I was reading a magazine and had reached the Letters Page, where one reader's correspondence jumped out. It was moaning about a difficulty they were having and the letter ended with a question: did other readers have a similar problem?
I was about to construct a letter in response, but as I began outlining the points I wanted to make, I realised that there was an article here. Hmmm. Perhaps it was worth pitching it to the editor?
And so that's how I began my pitch. I mentioned the letter in question and said, here are the solutions I can offer to this reader's question, whereupon I then bullet-pointed my ideas. Within ten minutes, the editor had replied, with a Yes please! (I wish all pitches worked that way.)
- By telling the editor that I was offering an article that would answer a reader's question, it shows that I read the magazine.
- Using the letter as the inspiration for an idea, I knew that it was a topic that was of interest to the readership.
- And by commissioning the article, the editor can show that he is listening to his readers and providing articles and information that he knows they are keen to learn.