Yesterday I explained why it's smarter to find a market you can write for more than once, and then come up with ideas specifically for that market instead of coming up with and idea and then market-shopping for it. It's a technique I'm actually using right now as I'm looking to add a few new "regular" markets to my client list.
But there's another technique I use when querying that helps set my queries apart from about 90 percent of the ones my editors receive. I demonstrate familiarity with the publication I'm pitching. In other words, I let her know I've read her magazine, whether it's print or online.
How? By mentioning the section of the magazine I think my piece belongs. I might say something like, "Interested in this piece for your 'Healthy You'" department?" Or, "I think this story might work well in your "Time-Savers" section--let me know if you agree?" I want the editor to know that I'm not pitching blindly--I've studied her pub and really want to write for her.
Another way you can do this is to mention a recent article, like, "I enjoyed your piece on clutter-busting tips in the April issue and envision a similar approach with this piece on money-saving strategies." (And note that a little flattery never hurts!)
So, your assignment--before you send a pitch out, make sure you demonstrate your familiarity with the market you're querying.
**New to freelancing? Want to make money writing articles but not sure how to start? In
Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets, I share how I approached ten different freelance articles for different markets as a new freelancer. You'll find actual query samples, contract advice, and learn how to do everything from interview a source to write more compelling articles. It's the best book I've seen for brand-new article-writing freelancers!