After speaking to many up and coming freelance writers over the years, I’ve discovered that the pitching process causes much anxiety and fear. The idea of putting yourself out there, and possibly having to deal with rejection is tough. But, if you don’t send any pitches, you won’t get any gigs. You must learn how to confidently send a pitch for a freelance writing job if you want to succeed.
In the freelance world, a pitch is a letter of interest for a writing gig. It puts your name in front of an editor, and conveys your interest, experience, and expertise as a writer. Typically, a pitch includes:
- Links to your published work to serve as samples
- Where you found the gig/heard of the position
- Accurate information about your experience
- Personalized information for the hiring manager (not a blanket copy and paste)
- Any information requested in the directions
Your pitch can mean the difference between landing the gig and not, so it’s worth the effort to get it right. To help you improve your confidence, here is a five-step process for you to follow.
- Draft a sample pitch
- Do some research
- Customize your pitch
- Follow directions
- Pitch consistently
Ready to confidently send a pitch for a freelance writing gig? Let’s get started.
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1. Draft a Sample Pitch
While each pitch needs to have personalized information, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every single time you apply for a gig. So, I recommend creating a sample pitch and keeping a copy of it in Google Docs or in Word.
Then whenever you find a gig, you can copy and paste this into your email and your pitch will be nearly complete. It’s a great trick for streamlining the pitching process.
Below is a sample pitch. However, I don’t recommend just copying and pasting it as your sample. You want your pitch to be infused with your voice, and if you’re just using a pitch someone else wrote, it won’t be yours.
Instead, I recommend looking at the information conveyed in each line and thinking about how you would word each line. If you were talking to someone over a cup of coffee (or tea), what words would you use? You want your pitch to sound conversational, but professional.
Sample Pitch to Use as a Starting Point
Hi [insert editor name],
Your ad on [site where you found the ad] caught my eye. As a freelance writer with experience in [niche], and I know I’d make a great addition to your writing team. I’m detail oriented and know how to meet deadlines.
[Insert personal information here – more details about your experience or notes on the company – you’re trying to make a personal connection or offer a genuine compliment.]
To help you make your hiring decision, here’s a bit more information about myself:
- [Link to “Hire Me” page]
- [Link to portfolio]
- [Link to testimonials page]
Here are links to two of my existing articles in this niche:
- Title & Link #1
- Title & Link #2
Please let me know if you need any additional information. I’m looking forward to working with you.
Remember to Make It Yours
Since editors deal with hundreds of pitches, yours need to stand out. It must sound confident and demonstrate your abilities. You also need to be mindful of their time, and not write a novel when a couple hundred words would suffice.
Feel free to completely change this pitch up and make it yours.
2. Do Some Research
You can’t confidently pitch a company you know nothing about. So, take some time to research whenever possible. If a job board ad lists a research, go check them out.
Not only will this help you weed out scams, it will also ensure your pitch demonstrates what they are looking for. As you do some quick research, look for:
- A name – you don’t want to address your pitch “To Whom It May Concern”
- Existing content – this can give you a sense of their tone and style
- Something you can compliment – if you can’t see anything good, do you really want to work for them?
- The company mission – is it something you can stand behind?
Now that you have some information about the company, you can use it to customize your pitch.
3. Customize Your Sample for Each Pitch
Please, do not send the exact same pitch to every single editor you’d like to write for. It will read like a template and not show why you’re a great fit for that exact position.
This step does take time. But I have discovered it’s time well worth it. You will greatly increase your chances of hearing back if you don’t sound like a bot generated your pitch and sent it out to every ad on the job board.
So, use the information you gathered in step two, and weave it into your pitch. This shows the company that you went beyond the bare minimum and spent a little time getting to know them better. It helps you show how you’d be a great company culture fit, and not just a writer who doesn’t care.
As you customize, make sure you are mindful of length. A sentence or two of personalized information is plenty, they don’t need paragraphs. This could be:
- Sharing your passion for their purpose
- Complimenting a recent blog post, and how you agree with their take on it
- Writing the pitch in a tone and style that matches the company
- Proposing a couple of blog post ideas that their site is currently missing that’d help fill in holes
There are several ways to let the company know you did some research without stating, “When researching your company, I discovered that you…” Try to keep it fresh and not boring.
4. Follow the Directions
Your pitch is customized and ready to go. Time to hit send, right?
Do not hit send yet. There’s another very important step.
Go back to the ad and reread it carefully, from start to finish. Some companies have very specific directions embedded. They may ask you to use the word, “purple” somewhere in the pitch. Or use a certain subject line.
Before hitting send, verify that you have done all of these things. You need to show that you can follow directions, and if you miss one at this stage in the game, you won’t get a second chance to do better.
Now, double check that the name is spelled correctly and go ahead and hit send.
5. Send a Pitch for a Freelance Writing Job…Again
Congratulations, you just sent a pitch. But, don’t stop there. Keep pitching.
The first pitch is the hardest. Once you build a habit of pitching, it will get easier. Your confidence will improve, and the process won’t take as long.
The more pitches you send, the more potential for paid writing gigs you have. Make pitching a consistent part of your schedule.
Perhaps you scan the job boards after lunch every day and send one pitch. Or dedicate a couple of hours one day a week to sending pitches. Decide what works for you and go for it.
Don’t Get Discouraged
You won’t hear back from every freelance writing pitch you send. And sometimes you will hear no.
Don’t get discouraged and don’t take the rejection personally. Instead, make sure you confidently send another one.
You just need one person to say yes to land your first client. So, keep going. You’ve got this.