Ideas are the driving force behind many content writers. An idea for something to write could lead to your next accepted pitch. But your pitch will need more than just an idea, and that’s where good research comes in.
Getting Started with Research
Boost the chances of pitch acceptance by familiarizing yourself with the brand. This is your first step in building a working relationship with them. Who is their audience? What kind of content do they need? What is their tone? When familiarizing yourself with a brand before pitching to them, study what content they have already used to ensure you aren’t pitching something they’ve covered.
While researching a brand, make sure your idea meets the brand’s needs. For example, a brand specializing in education would not be interested in content about auto repair. Ask yourself if you were looking for this information – would this brand help you find that information?
Research Tools for Content Writers
Research your idea before pitching a content idea. Many research options are available to improve your pitch. Most of them are free, but some come with a price. The next time you have a content idea to pitch to a brand, use these research strategies before you send your pitch:
Study similar content
If a brand has published the content before – how is your idea different? At the same time, check out similar content on other websites and blogs. Study them to see how you can make your content different.
Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook can show writers what is trending and news that can complement their pitch. By using hashtags and quotes in the search feature on these sites, you can narrow your search to posts providing useful information for your pitch.
News and Trending Topics
While it’s not possible to read every news publication out there, the Internet has made it easy for writers to find news sources about their idea. Type the idea or topic into your favorite search engine and, if possible, click on “News” for results. These results may offer information that can help improve your pitch.
Research databases will broaden your research to include journals and other publications covering your topic. They can be helpful tools that provide information not found anywhere else. Plus, they save you the cost of buying back issues. Some search results may provide the full text, while others may only show abstracts. Research databases include:
Keywords can be a helpful way to research your idea before sending your pitch. For example, if your idea is for an article on how to train a dog, you can type the words “dog training sites” or “how to train a dog” into your search engine and see which results pop up. These results can guide you in wording your pitch.
It’s not possible to read every book on your topic. Search features such as Google Books and Amazon’s “Look Inside” can help. You can also look up your topic in your local library’s database. The books’ information can improve your pitch.
Public information sources
Government public records are available to read for free online. These records include items like statistics, certificates, historical documents, and maps. Some helpful sites include:
Use Good Sources for Your Research
When conducting research, be sure to use legit sources. Some brands will not include information from certain websites, so check their style guide before including that source in your work. Make sure your source is accurate.
Alternatively, you can get an idea for something to write based on the research you’ve already done. I once read an article in the New York Times that left me with questions. I got answers to those questions when a brand accepted my pitch based on that article’s topic. Reading articles online can inspire ideas for a pitch, so check out what’s new to see if anything clicks.
Research Can Help You Create a Better Pitch
Using the tools listed above will help you create an informed and powerful pitch. By knowing how to research an idea, a brand can trust that you’re the kind of writer who will give them good content. Researching your idea also shows you are informed enough on the topic to write about it.
The next time you get an idea for a pitch – do research first. Check the brand’s site, use online tools available to you, and check alternative sources of information, such as databases and books, to get information for your pitch.
FAQs About How to Research Your Pitch
Why is it important to research a pitch before submitting the pitch?
By researching your idea, you will become more informed on the topic. This will show in your pitch, helping it to stand out.
Do brands need to see extra information relevant to a pitch?
When you pitch a brand, you present yourself as an “expert” on a topic. Showing you know the topic well from your research helps a brand to understand you are the right person to write the content.
What if the research strategies in this article don’t help?
If none of the tools listed above help, you can try consulting experts in the field. Perhaps a teacher at a local school or university can help. You can also try looking for information through YouTube and relevant websites.
About the author
This post is by nDash community member Dawn Colclasure, who considers herself a “writer of all trades.” You can learn more about her, her experience, and her background here or by visiting her profile.