As a freelancer, it’s essential to know how to write the perfect pitch.
You see, work won’t just appear on your desk, no matter how much you want it to! Okay, sometimes it will but if you want a steady stream of work you need to put yourself out there and find the work.
But pitching fills freelancers with fear.
Whether you’re a new freelancer who doesn’t know where to start or you’ve been pitching and seeing no results, this post will show you how to write the perfect pitch every time.
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How to Write the Perfect Pitch – What to Do
Pitching to potential clients doesn’t have to be difficult or scary! It can be pain-free if you remember the following key components:
Connect with Potential Clients Before Your Pitch
Cold pitching is tough.
Think about it this way, would you rather hire a complete stranger or someone you know?
I know I would rather hire someone that I know. That’s where warm pitching comes in.
Warm pitching is where you “warm up” a potential lead before you send them your pitch.
Great idea, but how do you do it?
There’s a couple of ways that you can get your name known by potential clients before you send them your perfect pitch email.
My favourite method of connecting with potential leads is on Twitter. Why? Because it’s super easy and not creepy! People follow accounts all of the time on Twitter. Unlike Facebook where you have to request someone to be your friend.
Twitter is also a great place to comment on, and share other people’s content. By retweeting your potential lead’s content, you’re getting yourself into their notifications. You’re making your name more familiar to them so, when it comes time to pitch, they don’t see you as a complete stranger.
Another great place to connect with people is on LinkedIn. It has the same benefits as connecting with them on Twitter but it lets them know that you’re professional and serious about your freelancing business.
Keep it Short and Sweet
Don’t write crazy long emails.
Most companies will receive a number of cold pitches each day/week. The number they receive will depend on the size of the company. But, no matter how many they receive, they don’t have time to read long emails.
So, get to the point of your email quickly. Here’s what you should include (remember to keep each point brief):
- Who you are – this might seem obvious but start off with who you are. People connect with people, so make it clear that you are a real person, not just an automated system.
- What you do and who you do it for – explain what (relevant) services you offer and who you do those services for (Hint: the “who” should describe the person/company you are pitching)
- Samples of Your Work and Results – include links to your best work. Make sure that those pieces of work are relevant to your pitch. For example, if you are pitching a wedding site, link to wedding posts you have written before. Let your potential lead know what results they can expect from your work, e.g. “this post got over 1,000 social shares”.
- Content Ideas – don’t just pitch “I’d like to write something for you” and leave it at that. Send them some ideas – they’re much more likely to hire you if they see some ideas and love them in the first email you send.
- Call to Action – end your email with a call to action to prompt the reader to do something NOW rather than filing your email away to deal with “later”. Because, let’s face it, “later” rarely happens.
Related Post → How to Create a Site that Sells Your Freelancing Services
Make Your Contact Information Obvious
This is something that people skip a lot of the time.
If you want to write the perfect pitch, you need to think about the little details that make a big difference to the person receiving the email.
Whilst you might be thinking “but Dani, I just emailed them, all they have to do is hit reply”, there’s more to this than just giving them your email address.
Include a link to your online portfolio if you have one, if not, include a link to your blog. Also, add links to all of your social media accounts. Before they hire you, your potential client will want to learn more about you, so make it easy for them. They’re much more likely to start researching to see if you’re a good fit for their business if it just takes the click of a button.
Not only will this make it easier for the recipient to research you, but it will make you stand out from other pitches that don’t include this information.
Include a Link to Your Diary
Writing the perfect pitch is all about making it easier for your potential client.
So, make the next step easier for them too.
Most people will want to actually speak to someone before they hire them. So, the next logical step after sending the pitch email is to arrange a call. Clicking a button in an email to book a call is SO much easier than writing an email to arrange one. Inevitably, it’s never just an email it’s 5-10 emails back and forth to try to get the day and time right for both parties.
I use Acuity Scheduling to book appointments with my clients. It’s really easy to use and packages start from $0 per month! It also integrates with Dubsado which is the programme I use to essentially run my business.
Make Sure Your Know the Client
In a recent post, I told you about the time someone sent me a pitch praising me for my work rescuing street cats…needless to say, that pitch went straight in the bin!
Research the person or company you are reaching out to and make sure that it’s clear in your pitch that you’ve done this. Include a line telling them what you like about their site or business, and how you can help them improve.
Address the person by name if you. If it’s a blogger or solopreneur that you’re reaching out to, it should be really easy to find their name on their site. If you’re approaching a larger company, hit Google to see if you can find out who their editor is.
If they have articles on their site already, check that the ideas you are pitching to them haven’t been covered before. I once had someone pitch me a guest post on the exact topic I had posted on my blog two weeks before! It was clear that they hadn’t taken the time to look at my site as that post was still on the first page of my blog.
