Writing Your Freelance Pitch Email (+ Templates!)

Apr 10, 2017

This is part three of a four-part series on pitching as a freelance writer. For an overview of the series and easy access to every other post, click here.

You’ve made it this far—you found a place (or a few places!) you’d like to pitch, you did your research, and now your fingers are itchin’ to draft that pitch email and put yourself out there.

But, then you sit there staring at that menacing blinking text cursor and think, “Uhhh… now what?” You’re stumped on how to get started and what exactly you should say.

Trust me, I’ve been there. And, when I look back at some of the pitch emails I wrote early on in my freelance career, I either cringe, shudder, or cry—or all of the above. Seriously, I’m blushing just thinking about them.

Yes, I’ve learned a lot about successfully pitching since I took my first step into the world of freelancing. So, today, I’m going to share all of that wisdom with you so that you can (hopefully!) avoid looking back on your pitch emails and immediately weeping.

Use these templates to write a short and sweet #freelancewriter pitch email: Click To Tweet

What to Include in Your Pitch Email

Your pitch email is a short and sweet message (take it from me, you don’t need to write your entire life story like I did when I was getting started) that explains the following to a brand or publication you’re interested in writing for:

  • Who You Are: What do you do and where are you based?
  • Why You’re Interested: What attracted you to this brand or publication? And, more importantly, what expertise or experience do you bring to the table?
  • Your Story Idea(s): What article (headline and a two or three sentence blurb about it!) idea(s) would like to write for this outlet?

Regardless of whether you’re hoping to write one piece or are aiming to land a role as a regular contributor, I always, always, always recommend including one or a few story suggestions with your pitch. If you can show that you have fresh ideas, that will take you a long way (and, if all goes well, keep you out of that editor’s trash bin)!

Want to take a look at a real pitch email I’ve actually sent? Grab it here!

Pitch Emails: Nuts and Bolts Tips

Before we dig into the templates, let’s cover some nuts and bolts tips you should remember when crafting your pitch email, so you can be sure to fill in the blanks effectively.

Rely on Your Research

Remember when I forced you to adequately prepare for your pitch email in this post? Well, you didn’t do all of that research just to say you did. You should actually use it to craft a relevant and impactful pitch email.

This is especially important when generating your potential article ideas. Not only do you want to ensure that what you come up with would be a great fit for their publication or blog, but you also want to make sure that it hasn’t been written already! Do a quick search to make sure that you aren’t pitching a redundant idea. Pitching something that has already been written will help you stand out—but not in a good way.

pitch email

Show Some Personality

Particularly when you’re pitching larger outlets, it’s important to remember that those places receive hundreds (maybe even thousands!) of pitches on a weekly basis. So, your goal should be to set yourself apart a little bit. Do that by incorporating some of your personality and humor so that your email doesn’t read like every other one in that editor’s inbox.

Keep it Organized

The easier you can make your pitch email to read, the higher the likelihood that it will actually, well, be read. So, rather than bombarding that contact with a wall of never-ending text, keep your email as organized as possible. Utilize subheads, bold font, and even bulleted or numbered lists if you can!

Don’t Include Attachments

This is a question I get a lot from prospective freelancers: Should you attach your resume, PDFs of published samples, or anything else to your email?

I recommend staying away from this for two reasons. First, editors don’t really care to see your resume—which means it just clutters your message. And, secondly, since many outlets use generic inboxes for pitches (think, you don’t want your attachment to be the reason you get automatically sent to the spam folder.

With that said, links within the body of your email are your friend! I will typically include links to my author page on other relevant websites where I’ve been published.

Pitch Emails: The Templates

Alright, now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at a couple of templates so that you can get an idea of what a pitch email could look like.

FRIENDLY REMINDER: These are just templates! You absolutely can (and even should!) make adjustments to suit your own individual personality and circumstances. Consider these just a guide.

Pitching a One-Off Story

In some cases, you might be pitching to write just one story for a publication or a brand, as opposed to trying to join their team as a regular contributor.

Admittedly, this isn’t something I typically do—unless it’s a big-name publication like The New York Times where I think it’d be awesome to get just one byline (ahem, hint hint, The New York Times… gimme a call!). I prefer more regular contributions, as it helps to keep my workload (and my income!) more predictable.

But, in those instances when I do want to pitch a one-off story, my pitch email typically ends up looking something like this:

Hello [Editor Name],

My name is [Your Name], and I’m a [location]-based freelance writer specializing in [niche].

My work has been published by [link to relevant outlet], [link to relevant outlet], and [link to relevant outlet].

Since I have such a passion for [niche], I’d love to use my expertise and insights to write a piece for [this brand or publication]. I’ve included a story idea below that I think will really resonate with your readers:

[Story Headline]
[One or two sentences outlining the piece]

I’d love to get your thoughts—is this something you’d be interested in having me write for [brand or publication]?

Thanks so much for your consideration, [Editor Name]. I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon!

[Your Name]

pitch email

Pitching Yourself as a Regular Contributor

This is the method I find myself using most often. If I’m going to write somewhere, I prefer it to be on a more reliable and predictable schedule. So, I typically take the approach of pitching myself as a regular contributor for their site, blog, or publication.

The email looks fairly similar to the one above. However, I typically delve a little more into my interest in the outlet and share at least three—rather than just one—article idea.

Here’s what that looks like:

Hello [Editor Name],

My name is [Your Name], and I’m a [location]-based freelance writer specializing in [niche].

My work has been published by [link to relevant outlet], [link to relevant outlet], and [link to relevant outlet].

Since I have such a passion for [niche], I’ve been a long-time [reader/follower/admirer] of [this brand or publication]. As a result, I’d love to find out more about joining your content team and becoming a regular contributor. I know I have plenty of expertise and insights on [topic] to offer!

To put my money where my mouth is, I’ve included a few story ideas below that I think will really resonate with your audience:

[#1 Story Headline]
[One or two sentences outlining the piece]

[#2 Story Headline]
[One or two sentences outlining the piece]

[#3 Story Headline]
[One or two sentences outlining the piece]

Are you currently looking for additional contributors? If so, I’d love to talk with you about these story ideas and [this outlet]’s content goals. 

Thanks so much for your consideration, [Editor Name]. I’m looking forward to chatting soon!

[Your Name]

Eager to go beyond templates and see a real email I’ve actually sent? You’re in luck!

Your Homework

There you have it—all of the nitty gritty information you need to write an effective pitch email. So, now it’s time for you to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Over the next week, use these tips and templates to send out some pitch emails to a few of the outlets you identified in step one.

Are you getting stuck on a certain part of the process? Leave a comment below so that myself—or some other savvy writers in this community—can chime in with some tips and advice!

It’s time to get pitchin’, party people!

P.S. Want an email notification when the final post in this series publishes? Make sure you click “subscribe” in the upper righthand corner, and you’ll get an email when the next post is live—plus, you’ll be signed up for tons of freelance insights and even some awesome writing gigs I find. You don’t want to miss it!