In the last issue of my newsletter, I shared my thoughts on the three common mistakes new freelancers make – and what to do about them. Because I currently find myself dealing with the Holy Trinity of publishing all at once, and thereby incapable of complete thought, I have decided to share it here as well.
These are three common mistakes made by new freelance writers that I see regularly.
•Pitching a ‘subject’ rather than a feature. ‘The difficulties that working mothers face’, for instance, is a subject – not a feature. An editor needs you to find the angle in that story that makes it fresh and now. It might be a news angle (childcare costs set to rise). It might be a lack of suitable flexible working hour positions (mums can’t get back into the workforce). Find the angle, and then mine it!
•Not selling the pitch. It’s not enough to send an editor an outline of your story – you need to sell it to them. Why this story? Why right now? Why are you the person to write it? All of these questions need to be answered – in about two sentences. Which is why you need to consider point three…
•Not thinking in cover lines. Putting a compelling, succinct heading on the story is a shortcut to the sell. When you write the headline, think of it as a ‘cover line’ – if it’s a piece for an online story this is possibly even more important because the editor needs to believe that readers will click through for your piece.