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Three (or five) is a crowd

Three (or five) is a crowd

In April, I attended a National Geographic Traveller pitching masterclass on Zoom. This turned out, perhaps predictably, to be a mixture of the blooming useful and the bloody obvious. Towards the more helpful end of things was a consensus among the three freelancers that pitching more than two ideas is unwise. Doing so, they reckon, suggests a scattergun approach which implies weakness. “I don’t really rate any of my ideas so I’ll pitch five in the hope that one of them is only half-crap.” That kinda vibe. It also gives the editor a lot to read, and it’s easier to read that tomorrow, or maybe the day after, or maybe….

Since adopting this maximum-of-two rule myself, I’ve been successful. The UK slow-travel list I’m writing for The Times was the only idea I pitched to The Times, for instance, and maybe that’s not a coincidence. Maybe less really is more.

It was because of all this that I asked, in last week’s media shout-out for the slow-travel piece, that you PRs pitch me a maximum of four ideas, and all in the same email. I hoped that this would help you – those of who had numerous contenders – to zero in on your leading contenders and ditch the dross. (I must admit that it was also borne out of a wish to save time via having less submissions to read.)

As I got some great pitches, it seems like the tack worked well. Then again, I guess I don’t know what I didn’t get pitched, so it could have been a total failure!

Either way, I’d be curious to know what you thought: did my limit help or hinder you? Was four the right amount, or still too many? If it was academic for you in this instance, what would you think of the idea moving forward? I’m away for much of this week, but I’ll gratefully read and aspire to reply to any thoughts you have.

What Richard Thinks…

“This superb, savvy, trend-based release actually inspired my Times pitch, and consequently got me work. The sadness is that Alex’s client missed out as they had no summer availability — but hopefully this award is some (much-deserved) consolation.”

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