Fast Pitch: Quick Tips from Fast Company’s Rich Bellis
Rich Bellis is an associate editor at Fast Company and serves as the editor of Fast Company Leadership Daily. He specializes in stories about careers, entrepreneurship, management, productivity, and a bit of brain science, just to name a few. In the past, Bellis has hosted webcasts about metadata, edited technical reports, written marketing copy for wind-up toys, and once traded copyediting services for Spanish lessons. Wondering how to pitch him a story that actually gets published? He shares some great tips below that are sure to get you into Fast Company’s Leadership section.
What kind of information do you prefer to receive?
Complete, unpublished drafts of 750–900-word stories (please no pitches, abstracts, or outlines) for Fast Company’s Leadership section only. Our leadership section will focus on the following for this year, so we are looking for stories that fit into the following categories:
- The Future of Work
- News and analysis of trends is the changing workplace landscape (this includes both things like studies of current trends, news of changes in laws and policies as well as analysis and predictions and coverage of the 2016 Presidential election)
- Diversity (women and minorities in tech and leadership,generational issues, etc.)
- Freelancing, gig economy, remote/flex work
- Working Smarter
- Emotional intelligence, creativity, and mindfulness
- Productivity and time management
- Strategies to achieve work-life balance
- Inside Innovation
- Startup trends, challenges, and solutions
- Interviews and first-person accounts of leader’s challenges and triumphs
- Leadership Lessons
- Leadership styles, mistakes/lessons learned
- Entrepreneurial skills, traits, and experiences
- Management issues: employee performance, motivation,engagement, hiring
- Career Planning
- Interviewing (from both sides of the table), resumes and job searching
- Mentorship, changing careers, career challenges and advice
- Career development, learning new skills, getting better at the job you already have, and progressing within your own field or company.
What will catch your attention?
A clear, well-written, jargon-free heading that squares with the section’s scope of coverage in the subject line, has minimal body copy, and includes a full draft attached or pasted inline. Below are some linked articles to Fast Company’s website which details exactly what I am looking for when you send something to my inbox.
Do you have any advice for PR professionals?
What I outlined is unique to my section’s workflow here at Fast Company—it isn’t universal. But that’s a key point that many overlook: there’s no such thing as a universal pitching protocol. Many other outlets do accept pitches, outlines, and what have you, and I’m fully aware that asking contributors to write full drafts on spec is a perfectly understandable deal-breaker. But since we’ve published clear submission guidelines (see above!), there’s really no excuse for contacting my fellow editors and I in ways that disregard them. It’s like flushing your clients’ PR dollars down the toilet. Remember that virtually every editor out there has been (or still is!) a freelance writer, which means we’ve all learned to do some basic research on whom we’re pitching and the right way to pitch them beforehand, and we expect those who pitch us to do the same. I’m a sample of one, but better than half of the PR professionals who contact me on a daily basis don’t bother to do that.
How about any pet peeves?
Be a professional and don’t shoot your clients and yourself in the face. Do basic homework on the person you’re emailing, don’t send long emails, don’t send e-blasts of press releases, don’t pitch me stuff I don’t cover, and don’t continuously send pitches and abstracts after I’ve asked you not to. Sending editors LinkedIn requests and tweeting at us won’t make us email you back any faster. These issues are the rule, not the exception, so just a little bit of common sense, care, and restraint can set you way ahead of the pack.
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