Are you sick of sending out a freelance writing pitch that never gets any results? It can be mind-numbing and incredibly frustrating to know that you’re pouring hours into something, with minimal rewards.
I know that because I’ve been there.
Just a few months ago, I hit a dry patch in my business. My current clients didn’t need any more projects completing, but instead of waiting for them to come back to me, I used that time to do something valuable: nail my pitching process.
Before this dry patch, I only used cold emailing when it was absolutely necessary. I hated the thought of ‘selling myself’, and I’m pretty sure that my anxiety lost me a bit of cash.
I recently covered the essentials of a freelance writing pitch in my #FreelanceFridays newsletter, but it was so popular that I wanted to cover it in more detail.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
The lead-up to your freelance writing pitch
Although cold pitches are defined as contacting a company out-of-the-blue, warming them up a lil bit won’t hurt.
But what exactly do I mean by that?
Simply put, warming up your cold email means putting time into connecting with your contact before diving into their inbox with a freelance writing pitch.
It’s beneficial because it won’t come as a surprise to them. They’ll be familiar with your name already, which could help overcome your first cold emailing issue: prospects that don’t even open the emails you send.
Plus, taking this time actually helps to build meaningful connections. Who are you more likely to hire: someone with a clear intention of making money, or someone that’s taken the time to help, without compensation, in the past?Always put time into interacting with your prospective clients before sending a #freelance pitch. Click To Tweet
How to warm-up your contacts
Now that we’ve gotten to grips with the importance of warming-up your contacts, you might feel a fire in your belly to get started… (Sorry for the awful pun)
There are tonnes of ways that you can boost the success of your freelance writing pitch before actually sending it. Here are two of my favourites:
Engaging on Twitter
Start off by finding the editor, content manager or blog manager of the company you want to freelance write for.
You can do this by searching LinkedIn or finding a ‘Meet the Team’-style page on their site. A quick Google of their name should display their Twitter profile.
Once you’ve found them, turn on Alerts for them and:
- Reply to their tweets when they’re asking questions
- Share their content in your own tweets, tagging their Twitter handle
- Mention how much you loved something they shared
A little goes a long way in social media. In fact, my editor did all three of these things when ‘warming me up’ as a prospective client – and it worked!
Connect on LinkedIn
Being a professional business owner, you need to get on LinkedIn.
Optimise your profile and similar to the Twitter approach, send connection invites to the content managers at your ideal company.
However, there’s one thing that can make all the difference to your LinkedIn strategy: your connection request note. This section pops up before you can proceed with sending the request.
Adding a bit of text here about how much you’re enjoying their current content will go a long way. It proves that you’ve done your research – and you’re a good connection for them to have!Use these two pre-pitching activities to boost the success of your #freelance pitch! Click To Tweet
What should my freelance writing pitch include?
So, you’ve interacted with your prospect on LinkedIn and responded to a few of their tweets. Awesome – you’re ready to go in with your freelance writing pitch!
1. Who you are
Captain Obvious over here, I know… But here me out.
You’d be surprised to see how many freelancers send their pitching emails without actually stating what they are.
It’s tempting to skip straight to the “can I write for you?” pitch, but your prospect needs to know the person behind the email. Would you really invest in something from a person you have no background info on?
I like to start the opening paragraph of my pitch with, “Hey! I’m Elise – a freelance marketing writer that specialises in digital marketing content.”
It clearly tells the prospect who I am, and sets the tone for my freelance writing pitch.
2. What you do
Now that the prospect has got a bit of an idea about who you are, tell them how you can help. You want to sell your services, so tell them exactly what you can do for them!
I like to follow the previous sentence with something like, “I write actionable, value-packed content that attracts, pleases and converts a new audience”.
Simple, but effective.
3. … And who you do it for!
At the end of that sentence (or in your opening paragraph), tell your prospective client who you do that for.
This will help the content manager to fit their brand in with your offering. It’ll also tell them that you’ve got experience in that industry.
For my freelance writing pitch, I add this onto the sentence from the previous section: “… for small businesses and Saas companies that want to make a difference with their online presence.”
Note: This will only work if you’ve defined your niche!A #freelance writing pitch should always include: who you are, what you do - and who for. Click To Tweet
4. Samples, with results
I mentioned before that nobody will hire someone that they don’t have a clue about. A business’ money is precious, and anyone working there will need to see that they’re investing in someone that’ll get results.
Samples, or links to previous work, are your bread and butter as a freelance writer. But, instead of sending a few links in your freelance writing pitch, try explaining the results that your previous work got.
For example, I include this snippet in my emails:
- This post ranks on the first page of Google for the focus keyword.
- This post was chosen as the editor’s pick on Huff Post UK.
- This post has 3,900+ social shares.
Notice how much more impressing that is, compared to a bunch of links?
5. Content ideas
When I started pitching, I send out the same, rarely-customised template to every company I wanted to work with. The problem with that? It’s not unique – and editors can spot that a mile off.
Through trial and error, I found that adding content ideas to my freelance writing pitch was the key to personalising those emails. And, it only takes a few more precious minutes than customising the same, bog-standard pitch!
To do this, take a look through their blog. Try to understand as much about their audience as you can.
What are they currently publishing? Does their ‘About’ page tell you anything about their mission or core values? Who typically follows them on Twitter?
Once you’ve done this bit of extra research, suggest 3-5 content ideas that you could write for them. This works especially well for blogs as the editor can see whether your ideas fit within their editorial calendar.Writing a #freelance writing pitch? Suggest 3-5 content ideas! Click To Tweet
6. Social links
Even though your job title is ‘freelance writer’, the projects you work on require more than just writing. Companies hire freelancers to get results – whether that be social shares, engagement or sales.
Including your social links can prove that you’ve done this for your own brand.
Particularly true if you have your own blog, showing that you’re active online and get regular interaction can show a prospective client how you could do this for their brand.
Companies may also be more inclined to hire you if they’ve seen you promote other freelance work on your social media profiles. It boost the number of eyes exposed to their site!
7. A call-to-action
Once you’ve used all of these elements of a freelance writing pitch, it’s time to wrap it up!
To boost the chances of receiving a response even further, end your email with a call-to-action (CTA). Telling someone exactly what to do makes them more inclined to do it, after all.
I like to use the following CTAs at the end of my freelance writing pitch:
- “Click here to schedule a call with me to discuss COMPANY‘s requirements”
- “Could you let me know a bit more about THIS THING?”
- “I’d love to stay connected on Twitter. Feel free to follow along with my tweets – @NAME!”
Remember that you may need to split-test these CTAs to find which works best for your target clients.Always end your #freelancing pitches with a call-to-action. Click To Tweet
Freelance writing pitch examples
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