In my previous post, where I talked about my Marketing Planning packetUltimate Freelance Kit I shared my painful story of being pushed out of my job.
But what did I do afterward?
Well, I did a lot of thinking. I even made a pros and cons list.
One thing stood out above all else.
I always wanted to be a writer but was too afraid to put myself out there. I blogged for a long time, but I never really “marketed” myself or the blog.
At the time I was living in Paris, you know, the 2nd most expensive city in the WORLD.
Oh, and my husband was still living in the States.
Needless to say, I was feeling the pressure.
Naturally, I gravitated toward writing. I have been working on a historical fiction novel for a while now, so why not do this for a living?
I mean, writing has ONLY been a passion of mine for like ever!
But first, I had to figure out what I wanted to write about. I mean, I would love to write nonstop about things I LIKE, but really, how much can I make off of that?
The first thing I had to do was think about what I would write about.
Niche or Specialty?
I don’t like choosing a niche, so I decided to “specialize” in many subjects or niches. I had many jobs before finishing college with my degree, so I have “expertise” in many areas.
I tried freelance writing job boards for a while, you know, where you “bid” on jobs, and the client chooses the one that “fits them.”
But unfortunately, I discovered that most of the jobs were given to those with higher ratings, making it almost impossible for a noob like myself to get noticed.
It wasn’t until I attended a freelance writing course that I realized that I needed to try cold pitching.
Did your heart just jump into your throat? Or perhaps you busted out in a cold sweat?
I know I did when began pitching for the first time.
Of course, before I set out to write the perfect pitch I had to do some research.
I read a lot of blog posts on how to cold pitch, and even as a writer I figured what’s the big deal this isn’t hard.
So, I tried it.
I started by collecting websites and names of people I wanted to work with. I put together a rather snazzy-looking spreadsheet and noted important things such as if they had updated their blogs or if they even had a blog.
A lot of my pitches were ignored. So of course, I had to figure out what the problem was.
Problem-solving is one of my skills.
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Sending a pitch to a potential client and being successful isn’t easy. But it is possible, and I am here to tell you that you can be successful!
You have spent money on advertising; you are plowing through blog posts for others and yourself. You are making a name for yourself.
You haven’t gotten that one client. You know the one. The big fish.
You haven’t, or you have sent a pitch, but it was not successful.
Throughout your freelance career, this is going to happen.
Sometimes you get a response and sometimes you’re ignored but that is ok.
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Craft an email!
A writer will send their ideas or pitch to an editor or business owner a brief description of an article idea.
What usually happens is the editor will respond to the article pitch, informing the writer if they are interested.
Sometimes, your email will fall on deaf ears, but that is not a reason to quit.
Why do you need to pitch anyway?
Pitching is how you look for work! Being able to craft a well-executed pitch in an email is how you are going to get that job, if you cannot find that magic pitch, then you may not get as many writing jobs as you would like.
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Tips for creating a pitch that is successful
As a freelance writer, you are looking for a job constantly. Your hustle is getting attention! Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your pitch is successful.
To the point and brief
Editors are busy, and they don’t want to spend all their time sifting through long emails. Get right to the point of your pitch/idea. Include your topic in the subject line and keep your idea short.
Grab the editor’s attention
As a writer you should always aim to get your readers’ attention! If your hook is interesting, causes curiosity or makes them say I want more! then the audience will be curious as well.
For example: Pitch: My Dog isn’t as glorious as Pitch: How My Dog Healed my Anxiety
Be careful with how you target your pitch
Research. Research. Research. Look over your potential clients’ previous articles, and business. Learn as much as you can at how they present themselves. Know their audience.
As you create your pitch be sure to keep their audience and style in mind. Oh, and try to make sure they haven’t published the same article, and if they have, give a fresh perspective on the subject.
Be an Expert!
Research. Research. Research. I cannot stress that enough. You will not be a pro at everything you write about but hey fake it tell you make it. Learn as much as you can about the topic/genre of the work you are pitching. The best stories you can pitch often involve a personal experience and specific knowledge, remember the experience and knowledge can be learned and experienced.
