To ensure that FANDOM continues to provide content that our audience and followers love, our editorial team need to know what articles writers want to write about so we can decide if it’s something that fits our tone, style, audience, and brand. To do this, we ask for writers to pitch to us what they’d like to write about before diving in. A pitch is like a statement of intent that shows us what the article will be about, and serves as a good outline for the writer to go off.
No matter how little or how much experience you may have in pitching, the process helps our team get a clear idea of what you’d like to write about and gets you thinking about what direction your article might go before you start writing.
Why Pitch an Article?
“If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else.” ― Yogi BerraAny kind of creative work is nothing without a good, solid idea. But a good idea isn’t the end of the process. Like the way an artist makes a sketch before painting or a filmmaker creates a storyboard before filming, your article needs an outline too. This is where the pitch comes in. A pitch does several things:
- It helps you properly think through your idea and explore where it might go. You might find that you have a good idea but there may not be a lot to say about it or maybe the idea is too big and you need to whittle it down to find the core of the story.
- It helps the Editorial team know what you want to write about. We can then assess whether it’s right for our brand, voice, and audience, and we can check whether it’s similar to something we’re already planning.
- It helps you write. When you know where your article is going, you can close in on the important stuff. Constraints can be a good thing, and when you’re writing about something you’re extremely knowledgeable on, it’s easy to fall into the trap of running off on tangents. A pitch keeps you focused when you write and reminds you what goal you’re trying to achieve.
A note of warning: Because we’re looking for articles that suit our brand, voice, and audience, we’re not able to accept every pitch. Don’t let that discourage you, this is common in any publishing field and any writer - even staff members - have their pitches knocked back. The way we improve is by trying, taking in feedback, adapting, and growing stronger.
Before you startBefore you get stuck into your great idea, there are three things you’re going to need to do first:
And did I mention research? Without research, writing for the internet can feel a bit like shouting into the void. You have an idea, but perhaps it’s been covered millions of times by incredibly well-known sources and sites. Who will listen to me and my take?
What’s great about this early phase of forming an idea is that researching your competition can help you find a great angle that no one else has looked at. Research is also a great way to find gaps in information that no one else covered. These are great opportunities for you to swoop in and answer the questions that people are asking, which ultimately leads to a greater success for you and your article.
How to research your idea
So, how can you ensure you’re not shouting into the void? Use research to find an interesting conversation, and join it. Check out social media channels, popular reddit threads, and other online fan forums and see what people are discussing. What fan-related topic takes your interest? What unique perspective can you add to this conversation? You can also try heading to the FANDOM wiki page of the property you want to write about and check if the community has discussions. Are there questions fans are asking or topics that seem to evoke emotional responses from fans in these forums that you could address in greater detail?
Another way that our team researches our topics is by poking around on Answer the Public. Enter the title, character, or whatever broad topic you want to write about into Answer the Public and see what questions people are searching for on Google and Bing. These questions are often really good jumping-off points for starting to form an idea and create a pitch that answers a question.
Think about the most recent article you read online. Did the author entertain, inform, or help you accomplish a task? Every article has a purpose, and your goal as a writer is to offer your reader something they didn’t have before.
There are a great many ways of approaching an article idea, but articles generally fall into one (or more) of the following types. If your pitch idea doesn’t fall into one of these categories, then it might be worth reassessing your core idea and making sure it has a clear focus, purpose, and drive. If you feel your idea has those things but still doesn’t meet one of the below categories, pick which one you feel best suits it and our Editorial team will happily help.
As the name suggests, a “How To” story is an article that informs a reader how to do something. “How To” articles are mostly common with gaming articles. A “How To” article might be a guide on how to start with Final Fantasy XV or how to create the best Fallout 4 mods.
Expert to Beginner
An expert to beginner type of article requires expert-level knowledge from a fan who explains a concept, idea, plot point, or entire universe to a beginner without talking down to the reader. This might include explaining Hodor’s time travel paradox in Game of Thrones, explaining where a newcomer might start with the Resident Evil game series, or discussing why politics matter in the Star Wars universe.
“Explore related” articles encourage fans of one property to check out related fandoms. It might be suggesting other anime titles to check out if you’re looking forward to My Hero Academia’s release, or, if you’re into cooking programs, suggesting some of the best on Netflix.
Speculative articles theorize about what might be coming up. They often follow an announcement, news, or a dramatic event in a show, movie or game. One might speculate who would be a good candidate to play Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts 2 or what’s in store for season two of Westworld.
How To Create a Great Pitch
As discussed in greater detail in the FANDOM Contributor Writing and Style Guidelines, to ensure a coherent voice and style across the site that reaches our target audience, we want to see pitches that:
- Answer a question - preferably a question a reader wants to find the answer to. Put yourself in the shoes of someone else and ask yourself what they might want to read about? What might they be Googling to find out? What piece of information can you share that would illuminate a fandom for another person? Your pitch needs to show how a reader’s question will be answered.
- Have a clear perspective and point of view - just telling your readers a thing exists isn’t interesting. Your audience wants to understand why they should care and why they should be reading about this thing you’re so passionate about. Let them into the world you love through your unique perspective.
- Make us feel something - it might be an idea that makes us giggle, makes us happy or nostalgic or curious or inspired or cry, whatever it might be, we want to have an emotional reaction.
- Are engaging and shareable - the type of idea that will draw in a reader and compel them to want to share the article on social media or talk about it with their friends.
If your pitch doesn’t meet most, if not all, of these criteria, then you might want to think more about your idea and why you want to write the article.
What We Do Not Publish
At this time, we’re not accepting from FANDOM Contributors TV recaps, reviews, fiction or fan fiction, news that doesn't have an opinion or point of view, and articles that assume expert-level knowledge.
We also have a zero tolerance policy for pitches and articles that are:
- Blatantly offensive, prejudiced, or include any kind of hate speech
- Factually incorrect (no “alternative facts” here on FANDOM, thank you)
Fandom News and Stories How to Pitch
Fandom News and Stories Pitch Process
Fandom News and Stories Pitch Examples
Fandom News and Stories Pitch FAQ
Fandom News and Stories Writing Guidelines