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.
How do you go about writing a pitch?
If you’ve been slaving away in content mills or spending all your time replying to job ads, you might be a bit confused about what writing a pitch actually means.
So you ask Google.
One writer-guru claims that if you master the art of cold pitching, you can land your dream clients.
Another recommends sending letters of introduction, or LOIs, so you can build relationships for ongoing work.
And yet another touts the advantages of writing a pitch to an editor as the way to land an assignment.
So, which of these should you use to build your freelance writing business?
The answer: All of them.
Because all three are powerful tools, proven to help you get freelance writing gigs.
Want to learn the craft of writing a pitch to land more clients? Here are the tools you’ll need:
Does your letter of introduction have the right ingredients to make prospects open your email, salivate over your writing skills, and hit reply?
It should. Writing a letter of introduction to a prospective client is a great marketing strategy for freelance writers. The more you reach out to prospects, the more likely you are to get paid to write.
But if you don’t include the right ingredients in a letter of introduction (LOI), it can turn out like a failed recipe nobody wants to eat.
Think of writing an LOI (letter of introduction) like you’re competing for the $10,000 cash prize on the reality TV cooking show Chopped.
Your letter of introduction needs to have specific ingredients to catch the attention of a prospect, provide a taste of your writing style and personality, and include just enough on the plate that prospects will ask you for more.
Want to know the recipe for writing a tasty letter of introduction? Here’s the list of ingredients and directions:
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.
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.