All in feature writing

Are you writing sponsored content? If not, you're missing a huge opportunity

If you’re a feature writer contributing to magazines or newspapers, the chances are that you might be feeling pretty bummed by the current state of media affairs (unless you’re a travel writer). There was an article in The Guardian recently (sparked by the closure of Marie Claire’s print edition in the UK) about ‘how the British fell out of love with magazines’, and the collapse of newspapers in Australia has been predicted for years. But in the last little while I’ve seen a striking trend. One that offers real hope for freelance writers.

How to get exactly what you need from interviews

Conducting interviews is a very important part of being a freelance writer. For me, the best interviews are those where you get exactly what you need in the shortest amount of time possible. These are the interviews where the interviewee feels heard and understood, and where your questions hit the mark. But not every interview goes smoothly, in fact, I’ve had some shockers. Here are my top tips for preparing for interviews and getting exactly what you need.

How to get an editor to read your pitch

There’s no doubt that pitching is an art, and if I’m honest, despite all the good advice out there, pitching is one of the things that lets so many freelance writers down. Despite what some people may profess, there’s no one single way to make sure your pitches to magazine or newspaper editors hit the mark, but there are definitely ways to increase your chances of your queries getting opened, read and responded to.

3 mistakes freelance writers make when pitching digital publications

There’s little doubt that there’s an art to pitching and sending query letters to editors. Over the past year I’ve had conversations with a number of editors and I’ve come to realise that many freelance writers don’t differentiate the way they pitch depending on whether the publication is in print or online. This is a big mistake. Through conversations with editors, I’ve found that there are 3 main mistakes writers make when pitching to online outlets.

The 4 best rejections I've received from editors

I’ve been thinking lots about embarrassing moments and how many I have had in my (fairly short) writing career. I think it’s easy to see ‘successful’ writers and not see their backstory, where they have made mistakes or had challenges. Well, today I wanted to clear that up. I’ve unearthed the best (read: the worst) rejections I’ve had to pitches and stories. Because let’s face it, no one is perfect. And the truth is, it’s only a mistake if you don’t learn from it.

The 5 things that can help get a pitch across the line

What kind of success rate should freelance writers be aiming for when pitching editors? I got asked this question recently and it's not easy to answer because it depends on if you're sending pitches to editors you have a relationship with and the quality of your query letters. But I think if freelance writers get 60% of their pitches accepted they'd be doing exceptionally well. There's lots of advice out there about how to pitch, but there are five particular things I have found that freelance writers can do to help secure a commission.  

3 easy ways to get an editor's attention (without being obnoxious)

You know those images in movies where someone wins the jackpot on a poker machine and it’s spitting coins out everywhere? That’s exactly how I think of an editor’s inbox. No matter what they do, the emails keep on coming, piling up on top of each other. So how can freelance writers get noticed amongst all the digital noise, get an editor’s attention and ensure our emails get opened?

What makes an editor say YES to a pitch?

There are lots of articles out there about how to pitch feature articles to magazine and newspaper editors, but recently I’ve been thinking about exactly what makes an editor say yes to a pitch. We all know that pitches usually need to include a timely, “newsy” angle or element, but recently I heard a podcast episode where an editor spoke about the two crucial elements in any publication. His advice made me sit up straight.

How to find editors' contact details

You’ve got a great idea for an article for a magazine, newspaper or website. You want to pitch it, but you have no idea where to find the editor’s contact details. While there is no one way to locate every single email address or phone number for an editor, there are a number of tools and strategies you can use to find the right person to pitch to (and some may surprise you).

Anatomy of a feature article

In the survey I sent out a few weeks ago, lots of you mentioned that you’d like to see how one of my feature articles developed – from the initial idea and pitching the editor to interviewing case studies and experts, writing the article, submitting it and being published. In this post I take you through an example of a feature story and all the steps involved in getting the article published in one of Australia’s newspapers.

Where to find the best story ideas for articles

It’s the moment many freelance writers dread. An editor asks if you’ve got any ideas to pitch, a client wonders what you think would make a good subject for an article for their business blog or you want to break into a dream publication, but your ideas have dried up. So where do freelance journalists and writers get their great ideas from and how can you ensure you have an endless supply of unique stories that editors will find irresistible?

How to get started as a freelance writer

This is a bit different from my regular posts – each month I’m going to be doing a post for people new to freelance writing, but with a downloadable resource for everyone. I’ve had a bit of a rush of new subscribers and visitors to my site recently (hello and thank you!) and some of these lovely readers have been in touch and asked if I could go back to the very beginning.

How freelance writers can find fantastic interview sources

If you’ve got a great idea for a feature article for a magazine or newspaper, you need the talent to back it up. But for journalists or freelance writers, finding case studies or sources can be a tricky thing. You might need experts to translate complex ideas so that a general readership can understand recent research, or you may need to find someone with first person experience to speak eloquently about the topic you are exploring. But how do you find those people who are going to bring your story to life?

Get writing work without pitching: how to get editors to come to you with commissions

When I started out as a freelance writer it never occurred to me that editors might one day come to me with articles they wanted me to write. In the past, I’ve had the occasional editor ask me to write a specific article for them. But this year, I’ve had multiple editors come to me over and over again with commissions. In this post I share the five key factors that are crucial to getting editors to approach you with commissions.