‘Pitch Perfect’: Paul Bolding’s feedback #2


Over the past week or so – to celebrate today ‘National Freelance Day‘ – we’ve been asking people to send in their article pitches for our experienced editor Paul Bolding. We’ve had some great pitches and some equally interesting feedback from Paul so thanks to everyone for contributing to our online freelancing workshop/experiment.

As today is ‘National Freelancers Day’ itself, we’ve got another pitch. This time it’s from ‘Gemma’ to illustrate the do’s and don’ts of good pitching:

Pitch for Paul Bolding

My idea is for a feature on beauty pageants. The standard approach to a feature on beauty pageants on this subject is for the feminist stance against such sexism and exploitationt behaviour. However, I propose a feature that looks into and disproves these arguments.

Many people believe that they are still sexist parades see them as sexist parades but when investigated it is clear to see that the contestants are can be clever as well as beautiful and that they do so much for charity. They don’t feel exploited.

This is a new viewpoint on an age-old argument and something which I believe would be read by many.

Paul had a look and made the following comments:

“This needs to say who it is aimed at; that way the recipient will be assured it is intended for them. To write a pitch, the author needs to know who it is aimed at too.

It would also help to give an idea who the voices are, and to make clear that the piece will include balance from the beauty contest industry. The last few words about it being read by many could be dropped. Otherwise, fine.”

From our perspective, the pitch picks a good topic and tries to do something different (I could see it in G2 or something similar) with it but it falls just short of a really good pitch. As Paul says, highlighting who you’d interview is important whilst the last sentence is a waste of words (you must be able to use words sparingly and to self-edit so every pitch is tight).

Similarly, the second sentence (about what your trying to contrast your feature against) almost doesn’t need to be in there – editors know what the typical line for a beauty pageant feature is and would realise what you were trying to do. Something along the lines of ‘My idea is for a feature on girls who take part in beauty pageants and how they are clever and charitable’ is a much more efficient way of making your point straight away.

Any advice for ‘Gemma’ or about pitching in general? Don’t agree with Paul’s advice or our comments? Let us know by emailing hacks@wannabehacks.co.uk or tweeting us (@wannabehacks)…


About benwhitelaw
Ben is Communities Editor at The Times

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