How to Pitch: Absolutely Everything Freelance Writers Need to Know

Mar 6, 2017

Oh, the freelance pitch. Love it or hate it, it’s an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to growing your business as a freelance writer. You absolutely need to know how to pitch effectively.

I get it—feeling like you’re trying to sell yourself to strangers can be awkward at best, particularly if you haven’t done much of it before. How much information do you need to include? How do you know where to send it? Should you attach your resume? Wait, what do you even say?

These are all questions I had when I was getting started, and they’re also questions I’ve received from newbie freelancers time and time again—which is why I’m thrilled to pull together my very first comprehensive series of blog posts (things are gettin’ fancy up in here, huh?) about this oh-so-important element of being a freelance writer.

Consider this article right here the introduction. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be publishing four more related articles on the topics listed below. Once an article publishes, I’ll come back and link that post in the appropriate section so that eventually this once humble little article is a starting point that links out to all sorts of helpful and relevant information on crafting your freelance pitch. Pretty neat, am I right?

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But, before we roll up our sleeves and get into all that good stuff, let’s cover something basic:

What Exactly is a Pitch?

There are some freelancers out there who write an entire article about a topic and then shop it around in attempts to “sell” it to a publication. Yes, you could probably consider that a pitch (and, some freelancers—who are apparently much more motivated than I—love that approach!).

However, for the sake of simplicity, I’m going to consider a pitch this: When you send a short cold email to an outlet you’re interested in writing for to let them know:

  • Who you are
  • Why you’re interested in contributing
  • What story ideas you have

It’s short, sweet, punchy, and hopefully gets you in front of the eyeballs of someone you could eventually end up writing for—without needing to invest the time in writing an entire piece without promise of publication.

Why is Pitching Important?

To put it simply? Well, if you wait around for people to approach you and offer up a paycheck to weave your words together, you’re probably going to be waitin’ a while, my friends.

Growing your freelance business involves being aggressive (whether that’s in your nature or not). And, the pitch email is a key part of that. In order to land new clients, projects, and bylines, you need to put yourself out there. And, more often than not, that’s going to involve pitching yourself.

Everything You Need to Know

Alright, now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s take a quick little peek at what you can expect from some upcoming posts. Remember, whenever a new one publishes, I’ll come back and link the blog post in the appropriate section, so that this post becomes the launching point for everything you’d possibly want to know about pitching!

Part One: Figuring Out Who to Pitch as a Freelance Writer

You’re feeling ready to put yourself out there and pitch your stuff, but how do you know who to reach out to? Where can you find places to pitch? And, what do you need to know about them before you do?

Part Two: Making the Most of Your Freelance Pitch

You’ve found a place you’d like to pitch. But, now what? Where do you send it? Are there instructions you need to follow? Here are all those nitty gritty details to keep your eyes peeled for.

Part Three: Writing Your Freelance Pitch Email

Here it is, the meat and potatoes: It’s time to craft your pitch email. But, what do you say? What needs to be included in your message? Should you outline your rates right away? Follow this step-by-step guide to create your perfect pitch email.

Part Four: Following Up on Your Pitch (Politely)

Spoiler alert: You might not hear back on your first pitch. However, that doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to failure. Here’s how to follow up and be pleasantly persistent. Take it from me, a friendly follow up can make all the difference.

I’m so excited to pull together this series of posts, and I hope you’re just as pumped about it (should we pause for a “raise the roof” break?).

If you don’t want to have to keep coming back to this page to see when a new post has been added, I highly suggest signing up for my email list (just click “Subscribe” in the upper righthand corner!), and you’ll be notified whenever a new post is published—so you can scurry right on over and check it out!

And, bonus, I also send a weekly email with helpful tips and even some great freelance gigs that were posted that particular week! So, be my email pen pal, won’t ya?

Have questions about how to pitch? Let me know and I’ll work them into this series!