If you’re looking for a new gig, why not consider freelance writing? You can get paid to create content for different websites or to pitch your own articles to be published. There’s plenty of work, and the flexibility to take on more work as and when you want is incredible.
But how do you sell your services to publishers? What is the best way to pitch a freelance writing job? How do you prepare for a phone interview?
We got in touch with Elle MacLeman, owner of MacLeman Creative, to get the lowdown on selling freelance writing services and to find out what elements of a pitch email would have made her bite. The results are surprising considering her experience—but they also reveal much about the current state of the industry and how to get ahead.
Here, we answer some of your most burning questions about how to pitch a freelance writing job…
How Do You Find Clients?
Word of mouth is still the best way to find clients, but online directories can also be handy when you’re looking for introductions to potential clients. Pro-bloggers, whether they’re well known or not, can be extremely useful in this regard. If you want to build a clientele, starting a blog is a great way to do so. Not only will you be able to attract potential customers to your website, but you can also develop a community of professionals who are interested in your niche.
Many top bloggers make a lot of money from freelance writing and can easily command higher rates compared to the average blogger. When you consider that a well-placed article can bring in a steady flow of traffic that will convert to paying clients, it’s not difficult to see why.
Should I Look For Sub-brands In My Pitches?
If you’re sending a pitch to a brand for publication in their magazine or newspaper, it’s usually advisable to look for a sub-brand. This way, you’ll be speaking with a brand that is already somewhat familiar with your work—and vice versa. It’s also a good idea to follow the guidelines of the publication you’re pitching to. Some publications, for example, will require you to pitch an idea that is owned by the brand. Others may want you to pitch an independent article. Knowing this information will make it easier for you to tailor your pitch.
How Do You Start Off The Conversation?
The first step in any pitch is to start off the conversation by sending a quick, friendly email. It’s always good to begin by addressing the sender rather than the recipient, as it shows that you’ve taken the time to think of them and that their needs are at the forefront of your mind. But remember, the main purpose of the email is to get the conversation started. You can also find the URL of the website you’re sending the pitch from, as well as add a little more information about yourself. This will make it easier for the person reading your email to find out more about you. It is also a good idea to follow up with a phone call or a personal visit. This will give you the opportunity to get to know the person you’ve been pitched to a little better.
Do You Outline Your Pitches Or Just Jump In?
Depending on the length of the piece you’re writing and how much you have to say, it’s preferable to start off with an outline. This will help you structure your thoughts and ensure that you don’t forget anything crucial. It’s also worth noting here that many publications are becoming increasingly wary of pitches that are longer than one or two pages. Two pages are usually the absolute minimum when it comes to pitch reports, with some publications going as far as three or four pages. Shorter is usually better when it comes to creating a strong impression—and it also makes it easier to read and digest the content you’ve compiled. Remember: the more you write, the better—especially if you want to become a freelance writer!
What Is A Good Structure For A Pitch?
When it comes to structuring your pitch, you want to ensure that it follows a clear pattern that will make the person reading it feel like you’ve taken the time to think of everything and will prevent them from having to call you back with clarifications. There are various ways to structure a pitch, but here are a few of the more popular ones.
- An executive summary or a headline
- A one-two-three approach
- An argument
- A crisis and the appropriate response (this is also called the “Hook”)
- A call to action
- A conclusion
- Your contact details
Writing a strong pitch that has all the necessary elements will not only make you stand out from the crowd, but will also put you ahead of the competition.