One of the things I struggled with most when I first started writing was pitching to potential clients. In fact, it was something that caused me more than a few headaches for many years.
I think a lot of it was there are no set guidelines. One writer’s approach will be different to another’s and what will work particularly well for one writer will fail miserably for another.
With various things impacting upon the approach you take to your pitch (which ultimately affects how successful it is), I’ve tried a whole array of different approaches over the years.
And whilst I’m not saying these three steps will guarantee success, I do feel confident that they should help you onto the path of finding the most success with your freelance writing pitches.
1. Understand the client’s requirements
The first real thing I learnt about writing pitches is that a ‘copy and paste’ approach doesn’t work. Although having a template e-mail to work with can be a good idea, it’s vitally important it’s treated as nothing more than a guide.
Every single potential client you pitch to will be different. From the actual project requirements through to how they’re looking to engage and interact personally, you need to do as much research as you possibly can to be able to feel confident that the pitch you’re sending is going to be received in as welcomed of a way as possible.
2. Don’t bombard them with information
A pitch should be concise. It should give an introduction to you as a writer, an overview of the pitch and a few pieces of related information. That’s it.
Where so many writers go wrong is by thinking of the pitch as a lengthy conversation with the other person – at best, the truth is it’s actually just a quick chat.
Remember, some clients are likely to receive dozens – or even hundreds – of pitches every day. Therefore, anything longer than a few paragraphs is just going to get skimmed across.
To ensure this doesn’t happen, you need to pack everything you want to say into a handful of paragraphs, so to ensure it’s read fully.
3. Give the client a reason to get in touch (and make it easy to do so)
Maybe this is more of a trick than a general step, but I’ve learnt that if you can give a reason for the other person to want to get in touch, it increases your chances of getting a response.
So for example, if I was pitching to an editor about a few different ideas, I might try and find out more about them personally and tie an interest into one of the ideas, as it would draw the editor in on a personal level (also making me more memorable and ‘stand out’ above other writers).
What’s also important to understand here is that to get the best response rate possible, you need to be offering a variety of communication options. E-mail might be the format you’d prefer, but a busy editor with a question about your pitch might find it considerably quicker to pick up the phone – but they can only do that if they have access to this information.
Writing an effective pitch is not something that’s easy to do and I’ll be the first to admit I’m not fantastic at it. However, I’ve developed my approach considerably over the years and now feel confident when sending out any pitch or query as long as I follow these three steps.