How to Manage Pitches with Submission Software

05/16/2019

Bulk communication can be overwhelming for anyone—and as an editor fielding potentially hundreds of pitches and queries every day, sorting through them to find talent for your magazine can be daunting. Managing inquiries via email is often bulky, clunky, and difficult to keep on top of. Luckily, content management software like Submittable is designed with editors’ needs in mind. A digital solution enables editors to easily organize, categorize, delegate, and limit timelines.

Utilize Bulk Communication

Responding to every email and pitch you receive can feel impossible if you are working from a traditional email inbox. However, submission software platforms allow editors to confirm the receipt of each pitch with an automatic response and templated messages; you can communicate with tens or hundreds of recipients at a time, as needed. Do you want to say “no” to 50 pitches? You can do that with a template and a few clicks of a button. Do you want to say, “I’m passing on this pitch but would love to see more ideas from you?” You can do this in bulk, too. Templates with placeholder text will automatically fill in important information like the message recipient’s name and the pitch title.

Reduce Email

When pitches pile up in your inbox, it can take significant (and precious) time to sort through them all. No matter how organized you are, emails are also easy to lose, place in the wrong folder, or accidentally delete. Additionally, as an editor, you may be the only one with access to the high volume of emails you are receiving—or perhaps, more confusing still, you’re part of an address shared by multiple editors. Using software like Submittable, pitches can be seen and reviewed by a whole team. This will free up your inbox for other work and it will help you more easily delegate tasks.

Solicit Specific Content

If you put out a call on Twitter asking for a specific set of pitches, there’s no saying what will show up in your inbox. Submission management software allows editors to customize the required fields freelancers need to fill out before they can press “send” on their pitch. Asking writers to select a topic from a customized checklist, for example, or include a one-line description of the article’s angle, can help you immediately see which pitches match the specific guidelines you’ve set. Using a submission form helps editors reduce the time spent sifting through unusable pitches, making it easier to identify the stories that fit their magazine’s focus.

Easily Set up and Share

Your software solution should be user-friendly, intuitive, and quick to set up. Platforms like Submittable allow you to begin with a simple interface including basic fields; as you become familiar with the software, it’s easy to incorporate additional fields or begin utilizing more features, such as templated responses. Share your account with anyone on your team, giving team members the appropriate access to content and assigning pitches for review.

Set Limits

Unlike email, submission software allows you to designate reading periods. This means freelancers will only be able to pitch you during specific windows of time. Swamped with pitches? Close your submission form to freelancers. That way, you can take your time reviewing the pitches you’ve received without being barraged by more pitches each day. If you are putting out a special issue, or need specific content that you haven’t received, you can also use this feature to solicit designated content for a short period of time.

Accept Pitches

While rejections to pitches can be sent in bulk, accepting pitches typically requires personalized, tailored responses. The fields available via software like Submittable make this easy to do. There are a number of ways you can choose to receive the completed content, as wellusing a form or open editing feature allows you to do this. But if you prefer to work with freelance writers in Google docs, you will also be able to accept Google doc links so that you can track edits.

Support Writers

If a writer is simultaneously pitching multiple magazines, they may end up receiving a go-ahead elsewhere on a pitch you’re still considering. Using content management software allows them to withdraw their own submission, saving you from yet another email or potential confusion down the road if you’re interested in the idea. Be sure to consider technical support, as well, in selecting submission software. The platform you choose should make support readily available both for your organization and the writers using the software to pitch.

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Time is a limited and invaluable resource for publishers and editors. Accepting pitches using submission management software can increase efficiency by supporting communication, enabling submission windows and specific calls, reducing emails, and improving sharing and support. You just might find talent and publish great content faster—and isn’t that a great goal?

Interested in using Submittable to accept and review pitches for your publication? Please reach out anytime.

Emily Withnall

Emily Withnall works as a freelance writer and editor. Emily also teaches poetry in public schools in and outside of Missoula and in the Missoula County Detention Center. Some of her work is available at emilywithnall.com.