What Makes A Successful Pitch?

If you've read our pitching guide, and are looking for some examples of the kind of thing we're after, here are a few successful pitches we've received in the past, and some notes on what made them work...

The Beautiful Mundanity of Studio Ghibli

“Another idea I’ve had... is on the gorgeous treatment of the mundane in Ghibli movies, and how this suits the streaming platform they’re now on. Much of the pleasure in their films is derived from watching simple domestic actions in a defamiliarised light - cooking becomes alchemy, and cleaning is transformative magic. Seeing this within the comfort of your own home, in my opinion, only enhances these small delights further.”

  • - This pitch is concise and the idea is well-expressed 

  • - There’s enough detail to let the editor imagine what the resulting piece might look like, but not so much that it’s overwhelming

  • - It was well-timed; the writer sent the pitch so we received it about a week-and-a-half before the Ghibli films were released on Netflix; enough time to turn it around to meet that release date

  • - This pitch was at its most relevant at the time, but the resulting article is still relevant and interesting several months later. Keep that in mind - is this topic only relevant right now? Might I/ the magazine/ a reader want to come back to it later on? What makes this the right time to tell this story?

Pitch: Michael Timmons Review

Hi Tallah,

It's [writer name] here, we spoke a couple weeks ago about a pitch that wasn't suitable but you said maybe I could get involved with doing some stuff for The Skinny. Don't know if you managed to take a look at any of the clips I sent you, but I was wondering if I could now pitch you a review?

It's for Michael Timmons' debut album Bone Coloured, out today on Gargleblast Records: https://michaeltimmonsmusic.bandcamp.com/album/bone-coloured

I've known about his music for a while, stumbled upon him a few years ago when he was supporting another act who I was interviewing at the time. I got to do a cool feature on him last year, which you can see here: https://juneandwinter.com/2017/08/22/interview-scottish-singer-songwriter-michael-timmons-on-getting-personal-and-breaking-through/

He's a singer-songwriter from Glasgow with a kind of Scottish Elliott Smith vibe if I was forced to boil him down to a pithy phrase. I already have something written up that I think would suit The Skinny's style which I can alter if need be to more particular specifications, and it's quality Scottish independent music that I hope you guys would be keen to cover.

- A clear pitch that explains the background of the artist, and displays knowledge of the magazine and the kind of things we're 'likely to cover'

- There's a writing sample to show the writer's knowledge of the subject, and their style. If you've written about a topic before, mention that in your pitch – it lets us know that you have a knowledge of the subject, and gives an idea of how you might approach it for us.

- The writer uses an unsuitable pitch as a hook to pitch something else – basically, don't get disheartened by a rejected pitch, and try to use it as a learning opportunity (as much as it might also be a bit of a pain...)

Crystal Baws

Your partner may have left taking with them your heart, soul, mind and what was left of your already piss-soaked common sense but to take your chart they’ll have to prize it from your cold dead fingers later this week.

Unfortunately your horoscope exploded yesterday killing three other signs and leaving two others with serious burns. The cause of the blast is as of yet unknown but police have not ruled out foul play and are urging a man seen leaving it at around nine yesterday evening to come forward so they can eliminate him from their enquiries. 

There is a new energy about you this month, like every other fucking month until you begin to eat less, shrivel up and inevitably die...

[It goes on like this for a while...]

- If you have a very particular style, showcase your style in your pitch. It's a high-risk strategy, as you'll rely on the editor being on board with your way of thinking, but it sometimes works.

Be yourself – if you're angling to write a scatalogical horoscope column, there's no use in pitching it in a dry, sombre, serious way.

- Think about the best way to get your idea across - is that providing a couple of sample paragraphs if your idea is a bit left-field? Are the writing samples you're providing reflective of the piece you want to write for us? 

If you're new to The Skinny and want more detail on what we publish and who's in charge, go to Content Guide and Contact List

For info on the timescales we work to and the rates we pay, go to Deadlines, Timeframes and Payments

For details of the kind of article ideas we're looking for, go to our Pitching Guide