Do this instead of sending hundreds of LOIs!
Are you tired of ignored LOIs and cold emailing? Clients are people just like you and I, they’re often just as busy if not more than we are.
If you want your freelance writing pitch to be accepted, make it easy for a potential client to see the piece will be a good fit for their audience so they can hit reply and say “yes”.
This article will show you how to craft the perfect pitch so editors say yes!
Send a Pitch not an LOI
Sending general LOIs (letter of introduction) to hundreds of companies or publications puts the work on the client to review your portfolio and think of an article idea you could write for them. This adds an extra step to the process. And editors don’t know you well enough so they’re basically guessing without knowing it will pan out.
They’re too busy for that.
Instead of an LOI, send a specific pitch for an article you know their audience will love. This means you have to take time to know their content needs.
Research Your Pitch
You should be able to answer the following questions about any potential clients before you write your pitch:
- Do they already have a blog and/or a newsletter? Are they posting content consistently?
- What is the average length of blog posts or articles? What formats/styles are popular? (i.e How-to, Listicle, Guides, Interviews, etc.)
- What special elements are typically used? (infographics, pull quotes, resources, other)
- What topics or trends are current or popular right now for this subject?
- What’s happening in the world right now that could impact this topic/subject?
- Who is their target audience?
- What issue or angle is not being written about that might be interesting to readers?
- Where’s the gap if any, in what’s being covered already.
- What questions or information will target readers be interested in about this topic? (Ubersuggest.com or a People Also Ask box for your keyword can help with this)
- Has this topic been covered in the last few months with the angle you are pitching?
- Why am I the best writer to write this article right now?
- What insight or perspective can I offer that most writers/freelancers might not be able to offer?
- Does this company, publication, magazine work with freelancers or only staff writers?
You aren’t going to use all the above information in your pitch by any means. Your pitch will only be half a page, maybe three to four short paragraphs. But all the above information helps you make sure your pitch is targeted and relevant.
Targeted Subject Line
If the submission guidelines indicate what format to use for the email subject line, follow the suggested format for that publication or company.
If there’s nothing listed in the guidelines for the email subject line, use something like-new pitch: article title/idea, from your name.
Using a clear and targeted email subject line increases the chance editors will open your pitch over others with generic subject lines. The subject line is your first impression, get it right and they will open your email.
Greet by Name
Use the editor’s name whenever possible. You can google search <magazine name> plus the word editor to find editor names.
If the tone and appearance of the magazine or website seems casual, fun, or quirky, use Hello or Dear <First Name>. For journalistic publications or more formal magazines, use Dear or Hello <First Name> <Last Name>.
Avoid sending pitches to dear editor or to whom it may concern, do the research to find a name.
If you are responding to a specific job posting or call for submission you should indicate that in your intro. Tell the editor how/why you think this article will resonate with their readers/audience.
Avoid starting a pitch with your writing qualifications or talking about yourself. Start with the article idea!
Outline Your Idea
Use the research you did above to identify a trend or gap in content. Give suggested titles for your article and outline your approach using suggested subheadings or points you will cover. Include approximate word count or a range which fits with guidelines or average article length in the publication. Make clear the reader problem or pain point your piece addresses. If you will interview experts, tell the editor how you will secure those experts.
Provide a few sentences indicating how/why you are the best writer to write this article. You can then give a brief summary of your qualifications but only the ones most relevant to the topic or article you are writing.
If the submission guidelines indicate how to provide samples of your writing, follow those. If nothing is listed in the guidelines, provide a link to your published clips or portfolio. Double check to make sure your contact information is current in your portfolio.
Make your closing sentences positive in nature and provide a way for the client or editor to respond to you. Indicate you are waiting to hear from them in a way that assumes they will want to move forward with the project rather than asking them if they are interested.
I suggest something such as “I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience so I can add this to my schedule.” or “I look forward to working with you in the coming month.”
Don’t close with statements like “let me know if you are interested”, “reply if you like this idea” or “let me know if this idea works”, etc.
Avoid closing lines that don’t project confidence.
Instead make it easy for them to say “yes”. Let them know you are ready and waiting to begin. Project confidence in your article with your tone and word choice. Something like “I look forward to adding your project to my schedule” is great.
Pitch Follow Up
After about 8–14 days with no response, follow up by opening your original sent email and hitting forward. This means your original pitch is attached which saves editors time searching for it. Double check that you’ve addressed the email to the correct person for that pitch. Greet the editor again by name and then say something like “Just wanted to follow up on this pitch before my schedule fills up.”
Follow up once or twice with each publication or client and then move on. Keep them on your radar to pitch a different idea in the future if they don’t respond.
A lot of experts will tell you to send hundreds of cold emails to get clients. Trust me you don’t have to do that.
Try these tips when you craft your next few pitches and see for yourself.
Now go get paid!
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Meg Stewart has been freelancing for nearly two decades. She’s a multi-passionate skill hoarder and the intersection of freelance writing, technology, and teaching is her sweet spot. Freelance Ladder was founded to help writers get paid and help solopreneurs do business online better. Meg and her family, (along with two dogs, two cats, and two leopard geckos), live in Northeast Ohio. Follow her on Medium or become a Medium member and get unlimited access.