For 15 years, I’ve been writing and pitching op-eds. Here are the most memorable and useful lessons I’ve learned over the years—the hard way:
1. Sometimes it is who you know.
I used to write for a top business publication, but I haven’t been done so in years, during which time my editor earned a big promotion. So instead of emailing her, I emailed the general “submissions” inbox.
I waited a week and followed up. Again, crickets.
After another week, I reached out to my original contact, who forwarded my pitch to the woman monitoring the “submissions” address. This new editor—the one who had apparently disregarded or discounted my previous two emails—now replied within hours. She warmly accepted my piece, which ran on a Sunday and led to securing two clients.
Moral: In this racket, it’s not always what you know; it’s who you know.
It’s not fair, but that’s how it is, so cultivate contacts far and wide.
2. It’s essential to master the art of the follow-up.