8 Tips from Finding 8 New Freelance Writing Assignments in 8 Hours - Make a Living Writing

8 Tips from Finding 8 New Freelance Writing Assignments in 8 Hours

Carol Tice | 18 Comments

By Gabi Logan

I used to be one of those writers who avoided pitching.

I’d try to find work through contacts . . . online ads . . . in-person networking . . . all the usual marketing-avoidance suspects.

But after the astonishing success of my very first pitching blitz, I’m hooked.

Why should you blitz?

Writing a series of pitches in one session allows you to stay in “the zone.”

You hit a pitching flow—confident, captivating, and just salesy enough—that makes each of your pitches more likely to succeed.

One evening, I sent out a batch of query letters and letters of introduction before bed, and when I woke up, I had eight assignments: two one-off articles, two pieces in another publication, and four articles in another!

Even better? I’d never been in contact with any of these individuals before.

Blitzing is effective, but it’s 90% preparation. Here’s how I did it:

1. Keep target markets on file

When you find out about a new market, print out some sample articles, and keep them in a “new market” folder in your purse or laptop bag. Go through your file when you have unexpected downtime, like waiting in line or to meet someone.

2. Focus on low-hanging fruit

Imagine what publications should be on your clips page that aren’t there already. I’m not talking about your dream publications, but outlets—web or print—that complement your portfolio or expertise. Or brainstorm outlets that you’ve written for, but not in a while.

3. Choose markets at similar levels

You don’t necessarily have to play it safe, but focusing on similar-level outlets during a blitz helps you stay focused. Pitch either safety, comfortable, or aspirational publications all at once.

4. Target Web editors

Send your first few pitches to web editors; they’re more connected and respond faster. When you’re doing a pitching blitz, quick responses from editors can motivate you to keep going—or at least give you a quick return on your time investment.

5. Use an unignorable subject line

Put your article title in your subject line. And make it good. Not just enticing, but similar the ones the publication already uses.

In one successful pitch, I tied the title into one of the publication’s goals—connecting travelers to locals:

“pitch: 7 Ways AirBnB Helps You Dive into Local Communities”

Squeeze in the targeted department or section if you can, like this successful pitch that also hit a priority topic from the pubs’ about page that hadn’t been covered much.

“2 Pitches: WWOOFing for Practical Traveler + Super-cheap Florence for Destinations”

6. Write pitches offline

Even if you’ve beefed up target markets in your down time, it’s easy to fall into a research black hole when pitching a new outlet. Trust your research and write the gist of your pitch offline first, with notes on any items to double check online later.

7. Go low tech

The smaller screen the better. Use a tablet or even (gasp) your phone. The small screen will keep you focused and brief and force you to spell check carefully to avoid autocorrect bloopers.

8. Pitch in the early evening

The debate on when exactly is the best to pitch editors has raged on for decades. But this works for me. Editors idly check mail from home in the evenings. One of the editors I mentioned above responded at 1:49 am.

Had a win on a pitch lately? Leave a comment and tell us what worked for you.

Gabi Logan is a freelance travel writer and blogger. While she travels the globe writing for mainstream and cultural travel publications, she collects writing productivity tips to share on her favorite writing sites.

 

18 comments on “8 Tips from Finding 8 New Freelance Writing Assignments in 8 Hours

  1. Annie on

    I’ve just started pitching and this post helped me realize why I haven’t had any responses yet.

    I’m confused about how you refer to “markets”. I usually look for a publication I’d like to write for, rather than a market. Am I doing this backwards? Can you explain what you mean by a “market” and how you find out about them?

    • Carol Tice on

      That’s what we mean by a market, Annie, a publication. Or a business, depending on the context. But here she was mostly pitching publications. That’s why they call it The Writer’s Market…because it lists all the publications you might write for.

  2. Rachael on

    Fortunately, I’ve yet to need to perform any of these blitzes, but I’m heading that way. These tips were really helpful, and they make the process feel much less intimidating. Thank you!

  3. Carole Lyden on

    Hi Gabi,
    This is especially relevant for me at the moment as I am reinventing myself as a writer a little late in life. Pitching early evening is a good tip that I will try. I also do much of my pitching preparation off line, I like to get away from the computer screen. Being’ in the zone’ and targeting web editors for a faster turn around is helpful as is your article.

    cheers Carole

    • Gabi on

      Hi Carole,

      I originally started doing these blitzes when I lost a big client and had a big gap of time and money to fill, and I soon had more work than I had time for. So its definitely a good tactic when you are trying to make a big change.

  4. Sarah L. Webb on

    This is a GREAT idea- a pitching blitz. I too have avoided pitches, but they might seem less scary if I dedicate a day or a block of time to just pitching and submitting.

    I also liked the comment by Gabi and Carol. I learned even more. Good, good, post and comments. I’m keeping this as a resource.

    • Carol Tice on

      Business consultant Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg is always telling me I’m giving away too much value in the comments! But I love to give more tips here. 😉

      • Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg on

        Carol:

        The comment nuggets are so valuable here that you should start writing at the bottom of every post something like:

        “Read the comments below, because that’s where some of the best nuggets will be… because they are based on people’s questions and comments on what I wrote above.. so read and ask away!”

        • Carol Tice on

          Hi Rabbi — I still sometimes pull them out and create new posts around them. I feel like some people read that comment, and others read the new post, and it’s not too repetitive. But I can’t resist giving the tip while I’m thinking of it!

          Chag sameach —

    • Gabi on

      Hi Sarah,

      Doing it in a batch takes away the fear a bit because it turns into a type of writing in and of itself, but writing offline really helps as well because then you aren’t pitching and sending and waiting. you write a bunch and send them all at once, and you’ll most likely hear back from at least one if those people soon if you send enough pitches out at once.

    • Gabi on

      $0.10-$1.00/word

      But I don’t understand your question “is it worth it?” Are you asking if it’s worth it to pitch in general?

      Also, I’m not sure if the title was misleading, but it didn’t take eight hours to write these pitches. That’s how long it took to get responses with eight assignments.

      I got more responses from that particular blitz later on too, and the whole process of this blitz was probably around three hours. I’ve had some shorter blitzes net over $2k of work. I think that is definitely worth an hour or two of focused pitching. But being focus and well-prepared is what keeps the time commitment low.

      • Carol Tice on

        Thanks for coming on to respond, Gabi!

        The point I wanted to call out in this post that you didn’t is to do your research. Your close look at these publication websites, reading their About page to see what their stated mission was, and then where they weren’t fulfilling it, is genius.

        Anytime you deliver a pitch that helps address a lack or gap in coverage in the publication, editors are going to be all ears.

        • Jessie Kwak on

          I noticed the unspoken “do your research” point, as well. I was especially taken by the idea of pitching stories to their About pages and mission statements. My wheels are turning. Thanks for the post!

          • Gabi on

            Hi Jessie,

            With the research aspect, I’ve really found, that like anything you are trying to learn or familiarize yourself with, repeat exposure is better. When I just sit down and research one market or a bunch of markets, I don’t really retain the information. But if I carry a few publications or website print outs in my purse and look through them when I wait for the subway, the core concepts of the publications really become more ingrained in me and then I am more likely to come up with good ideas for those pubs in a spontaneous way during the day, instead of forced brainstorming explicitly for pitching.

          • Carol Tice on

            I also keep files of new markets to me that I’m interested to pitch…but hadn’t thought of printing them out and keeping them handy for bus-wait and other downtime….love that.

Comments are closed.