Hi Friends! Today I have a few tips to share with you from a good friend and fellow Dietitian, Amy Gorin. Before she was a registered dietitian nutritionist, Amy was a magazine and .com editor for eight-plus years—on staff at titles including Health, Prevention, Parents, American Baby (now Fit Pregnancy and Baby), Weight Watchers Magazine, and WeightWatchers.com. In addition, her writing has been published in dozens of publications, including Dr. Oz the Good Life, ReadersDigest.com, Self.com, EverydayHealth.com, Women’s Health, Ladies’ Home Journal, FitnessMagazine.com, Consumer Reports ShopSmart, Yoga Journal, Runner’s World, Sonima.com, and more.
Amy’s advice has been crucial to helping me understand how to promote myself as a nutrition communications expert. I really had no idea who to contact, how to get freelance writing jobs or what to pitch to get the jobs. I didn’t even know there was such thing as a “pitch.” Amy broke it down step by step for me so I knew exactly what I needed to do. Some of the things I learned included:
- Which publications to pitch – Amy had me start with local media and build on that from there
- How to gather contact info for editors
- Examples of successful pitches
- A checklist for before hitting “send” on a pitch e-mail
- How and when to follow up with editors
- What rates to ask for (and the answer to the question of if you should write for free)
- other media tips – for instance Amy encouraged me to offer nutrition expert quotes as often as possible to get my name out there.
When she told me she was launching full on media coaching services I knew I wanted to share it with you guys! I asked her to share her top 3 tips for getting published to share with you guys and here is what she said:
- Pitch content that editors want to publish! Remember, you’re the expert and have access to unique expertise and research—and an editor will have a hard time turning away ideas that are super surprising and timely. For example, instead of saying, “I’d like to write about the benefits of dairy,” consider what’s new in the area of dairy science. Several recent studies have dispelled the myth that fat-free dairy is optimal to health. So tweak your angle, focusing on why full-fat dairy may be beneficial to health. After you’ve thought of your fresh idea, make sure it’s timely for the publication you’re pitching. Print publications plan three to six months out, while websites have a lead time of anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months.
- Pen your pitch appropriately. This means being professional but not too formal. Write a brief and to-the-point pitch that includes a hed (a sexy story title); in the case of the dairy story above, we could go with “Should You Eat More Full-Fat Dairy?” or “The Case for Full-Fat Dairy.” Address the editor by his/her first name, and include your pitch in the body of your e-mail. A Word document or pdf pitch letter attached to your e-mail is a giveaway that you’re new to this.
- Get your pitch into the right hands. Magazines provide a free guide on who to pitch. Look at the masthead, which is essentially a staff directory that typically falls within the first few pages of the publication, after the table of contents and editor’s letter. This almost always includes a listing of the website staff, too. The proper person to contact will likely be someone with a title of assistant, associate, or senior editor. An editorial assistant, managing editor, or editor-in-chief is unlikely to handle pitches.