Timing - Because magazines articles are written long before they are published, make sure the story will be relevant in a few months. Ensure that the readers will care about the issues you're writing about and even topics tied to the months of publication, like a new development in cancer research for October breast cancer month. Although you can't publish breaking news, writing long form gives you the time to dig deep in research.
Read - Past examples of articles from the magazine are the best tools. I read old hed and dex before I pitch my own to make sure I can be consistent with publications. Voice is key. You don't want to write, for example, an article for Washington Post that sounds likes its for the readers of Seventeen. The topics of importance are as different as the audience members.
Dig - This may be seem obvious but you need to become in a way an Internet stalker to really find the best stories. Not everything will be on the front of the New York Times. The best stories are one posted on small blog sites that can be connected to many other stories, including when you see a pattern. Look for trends that are developing and emerging.
Brainstorm - I get the best ideas when I see an interesting article and then my friend at work also read something similar. With others in the office I have done my best work because together we can almost act as editors. Bouncing ideas off of an other is important but it is also key to stick to your story and the angle you want to take.
One more great tip when pitch: start with a hed and dex, then write the story! Knowing the direction you're going in is important when it comes to telling your editors about it. Plus, it helps you have a clear idea of the research you need to do and the way to develop it.
What are the best tips you know about pitching and voice? Comment below!
Out for now,