So, you’d like to write for Trail Runner — that’s great! If you haven’t worked with us before, here are some tips to cut through the noise and get our attention. You can send your pitch to zrom at outsideinc.com (for print) or ntriolo at outsideinc.com (for online pieces).
The first step is to send us a pitch that describes why your story is a fit for Trail Runner, why you’re the writer to do it, how you’ll report it, and why the story is relevant now. If other publications have written about this topic before, tell us why your angle is unique. It’s also helpful (although not necessary) to include a suggested headline and subhead that sum up your story. If you’re new to writing for Trail Runner, send us a few clips in the style of the piece you’re pitching. Our rates start at $200 for digital pieces and .25/word for print, with increases for experience, sourcing and thoroughness.
Finally, because outdoor adventure and sports writing has historically highlighted predominantly white male voices and subjects, we are especially interested in women, BIPOC, LGBT+, and other diverse voices and subjects.
If you haven’t heard back in a few weeks or if your story is particularly urgent, it’s fine to send a follow-up email. We regret that we can’t respond to all pitches, but we’ll contact you if we think your story could be a fit for Trail Runner. Please don’t call us about pitches or send us unsolicited drafts.
- Read Trail Runner to get a sense of our style and voice, and get a sense of the types of stories and service journalism we like to run.
- Google it. It may seem silly, but we often reject pieces because they’ve been covered previously, and the new pitch doesn’t advance the idea far enough.
- Don’t pitch topics. Pitch stories. That can take anywhere from one sentence to three or four grafs, but it’s rarely longer. You should have a precise and clear angle, not an amorphous subject. For example, rather than “I’d like to write about fires and ultra running,” write “Here’s how a specific fire affected a specific race, and what that specific story highlights about a general trend in our sport.”Good pitches include basic narrative elements: a specific focus, a central question, stakes, a conflict and/or a central character. Ideally, something happens in the story.
- Do not send us a fully written draft. Distill your idea to a pitch, even if you have the draft already written.
- Do demonstrate that you have already made some calls, gathered information and/or identified the main players in a story.
- Avoid vague or overly short pitches like “I would like to write about X because of Y”. A short paragraph that fully captures your argument will be more effective.
- Why would a listener or reader care about this story? We all, at times, have a tendency to get sucked into our stories and assume others are as interested as we are. When writing a pitch, try to put yourself in the mindset of someone without a vested interest. What would be their entryway into your story? And don’t assume; whenever analytics about the audience are available, use them.
- Do specify which section of our magazine or website you’re pitching, and make a good case for why it belongs there. Hint: Inside Dirt is a newsletter, not a section.
- You’re pitching to busy editors who have good intentions but little time. Send them something they can digest quickly and explain easily to others. Keep your pitch to one short paragraph.
- We will get in touch if we are interested!