Storytelling

How to Pitch The Content Strategist

Contently was founded to help brands tell great stories, and to ensure that freelancers get paid well to do what they love.

Our platform brings brands and freelancers together to do great work together. And one of the brands it does that for is, well, us. Great content and storytelling is at the heart of everything we do at Contently, and we’re always on the lookout for new voices to contribute to our flagship publication, The Content Strategist.

Whether you’re already a part of the Contently network or are still looking for a reason to sign up, here’s what we look for in pitches for our publication.

What kind of stories are we looking for?

We cover all things content marketing, which is broad by design. Our audience consists of marketers trying to be more creative and think more strategically. Possible topics include content strategy, SEO, storytelling, video, social media, marketing ROI, and more.

Many of our clients come from four industries: financial services, B2B tech, healthcare, and travel and hospitality. So we’re most interested in ideas that tie in to those areas.

Before you pitch, check out the site to see what we’ve published over the years. If you have a particular topic in mind, make sure we haven’t covered it before. Use the search function on the site and do a Google site search to be safe.

Marketing blogs are saturated with a lot of generic how-to posts that promise tips and tricks. Offering unique advice is a good start, but freelancers will have a better shot of getting published on TCS if they present their advice through a narrative that includes original reporting and data.

Here are a selection of pillars and topics that we’re particularly interested in pitches on:

SEO

SEO drives the majority of traffic to brand sites. It’s a key part of any content marketing program. So, we’re always looking for analysis on how SEO is changing, and how to create content that delivers high-value traffic to your site. We don’t want the same generic tips that you’ll find on a million SEO and marketing blogs. But we are interested in behind-the-scenes looks at brands who do SEO well, analysis on how brands should adapt to Google’s latest changes, the impact of infinite scrolling on Google, etc.

Examples:

Behind-the-scenes profiles and case studies

What can we learn from brands and media companies that are doing content really well? What have they figured out that others haven’t? How do they pull it off? These are questions we always want to be answering at The Content Strategist to inspire our audience to do better work. Tell us a great story. Bring us inside a breakthrough content program, and show us their secrets to success.

Reported features and trend pieces

We’re also always looking for broader analysis of broader content and marketing trends, looking at how both new technologies, policies, and/or cultural shifts will impact how marketers do their job. This is a big bucket that tends to produce our best-performing pieces, when done well.

Storytelling

We’re also always looking for unique angles on how marketers and brands can tell better stories.

Examples:

Data-Driven Analysis

Our audience loves research-backed content. Either interesting summaries and analysis on third-party industry research, or unique data sets that you bring to the table.

Creative advice

Fairly self-explanatory.

Q&A

Interviews with marketers and storytellers who are doing great work and have something interesting to say.

What do we pay?

A flat rate of $500-$,1000 per story. Sometimes more for big features. We occasionally publish  “quick-hitters” on new industry research, which are less than 600 words and pay $350.

We pay upon submission of the first draft through Contently’s content marketing platform. There’s no invoicing—you get credited with the amount in our platform and then can withdraw it to PayPal.

How should I pitch?

Fill out this form here—your pitch will go directly into our platform where we can consider it.

What should you include in your pitch?

For the headline, take advantage of the opportunity to catch our eye with something like, “Should Your Marketing Team Care About TikTok?” If you have a great pitch, try to pair it with a creative headline since we’ll have to think of one at some point anyway.

For the body of your pitch, write 2-3 paragraphs explaining your idea in detail. Tell me why you think the pitch belongs on The Content Strategist, what’s unique about it, and who you’re going to interview (if applicable). I’d also recommend highlighting the thesis of your idea in one clear sentence. If you’re offering tips and advice, definitely include those as bullets. You’d be surprised how often people pitch that kind of story but don’t include the specifics.

Wrap up the email with 2-3 writing samples. It helps if you have clips related to the topics we cover on The Content Strategist, but I recognize that’s not always possible. If you have good writing, I don’t care if it’s about food, sports, Australian cinema, whatever. I’m just looking for proof that you can write well and deliver what you pitched.

What should you not include?

There’s a difference between having an interesting idea and sending a good freelance pitch. Frankly, we turn down a lot of poorly constructed pitches for ideas that have potential. Remember that you’re pitching your talent and professionalism just as much as the idea itself.

Here’s a quick list of things you shouldn’t do:

  • Don’t cram multiple pitches into one.
  • On a related note, don’t just send a list of titles for various ideas without any description of your ideas. A lot of people do this, and I’ve never accepted this kind of pitch.
  • Don’t send drafts completed on spec. We’ve found that the editing process works much better when we start with a pitch and develop the idea together.

Wait, how should I pitch again?

Pitch using this form.

We’ll do our best to get back to you within 3-5 business days of your pitch, but will definitely be faster with a timely piece.

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