For example, I’ve never done radio, but I listen to it. The more I can learn about it the more I can be an expert on the subject and use my experience in learning about radio to engage my audience.
Put your writing skills on display.
Make sure you proofread/edit your pitches. Your pitch is the FIRST impression you are giving to the editor. Your writing style is what could separate you from another pitch. So keep it clear, focused, and interesting. Do not forget to add links to previous works you have had published or work you have done on other blog posts.
When creating your pitch and crafting the perfect email be sure to be respectful. Use real words not slang or abbreviations. You’re not texting your discussing a prospect with a future employer.
Use the editor’s name, make sure you research on who you need to contact. Even if your pitch isn’t accepted, build a relationship by being polite in any follow-ups and be graceful when rejected. Don’t let it ruin your day! BTW pitching for magazines is difficult, so keep trying!
As mentioned before editors get a ton of emails and things do get lost or forgotten. So have that follow up email ready to go. Just as with your pitch, be respectful when asking if they have reviewed your pitch. If you still don’t get a response, try placing a phone call but be aware that many editors choose email as their primary communication.
If you still do not get a reply, just know they passed on your pitch and move on.
Create a Template
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to come up with something to say. Sometimes coming up with something to say to a stranger is even harder.
When you have a template, you are able to keep your emails organized and ready when you need them.
Pitching to clients does take time, with all the research and brainstorming so having a template will help you save time.
Here are examples:
For a company that doesn’t update their blog regularly
Subject: Content at (company name)
Hello, (Company name)
I am reaching out to see if you are in need of some content for your blog. I know how time-consuming blogs can be, which is why I offer blog management plackets in addition to one time blog posts.
Regardless of you weekly content needs or quick monthly updates, I can work with you to find a solution that works for your company and budget.
A little about me; My name is (Your Name). Describe your experience, Example “I’m a freelance B2B copywriter with over seven years of experience. I have been writing copy, articles, and blogs for B2B industries for three years. My clients include midsize to large companies. You can read a few of my articles that I am most proud of here:
List three articles you want them to check out.
Additionally, I write email newsletters, web pages, product descriptions, whitepapers, or any other content you need.
I am more than happy to discuss my experience and how I can be of help to your company.
For a publication
Subject Line: Freelance Pitch: (Catchy Article Headline)
Hello (name of editor)
(Catchy interesting/lead sentence or hook of your story) ie: College leads to job security, but what about vocational schools? Which one should you attend?
1-2 paragraphs that provide supporting facts about the idea.
Provide a proposed headline and sum up what the article would tell readers. Ie: In my proposed article, ‘Which is worth the money, college, or vocational school?’ readers would learn how to best use their money for their career choice, as well as if a higher education is worth the trouble.
Additional details on what the article would provide the readers and possible interviews.
Information that shows knowledge of the publication
Describe why readers would want to read this topic at this time.
Short bio: I’m a French-based freelance writer and creator of women freelance launches. My work has appeared in Redbook, Forbes, and other publications. (If you have something to mention. -you could also include your website portfolio link)
Thanks so much for considering my pitch, (Editor’s Name)! I look forward to working with you and providing quality content for (Name of Publication).
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Keep track of who you’re pitching!
You will want to create a spreadsheet or some kind of document that you can use to track your pitches.
In order for you to follow up on your pitches you need to know how long ago you pitched.
Keeping track of your pitches will keep you on top of following up with potential clients.
Also, use the spreadsheet to make notes, and keep other important information that could help you in the future with that editor/business owner.
Crafting the perfect pitch doesn’t have to be complicated to be successful.
Freelance writing in any niche or genre is all about pitching and having a few templates to help you craft those emails is super important.
Your pitches will be successful if you do your research, make sure your pitches are reflective of your “perfect” writing style, are well crafted, and be ready to learn.
Be flexible when you hear nothing or if you are rejected. Learn from that, and learn what times are best to send your pitches.
I learned the best time to send cold pitches is during working hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Having said that I live in France, and therefor I deal with a large time difference.
I mainly send my pitches at times that work for me. If I am not buried in work, I will schedule pitches to go out during the “peak” times.
Now get to pitching and for templates get our Freelance Pitch Pack