Stylist Live

How to pitch a brilliant feature by Stylist's Lucy Foster

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Harriet Hall
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We just can't wait for Stylist Live, our four-day festival of cocktails, culture, catwalks and conversation hosted by Edith Bowman and Dawn O’Porter on Thursday 15 – Sunday 18 October 2015.

If you buy a ticket for Friday 16th October, you can enrol in the School of Stylist and join Stylist's very own staff, as they impart their career wisdom, starting with editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarski at 10.45am, followed by features director Lucy Foster, fashion director Alexandra Fullerton, associate editor (beauty) Joanna McGarry and's editor-in-chief Maggie Hitchins. 

In the final weeks running-up to the event, we will be revealing the top tips from the team to make it in the industry, to give you a sneak-peek of what's to come. 

This week, we spoke with Lucy Foster, Stylist’s Features Director, and she told us her top tips for getting your ideas, and your writing noticed.

Ideas are everything.

Don't contact a features editor just to let them know you're available for work. You're placing the impetus on them to come up with an idea for you to write. It's unlikely anyone would do that for a writer they don't know. If you want to get in the magazine, pitch me with brilliant ideas.

Know the Stylist reader.

If you want to write for Stylist, you've got to know our readership. Our reader has an average age of 30. She is an urban, affluent professional and is interested in everything from politics and what’s on at the theatre, to the next best restaurant. She doesn’t do diets. She’s smart, opinionated and the sort of person you want to hang out with in the pub on Friday night. Think about her when you pitch your ideas. 

Hook me with your first line.

I probably don’t have the time to go through three paragraphs of copy, so get my attention straight away. Say to yourself, ‘What is the most important part of my story for a Stylist reader?’ If you make your first line witty, or turn your phrases in a way that impresses me, I will think you're good enough to take a punt on. You won't necessarily get this right straight-off, so perhaps send me your top three lines. Then a paragraph of copy explaining further.

Three’s a trend.

If you can show me three instances of people following the same behaviour, eating the same food, or talking about the same TV show, it’s enough to call it a trend. A trend can spark a feature. If you can think of six instances, it’s probably already too well established for us to write about it.

Formats make features interesting. 

The default format for a feature is a write-through of 2000 words of copy. But if you pitch me a fun format: a debate, a quiz, a flow chart, a line-up of people; that’s infinitely more interesting.

Make your idea stand up.

To make an idea stand up, it needs legs, as my old journalism lecturer used to say. Give an idea authority - be it through new research or expert comment - and it suddenly makes it a far more viable option. It tells me you’ve done your homework and that there is a body of research behind your idea.

Don’t take it personally if you don’t hear from me. 

I endeavour to get back to everyone but sometimes that’s just impossible. I get up to 300 emails a day and many of them are pitches, so it’s not personal if you don’t hear back. Sometimes I’ll be in meetings all day or on deadline, but don't be afraid to chase me. I will probably be guilt-tripped into answering you after two emails!

It's only two weeks to go until Stylist Live and you can meet Alex in person, and find out everything you need to know to become the next big fashion editor.

Get your tickets here...but be quick, they're selling-out fast. 

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Harriet Hall

Harriet Hall is a former Stylist contributor.