Looking to pitch TechRaptor for Freelance Features? Then you've come to the right place! Read on for details about how you can what we look for, our freelance feature rates, and how you can pitch us below!
Freelance Features - What We Look For (General)
"Features" covers a wide umbrella that runs the gamut from fun, fluffy, hype pieces to serious, investigative journalism. They also live and die by pitches. They're the kernel of good ideas and help me understand what you're going for.
When you pitch something, you'll want to answer these four questions as succinctly yet clearly as possible.
- What's your working headline?
- What's the nut graf? (nut graf = nutshell paragraph; the elevator pitch)
- Who is the primary audience?
- Why is this story worth chasing?
Additionally, when you're sending in your pitches, please include links to previously published work along with a link to your portfolio.
We break down features into three tiers.
Like it or not, people love listicles, and those views help us grow and get bigger, better stories. There's a reason Buzzfeed went from "33 Things You Won't Believe About ABC (#7 Will Shock You!)" to breaking the Mueller Report story.
TechRaptor's approach to listicles focuses more on mixing creativity with trends. You want to target keywords that are hot at the time, and having a tongue-in-cheek attitude never hurts either. We want these to be fun and capture the attention of our readers with an engaging, interesting subject. More often than not, you should be leaning into what's popular in the moment, and silliness is encouraged.
Some examples ideas include:
- 10 Best Dexterity Weapons in Elden Ring
- 6 Most Immersive Skyrim Mods
- Every Fire Emblem Three Houses Unit Ranked
We usually do 6-10 items in a list, and here's a good example of one.
Pay Rates | Listicles
|700 - 1,200 Words||$20|
|1,200 - 2,000 Words||$30|
Tier 1 - Quick Features/Opinions
Word Limit: 750 - 1,200 words. Anything at this tier can be said within 1,200 with few exceptions. If you need to go over, you'll work with the features editor on why.
These features should be fairly quick and easy to do. They don't require an intensive amount of work to complete and can usually be turned around in response to something that happens in the industry.
Quick Opinions | Tier 1
"Opinion" here means a little more than it does on Twitter or Reddit. This isn't the place for you to spew a meaningless hot take like, "BioShock was a bad game, actually." Opinions have to be supported by facts. What is it about BioShock that made it a bad game? What are you harping on? How can you convince me (or the readers) that your hot take is actually right?
Opinions are more than a place for you to vent frustrations or wax poetic. You're presenting a logical argument to people, one that likely has two or more sides. You need to present the facts, argue why your interpretation of the facts are more correct, and address common counterarguments against you.
Example Article: PlayStation 5 vs. Xbox Series X - The New Race For Exclusives
Game Impressions & Insights | Tier 1
Commonly, these are thought of as one step shy of a proper "review." At TechRaptor, we try to amp up the angle here by focusing on something about the game that's interesting on its own. The headline here isn't, "Game is Pretty Good." It should be, "This Game's First-Person Combat Feels Unlike Anything Else," or, "Game Makes Collecting Scrap More Fun Than Ever."
The goal is to have a piece that can grab eyes on Twitter, to get people more interested in something specific, not general. We generally use this format for games we already have reviews for, for major game updates that don't warrant a full review, or whenever you're feeling like writing about something specific in a game.
Take this Death Stranding x Cyberpunk 2077 piece as an example. The headline could've been, "Cyberpunk 2077 x Death Stranding Crossover Adds Fun New Mechanics." Instead, though, the headline analyzes the deeper meaning behind these mechanics and puts them in a context that could grab the reader's eye.
Light Interview | Tier 1
These are pretty straightforward interviews that usually don’t require much research or legwork. More often than not, this will be an interview with the developer of a game. Other times, it's about some trend in the industry, or a new service that's related to games.
We have more tips on conducting interviews here, but when it comes to writing up the final piece, you’re required to write a full story, not a Q&A format.
I would highly recommend reading lots of mainstream journalism (not games journo stuff; New York Times, Washington Post, your city's local paper) for examples of how to incorporate interviews into your feature.
More often than not, you don't want to set up a quote by saying, "I asked them about what their future plans were," followed by the quote. Instead, you'll want to set it up with something like, "This scrappy team of developers has more in store for their next game," followed by the quote about their future plans.
This article about Poki and the future of flash gaming is a good example.
