, if it goes unread, you’ll never get that stellar assignment and be able to share your incredible story with the world.

I can’t say with 100-percent certainty that any particular time of day truly is the best time to email an editor and hear back on your pitch. But, I’m basing this information on my experience as an assigning editor on staff at magazines when I used to receive pitches from writers, as well as the success I’ve had as a six-figure freelancer.

The Best Time to Email An Editor

1. Hint: It isn’t Monday

Why wait until Tuesday to send your article pitch to an editor? Because their Monday is probably spent catching up on news over the weekend, emails from colleagues, preparing for work meetings, and completing tasks they didn’t get to last Friday. Your email is way more likely to get lost or overlooked if you send it on Monday morning.

2. It shouldn’t be Friday either

Thinking Friday might be the best time to send your freelance writing pitch because that day tends to be quieter? While it seems fair in concept–and you might have an editor’s attention if he or she isn’t as busy–many editors are trying to get done all of their must-do tasks on Friday afternoon before leaving for the weekend. Reading your email pitch and replying “Sure, this is assigned,” is a low priority. (Follow this advice to get higher-paying freelance clients.)

3. Wait to send it until…

Whether you’re sending an intro email to a new client, or, you’re sending your best article pitch to an editor, I think that midweek is best. Sure, your editor’s schedule is packed with meetings but by Tuesday afternoon, they probably trudged through their Monday to-dos and are better prepared to make long-term decisions about story assignments (at least, I was when working on staff at WeightWatchers.com, Prevention magazine, and Muscle & Fitness magazine). (Need inspiration? Check out these magazine article pitch examples.)

How to Plan Out Your Pitch Emails

Schedule your pitches when you have more time.

Make sure you give yourself some time to write out well thought out article pitches, proof them for any errors, and double-check that you have the editor’s name and email spelled correctly. While I don’t think you should send your email pitch on the weekend, extremely early in the morning, or late at night, I think you can write up the freelance article pitch and schedule it with a delayed email service like Boomerang.

Be smart about following up.

I covered this topic on when to follow up with an editor when you don’t hear back on your pitch in this blog post, but I heard this topic discussed at a panel during an ASJA conference last May. The editorial page editor for The New York Times Opinion department, James Bennet, said that he preferred a writer email him again if the pitch was timely with a comment like, “I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to send this elsewhere since it’s timely.” Then, give the editor a day or so to be able to review your pitch or story idea, he suggested.

When I was an assigning editor, I didn’t mind if a freelance writer emailed again within the same week of sending a pitch to let me know that it was a timely topic. If I had to pass, I’d let the freelancer know. Here’s a format you can try from Lindy Alexander’s blog on following up with editors.

These tips are to give you the best advantage possible to grab an editor’s attention when they might be more likely to have time to read your pitch.

When do you send out article pitches? Is there any rhyme or reason to it?

Get one-on-one professional freelance writing help with your pitches when you sign up for my “Get Paid to Write” freelance writing online course. Enroll today!

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