The idea of the pitch is to sell your services without sounding cocky (because no one wants that!)
The best way to sell your services is to talk about your client and their business. Tell them how your work will impact them and help their business grow.
Use confident language and avoid flimsy sayings like “I was just wondering if you need a freelance writer”. Make them feel like they NEED to hire you. But remember not to be too pushy! Yes, it is a sales pitch but it’s also about building long-term relationships.
How to Write the Perfect Pitch – What Not to Do
So now that you know how to write the perfect pitch email, let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes people make when sending pitches.
Not Proofreading Emails
You’re trying to sell your writing skills so, if you can’t check the spelling and grammar in a short, simple email, it doesn’t bode well for larger, more complex pieces of writing.
Take the time to double, and triple check, your email for spelling and grammar mistakes.
Also, if you’re using a template of some sort, make sure that it’s fully customised. Double check the recipient’s name and the company name. Make sure that there are no “[INSERT COMPANY NAME]” sections left and that you’ve replaced all the prompts before hitting send.
Pinning All of Your Hopes on One Pitch
I know how this goes. You see an ad or stumble across an awesome website. It’s your dream client.
So you spend hours…no, days, perfecting your pitch.
After you hit send, that’s it. You feel that your job as a freelancer is done and you’re adamant that you’re going to get the contract. So you don’t do any more researching and don’t pitch to any new leads.
I know that this sounds harsh but, in the freelancing world, you can never assume that you’ve got the contract until…well until you’ve got the contract. And, if freelance writing is your sole source of income you need to have a constant stream of open prospects and leads at all times.
So, whilst you might feel confident and super excited about the pitch you just sent, keep working on new leads and sending out fresh pitches.
Not Reading the Ad
If you’re sending a pitch in response to an ad you’ve seen on a job board make. Sure. You. Read. The. Ad!
A lot of ads now include specific requirements to ensure that applicants actually read the ad before applying. I often see things like asking applicants to use a specific subject line in their email or to include their favourite ice cream flavour in the email. It can be anything really.
So, make sure you read the ad from start to finish at least twice before writing your pitch and then again alongside your pitch to ensure that you’ve addressed and answered everything within the ad before hitting send.
Related Post →How to Find New Clients as a Freelancer
Begging for Work!
You might feel like doing this. You might feel like doing this a LOT!
I remember in the early days of freelancing when I was sending out (poorly written) pitches every single day and getting nowhere. I wanted to email potential clients these exact words:
“Please, please, please hire me! I’m poor and desperate for work!”
Okay, I know that none of us would ever actually write those exact words in an email but you can beg for work by using the wrong tone in your pitch.
Whilst it’s great to say things like “I’d love this opportunity to work with you [with an explanation as to why]”, phrases like, “Please give me a chance to work with you” or “Please let me show you what a great job I can do for your company” sound like you’re begging for work.
This isn’t good for you because a) it looks like you’ll take any job and your pitch to them isn’t special or personal, and b) if they think you’re desperate for work, they’re likely to start trying to reduce your rates.
Hear me out on this one.
Templates are amazing. They help you streamline your workflow and run your business more efficiently.
Most people can smell a template from a mile off. And you know what a template tells them? That the email they just received is just one of a million that you’ve sent out today. It’s not personal and they aren’t special! When you say you can help their business, what you really mean is that you can help any business that will let you!
Now, this isn’t necessarily true. You probably spend days each week researching and choosing the perfect potential clients to pitch to. So let them know that.
I recommend using skeleton templates. I.e. templates that have the bare bones of the email set out and include prompts to remind you what to include. That way, your general approach to pitching will be uniform and the prompts will ensure that you don’t miss out an essential part of your pitch.
Taking Rejections Personally
This is THE hardest part about freelancing.
You pour your heart and soul into each piece you write. You spend days looking for the perfect people to pitch to and you spend hours working on each pitch.
Then you get rejected. Or completely ignored.
You need to try not to take these rejections personally. It’s a lot easier said than done but it will come over time.
Additional Tips for Pitching
- Pitch Consistently – send out new pitches daily to keep a regular flow of work coming in
- Follow Up on Pitches – if you don’t receive a response, follow up on your original email. Just because you didn’t hear back, doesn’t mean it’s a “no”, it just means that they might be really busy and need a gentle reminder
- Keep Track of Your Pitches – this way you know who to follow up with and when. You also avoid that embarrassing situation where you pitch to someone who has already said no to you.
Ready to Make Pitching Easier?
If you’ve been running a freelancing biz, you’ll know how frustrating it can be to write an email that lands you a job. Or allows you to get paid more. Or gets rid of a nightmare client.
Despite your best efforts, you’re struggling to string together the words needed to make a client say “yes – let’s get started!” on your dream project.