Do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels when it comes to pitching job ads?
You go to a job board like ProBlogger, read an ad wanting a health writer that understands the Paleo lifestyle and decide you are going to apply.
You spend a few minutes writing your pitch letter, gathering some great sample posts to link to and hit send.
Two weeks go by and you haven’t received a response from the pitch you sent. So, you continue to pitch to various job ads, hoping that this one is the ONE.
Your poor luck in landing gigs may be a result of an unimpressive pitch letter.
Having a winning pitch doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and experience to form a pitch letter that will wow editors or potential clients and land you the gig you want.
The Foul Pitch Letter
You know your pitch letter isn’t winning you gigs when:
- You aren’t hearing back from the people you are pitching to
- You only have one writing job and it’s for a non-profit
- You’re being turned down for guest posts
- You only pitch once a month
Developing your pitch should be an on-going task for freelance writers. If you find yourself not acquiring new gigs on a monthly basis, it’s time to re-evaluate your pitch and turn that foul pitch of yours into a home run.
In the Dugout
Before we get into what makes a great pitch letter, let’s make sure we are practicing good pitching etiquette.
It may be that your letter is great, but you are making some rookie pitching mistakes that can get you out of the game before you had a chance to warm up. Let’s look at some ways to maximize your pitch letter for better results.
Address Your Pitch Email With the Correct Name
Take the time to find out the editor’s name or person of contact when you send out your pitch. Sometimes the name will appear in the job ad or in the email address a prospect leaves on the ad.
But, if this isn’t the case, you might have to do some investigative digging. Most job ads will list the website URL or company name.
Do a quick search and take a few minutes to read their About page or Who We Are page. You might be able to find some names, which could help you stand out as a proficient freelance writer.
Send Your Pitch as Close to the Date the Job Ad First Appeared
Job ads are seen by hundreds of freelance writers, so to make sure your email is one of the first a prospect will see, pitch in the morning or when the ad is first published.
A good rule to follow is to dedicate a half hour in the morning to looking over different job boards and sending out pitches.
If you are unsure what job boards to look on, here are a few that post quality job ads:
Send Out Many Pitches a Week
It’s good practice to send out at least 10 pitches every week. This increases your chance of getting a response and landing the gig just by pure probability statistics.
You don’t have to start at 10 a week if you’re used to only pitching twice a month. Even if you send out a pitch letter once a week that doubles your chances of landing a writing job. Send out as many pitches as you want, as long as you can commit to that number on a weekly basis.
Pitch Like a Man
For all the women who are freelance writers, let’s up our game and start pitching like a man.
What does this exactly mean? It means that men seek out writing opportunities they aren’t really qualified for much more than women do. Women, on the other hand, need to be completely confident that they are qualified before considering to pitch for a job.
So, if you want to increase your chances of scoring a writing job, start pitching to jobs that you may not be 100% qualified for. This doesn’t mean you are lying, it means you are finding areas in your life that you can use to draw from when applying for a job.
For example, if there is a blogging ad for a WordPress blogger, you might not jump at this opportunity because you think it might be too technical. But, if your writer website is on WordPress, you can emphasize this in your pitch letter as,
Knowledge in setting up WordPress, familiar with the admin backend and publishing content, experience in optimizing content for SEO purposes.
Take a few moments to think of all the activities, classes, trips and experiences you’ve had that could help you land a job.
Up to Bat
Now that we’ve covered some basic rules to follow when pitching, let’s go over the elements of a great pitch letter.
1. It’s Short
We all have short attention spans. Studies have shown that users read on average 20% of words on the web. While email is different from a blog post, many people skim their mail and toss it aside.
So, to reduce the likelihood of a prospect glancing at your email, make it short and to the point.
While you may think listing all your education credentials and previous writing assignments will give you the shoo in for the job, most likely it won’t.
2. It Conveys Your Qualifications
In a pitch, you want to convey how your writing will help a prospect gain more customers/clients, traffic and social shares. You also want to convey what knowledge you have in regards to the writing job.
If we look back at our example, if you were to write a pitch letter for a Paleo health writer you may want to include knowledge in:
- The use of probiotics and prebiotics for optimal gut health
- The role fermented food has on our health
- Great food substitutions to make each meal a Paleo meal
- Familiarity with natural living and natural living products
A prospect is going to see many pitches that will have the same information. Go that extra mile to show a potential client your range of knowledge and skill set to lock the gig.
3. It’s Unique
It’s easy to make a basic template for your pitch and just swap out business names for every ad you apply to. But, many prospects and editors can quickly decipher ones that were cut and paste from ones that were genuine.
A genuine pitch is unique to that job ad. How do you make it unique?
- Visit their website and read their About page. Find out what type of business this prospect is in and take the time to learn about it.
- If you’re already familiar with the company, include how it’s relevant in your life. For example, in our Paleo pitch, something that I would include is that I provide Kefir to my children every day. While you may not be familiar with Kefir, the Paleo community is and this little bit of unique information will resonate with the prospect.
A Sample Pitch Letter
Now that we covered what makes a winning pitch, let’s put it all together.
Hi, my name is Elna Cain and I’m a freelance writer and blogger. Your Paleo Health ad on ProBlogger caught my immediate attention. I have expert knowledge and experience in all aspects of the Paleo lifestyle including:
- Probiotics and prebiotics. I give my twin toddlers Kefir every day.
- Fermented foods
- Paleo friendly substitutes
- Natural living
My editorial content has proven to resonate with people on social media and on search engines as I have written for popular websites such as Psych Central, Social Media Today and Brazen Careerist.
Here are links to my social profiles and my portfolio.
Here are 3 samples of relevant writing.
Hit a Home Run With Your Pitch
If you’re new to freelance writing, writing a pitch letter isn’t easy. There will be many versions of your pitch letter and over time you will find a version that converts consistently.
For seasoned freelance writers, spend a few minutes auditing your pitch and seeing where you can cut elements out or add new relevant information to make it more genuine.
For me, my pitch is always evolving. I like to change it up and see what is working and what isn’t. If I land a writing gig with one of my pitch letters, I always ask the client what part of my pitch sealed the deal for them.
As a freelance writer, what are your key points you put in your pitch letter?