Pay Rates | Tier 1
|Word Count||750 - 2,000|
Tier 2 - Features/Opinions
Word Limit: 700 - 2,000 words. Anything at this tier can be said within 2,000 with few exceptions. If you need to go over, you'll work with the features editor on why.
At this tier, these features will require more work and will face more scrutiny. The topic needs to be meaningful, the research needs hold up, and the quality needs to be high.
Research-Driven Features | Tier 2
hink of these like your average high school or college paper, except you actually (should) care about what you're writing. For these, you'll want a very clearly defined thesis, or you'll want to answer a big question. From there, you'll build out your supporting points and answers, using primary and secondary sources to expand your thesis. Interviewing relevant subject-matter experts can also count as research here. However, you don't have to do interviews for this one; just ensure the quality and level of your research is exceptional.
This article, "What is Cyberpunk?," does a fantastic job of setting out to answer a simple question with many answers. Quotes are woven throughout from external sources (with citations). It's a deep analysis that answers the curiosity of the audience, and might spark more probing questions from them.
Research-Driven Opinions | Tier 2
These are similar to Research-Driven Features in many ways but with one major difference: You're making an argument, and it has to make sense.
These are trickier to stick the landing on, as most opinion pieces are. You have to lay out your argument, anticipate counterarguments, and use facts and supporting evidence to bolster your opinion.
Features shed light and broaden the understanding of an issue. Opinions assume the reader knows quite a bit about that issue, and you're trying to convince them to think a certain way about that issue.
Deep-Analysis | Tier 2
Instead of relying primarily on research, this feature would require you to dig deep within yourself and provide some crucial analysis of something in the industry. The goal is to connect unseen dots, reveal missed connections, and unearth new understandings of something.
Pitches for these will be heavily scrutinized. The topic needs to be noteworthy and interesting, and your analysis needs to be insightful and meaningful. Here's a good example. Here's another.
Pay Rates | Tier 2
|Word Count||1,200 - 2,000|
Tier 3 - Investigative Features
These will be our flagship stories at TechRaptor. If we were a magazine, these would be our cover stories. The goal is to dive deep into a noteworthy story no one else has covered. You'll conduct extensive research, interview the proper experts, and chase down elusive answers.
Your reporting will likely happen over a series of days or weeks. Lots of research goes into this, and lining up the proper interviews can take time. The goal here is to provide a huge exposé, where the story is so big that it doesn't matter if it releases now or next week.
If you're familiar with mainstream media, Special Projects Reporters work on this sort of stuff for major news outlets.
Examples & Inspiration
Cecelia D'Anastasio - Inside the Culture of Sexism at Riot Games
Jason Schrier - As Naughty Dog Crunches On The Last Of Us II, Developers Wonder How Much Longer This Approach Can Last
- The writer is ambitious, inquisitive, and curious.
- The writer will hustle to chase down the best version of the story.
- The story sparks discourse-defining discussions.
- The story is relevant to the games industry at large.
- No fluff. The pay is per word, and the editor will scrutinize hard.
- We will likely go through multiple drafts.
- A well-written, insightful final draft that's supported by facts, figures, and interviews.
- 3+ meaty interviews.
- A full body of research, including citations.
- Images and/or multimedia included.
There is no word count maximum attached to this. Much like a good video game, the expectation is that we'll publish it when it's ready. If it takes 3,000 words to tell the story, it takes 3,000 words. If it takes 5,000, then it takes 5,000. Use your best judgment though. If you have a big idea and turn in a 300-word final draft, strongly reconsider if you've done the story justice. Then work on the next draft.
Pay Rates | Tier 3
Columns and Series
Where these land depend on the scope of your idea, but we're wide open to taking pitches for weekly or monthly columns and series, and working with you to bring them to life. If you've got an idea, pitch it!
How You Get Paid
TechRaptor pays on-publish, meaning that you'll setup an OutVoice account ahead of publication. When we hit "Publish" - the money heads to your account, and should be in your bank within a few days. No Invoicing. No Net-Whatever, and no BS. Just get paid for good work.
How To Pitch Freelance Features
You can send your pitches to Robert Scarpinito via email. To pitch freelance features, please:
- Please include links to previously published work along with a link to your portfolio.
- Pitch using the criteria found under Listicles, Tier 1, Tier 2, or Investigative.
- Reach out to freelance[at]techraptor[dot]net
I read everything, but only get back when something piques my interest