Recently, one of my freelance writing clients told me they’d be cutting my workload — which meant less income for me.
I decided to get proactive and do a week of cold pitching to seek new freelance writing jobs. Before this, I’d gotten all my clients from job boards or referrals.
I know what you might be feeling right now — cold outreach? Yikes!
But, if you shift your mindset and just start doing it, it’s not nearly as scary as it seems. And the results might just surprise you.
Here’s how I got started, got great results in just 7 days — and how you can, too.
There are five stages to pitching a story idea to an editor:
- You get an article idea
- You write the idea up, in a query letter or letter of introduction.
- You send the pitch letter in, usually via email.
- You wait, frequently in vain, for a response.
- You begin the second-guessing game, and start wondering why your article pitch didn’t get you an assignment.
That fifth stage often sends writers into an emotional tailspin, and sucks up way too much time. But it shouldn’t. Really, it shouldn’t exist at all.
There are only two basic reasons why article ideas get rejected — and once you know them, it can help you move on to writing that next query more quickly.
Last summer, I had zero clients.
I was sending tons of letters of introduction (LOIs) to prospects without receiving a single positive response. Now, I have a steady freelance income and a growing client base.
What changed? I shifted my approach.
Instead of focusing on why I wanted to work with my prospective freelance clients, I started focusing on how my experience could uniquely provide the three key things all clients want out of the freelance relationship.
Here are the three things I’ve discovered clients are looking for — and how I earn more by meeting these desires in my marketing and my client work:
Like most new freelancers, one of my first questions after deciding to take the plunge into freelance writing was, “How am I going to find gigs?”
I knew I wanted to write for businesses rather than publications, but which businesses should I target? I looked at my experience and selected an industry where I had work experience and that tended to have healthy cash flow. Education — particularly ESL — was my strongest potential market.
As I began marketing to companies in this niche, I narrowed my strategy to four simple steps that brought me something I’d never imagined in my first year in business: a $10,000 freelance writing gig.
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