Pitching a profile article
October 26, 2006 8:51 PM   Subscribe

Do I need to contact a company before I pitch a profile to the local newspaper?

I want to pursue more freelance writing and given my background, I think business profiles are a good bet. I've got a local business in mind that I think would work well for the newspaper. But is it okay that I've never approached the business?

I know as a staff writer, we blindly asked companies all the time if they wanted to be profiled. But the idea of getting a freelance assignment without ever having talked to the company feels a little strange. But it also feels strange to talk to them first. (Note: they're friends of friends, but I don't personally know them.)

Any advice? Thanks!
posted by faunafrailty to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'd contact the paper first, pitch your idea and let them know you haven't yet talked to anyone at the company. If the paper OKs it but the company then says no, the paper is unlikely to have a problem with the outcome.

If you get the company's OK first but the paper says no, you'll probably have to deal with this troubling question: "But *why* doesn't the paper want a story on my company?" You'd essentially have to speak for the paper, which as a freelancer might be uncomfortable. You'd also have raised the company's hopes, only to have them dashed.
posted by diddlegnome at 9:27 PM on October 26, 2006

I have to agree with diddlegnome. There is also the outside chance the paper already has someone working on the profile. Or they profiled a similar company three months ago.

I'd also mention how you got the idea in the first place. Even "friends of friends" is too close for some editors.
posted by ?! at 10:02 PM on October 26, 2006

Response by poster: Diddlegnome: That was my exact fear regarding contacting the company first. Thanks for seconding it.

?!: I didn't think of the "friends of friends" angle being too close. I'll make sure I'm clear on how I got the idea of the company.

posted by faunafrailty at 10:09 PM on October 26, 2006

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