Written By Emma Valentine

How I Landed a Gig Writing YouTube Scripts ($200 Each)

By Emma Valentine

Landing the first pitch can be difficult.

That first e-mail is vital – it sets up who you are, what you’re about, and how capable you are or getting the job done. It sounds obvious, but a well-constructed first e-mail is the only way to put your best foot forward.

As a recent graduate, I was unemployed and curious about whether or not I could translate all that practice writing essays into some actual income. Freelance writing had crossed my mind, and I thought my stuff was worth reading, so I decided to make some inquiries.

My first client was a company that focused on educational content. I’d been a fan of theirs for a while and, seeing themes in their Youtube channel that were in need of expansion, thought I’d try to them pitch a script idea. In these initial stages, having an idea of what they wanted to publish, and any gaps in their content, was really instrumental in being able to grab their attention with an appealing pitch.

After hunting down their company contact info, I e-mailed the editor directly.

This first contact can be scary. You’re putting yourself, and your work, into the unknown. But, there are a few steps you can take to make your pitch stand out, and more likely to be taken up. Be sure to check if your client has a standard procedure for accepting pitches – such as a form that you should fill out, or a particular format. If not, an opening e-mail is your best bet.

Imagine yourself on the receiving end of this email. Your recipient might have seen thirty of these emails this morning, and be having a terrible day where they just don’t feel like reading. Make it easy for them. You can do this by following a predictable pattern for pitches:

  1. Introduce yourself with an elevator pitch. (Hi there, My name is… I’m a freelance writer from… I write mainly…) If you’re have a particular qualification or knowledge relevant to what you’re about to pitch, mention it here.
  2. State why you’re getting in touch with them specifically. (I saw your call for pitches on twitter/I’ve been a fan of your publication for a while)
  3. Nudge the door open for your idea. (I was wondering if you might be interested in an article on…)

By this point, typically you’ve either gotten their attention or they’ve seen enough to pass. If you’ve gotten this far though, make sure to nail the landing:

  1. Briefly outline what your piece would cover. Imagine subheadings through the article you want to write, and tell your recipient about those. Be concise, but informative. This is where you really sell the piece.
  2. Metaphorically hand them your business card. They’ve got a sense of you and your ideas, so now’s the time to let them think, and get back to your when they’re ready. Leaving them with a couple of links to your work, so they can get a better sense of how you structure pieces, is also very important to assist their considerations, so be sure to include that.

Here’s an (anonymised) example of one of my successful pitches that puts these points into practice.

“Hi there,

My name is Emma Valentine, I’m a freelance writer from Cardiff, Wales specialising in psychology. I’ve been a viewer of your show for a while, and wondered if you might be interested in a piece on Alien Hand Syndrome?

Alien Hand Syndrome is one of the stranger conditions that can arise from brain damage to the corpus callosum. Those who have it often find one of their hands completely out of their control, to the point it might start undoing their shirts in public, or taking strangers’ coffee without their consent. It sounds almost like sci-fi, I know, but this article would give us a great jumping off point to talk about the history of neurosurgery, as the condition was often caused by a common epilepsy procedure back in the day.

Hope that sounds like something you might be into. I’m happy to hear any counter pitches you might have, and hoping we can talk about this further soon. Here is a link to a couple of my previous pieces for your reference: [link]

Have a great weekend!


With an opening email like this, you come across as professional, confident and organized. Also, it’s clear that you value their time and, vitally, don’t waste it with swathes of text. This email resulted in me landing a pitch for a 900 word script, paying around $200.

I’m still working with this client, writing around two scripts per month as a Science Writer. It’s a nice baseline, and gives me a solid portfolio to offer to other prospective clients when seeking new contracts.

The first contact will always be a bit of an unknown, so it’s natural to be nervous. But try to remember, it’s all business. If they take you up on your offer, that’s fantastic. If not, that’s nothing out of the ordinary, and it probably doesn’t speak to your writing abilities. Just keep trying, and know that even if your pitch is unsuccessful, you’ve made a good first effort at opening future lines for communication with the client.

About the Author: Based in the UK, Emma is a freelance Science Writer for a popular Youtube channel. Alongside an international team, she regularly creates educational scripts focusing around her specialty, abnormal psychology.

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