Are you pulling your hair out because you just don’t get it?
You’re a new freelance writer so you know you have to hustle to land that first client.
You know you need samples, so you got to it early on.
You even know where to find freelance writing jobs and avoided places like Upwork.
So, why aren’t you seeing success? Why are you struggling to land any paid writing gigs?
My First Pitch
When I first started freelance writing over a year ago, I had no clue how to pitch my services.
Two obvious mistakes I made are that I don’t appear confident in my pitch and I mentioned that I’m new (psst… don’t EVER mention in a pitch that you’re a new freelance writer!).
But, you know what? I kept on pitching. I found some good job boards and sent pitch after pitch. I think I sent around 20-50 pitches before I landed my first writing gig for an automotive enthusiast site.
I was ecstatic that I actually landed this gig, because I just knew I failed the interview. The prospect emailed me back and requested we talk.
This was my first ever phone interview and when it was over I was convinced I bombed it. I didn’t sound confident at all and I didn’t ask the right questions either.
But, I ended up getting the gig! That gave me a boost in confidence and I guess it showed because I landed my next client soon after (and upped my rate too).
Perfecting My Pitching Game
I had my fair share of “bad” pitches for the longest time. But, that didn’t stop me from landing clients. Prospects started contacting me and for a while I wasn’t pitching… until some clients slowed down their content schedule.
Suddenly, I went from writing four blog posts a month for one client, down to writing only one post a month for them. This cut my income so I had to go back to pitching.
I’m glad that happened because I really focused on optimizing my pitch and making it better than what I had. And I finally found a pitching process that works.
If you’re a new freelance writer and you’re having problems landing a client, maybe it’s time to look at your pitching process. Here are 4 elements to a winning pitching process:
1. Review Your Current Pitch
My current pitch looks nothing like my first pitch. It’s come a long way. As a new freelance writer, you may be tempted to use the same template for all your pitches.
While this isn’t a bad or wrong thing to do (it’s actually a great way to streamline your process and it allows you to pitch to more job ads), you might not realize that changing a few things in your pitch can dramatically change your conversion rate.
- Work to appear more confident in your pitch. Swapping phrases like “might be good at this” to “I know I’ll be good at this” dramatically changes the view of the person reading your pitch.
- Be explicit. Mention exactly what you will do for them. If the ad calls for someone to write blog posts, explain to them what you will provide (an eye-catching headline, a call-to-action, promotion on social media).
- Show proof you are a writer. Providing links to your published content is 100x better than providing attachments of your work.
2. Keep Track of Your Pitches
Whenever I do a round of pitching, I make sure to keep an Excel sheet or Google sheet tracking all of the pitches I sent out. This helps me with keeping all the information in one place.
Each job ad will have information you need to have easily accessible for when the prospect responds to you. Such things as their proposed rate (or if you proposed a rate), the topic and how often they need content.
So, when it comes time to pitch, I keep track of:
- Where I saw the job ad (specific job board and link to the ad).
- The email I sent the pitch to.
- When I sent the pitch. This is important to remember as I tend to circle back a few days later when I don’t hear anything from my pitch.
- Important information.
I keep this sheet and just update it whenever I need to pitch. So, sometimes I can look back on all the pitches I sent and if there’s a spot open in my schedule, I’ll contact some of these companies and see how things are going with their content needs.
3. Pitch Daily
It’s a good idea to build a metric around your pitches. Set a goal of how many pitches you want to send out and for how long. For example, for two weeks I will pitch one time every day.
This gives you a firm goal to stick to and helps you feel accomplished when you complete it. I don’t know about you, but I like competing against myself. It just gives me a bit of motivation to outdo myself (and it usually works).
You might think this isn’t important. You say to yourself, I’ll just pitch whenever I have time. Well, I want you to think of this:
You hit whatever you aim at.
So, this means you’ll hit your target when you have a plan in place. You just have to start!
4. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
You go to a job board and all you see is a bunch of, “I can’t do that!” type of job ads.
Instead of thinking what you can’t do, start thinking how you can match the criteria in a job ad. Cast a wide net when you pitch.
Look at all the job ads at each board and see if you are remotely qualified for or interested in the ad. My first gig wasn’t my first choice, but I was pitching to anything and everything at that time (and I’m glad I did. I still write for my first client and I still enjoy it!).
Keep at It
Hustling is the name of the game when you’re new to freelance writing. No one knows who you are or if you can even write.
But, trust me when I tell you, the more you pitch, the higher chance you’ll have at landing that first client. You may not land a gig if you’re only pitching 5 times a week. But, if you pitch 10 times a week you might see a better turnout. Imagine if you pitch 30 times a week?