New Freelance Writers: Do Not Send a Pitch Without Reading This First

If you are new to freelance writing, there can be a lot of uncertainty. Yes, there are plenty of opportunities to write for blogs, magazines, websites, and businesses, but how do you go about taking advantage of those opportunities?

This article will give you a brief guide to getting started.

Please do not contact any of the publishers listed in Freedom With Writing, unless you are confident in your ability to send a quality pitch. There are so many mistakes that are very easy to avoid. This article will help you avoid those mistakes.

The primary thing to keep in mind is that editors are very busy. This means that you have to win them over with the first sentence of your pitch.

Don’t know what that means?

Let me explain.

If you want to write for a magazine or a blog, or any publication that works with freelance writers, you will need to send the editor of the publication a pitch.

A pitch, also known as a query, is a proposal to write for the publication. Pitches are usually your first professional contact with an editor you haven’t worked with before.

For example, let’s say a writer loves dogs, and wants to build a career writing about pets, and dogs in general. They may look for some blogs and magazines that publish articles on the topic. They would then study the publications to make sure they were a good fit, and then contact the editor with a proposal. The contact is usually in the form of a short email that proposes one or two ideas for an article.

There are no hard and fast rules to pitching. There are many ways to do it correctly. However, that doesn’t mean you can send just anything in a pitch.

If you would like to successfully pitch an editor, you need to make it clear from the start that you are a good fit for the publication, and that means showing a clear understanding of the needs of the publisher.

In order to show that understanding, you absolutely have to read the publication carefully. Study the types of articles they publish. Read at least five articles they have recently published. This gives you a good start.

Keep in mind that the editor likely spends nearly all their time thinking about these topics. Assume they have thought of most the article ideas you might think of. They are generally experts in the topic area, but they are busy. Their job is to find someone who can write exactly the type of articles their audience wants to read.

Once you have studied the publication, brainstorm a few article ideas. Write the actual headline for the articles, and place them in a list with headlines that have been actually published by the publication. This is where you can do a reality check. Does the headline actually fit? Or does it show that your idea isn’t really a good match for the publication, or does it seamlessly fit with the other headlines?

Once you’ve carefully studied the publication, created a few ideas for possible articles, and vetted those ideas, you are ready to write the pitch to the editor.

When sending a pitch, you can focus on just one idea, or list several ideas. Which option you choose depends on the context. Use your best judgement.

The most important thing to keep in mind: Be respectful of the editor’s time. That means being clear, concise, and direct. Keep the pitch as short as possible, while still giving enough information to clearly convey the necessary information.

You ability to quickly convey enough information largely depends on the work you did before writing the pitch. If you get to this point, and find it difficult to concisely propose an article, then go back and do more research and brainstorming.

Keep in mind, this is not a job application or a cover letter. There is no need to include a resume. If you have a portfolio, include a link to it in the email, but this should not be the focus. Focus on concisely presenting an idea for an article that likley fits the needs of the editor.

Also, even if you do everything correctly, and send a great pitch that is very well thought out, very well written, and very respectful of the editor’s time, you might still hear nothing in response. It is just a fact of life, in the world of freelance writing.

What do you do about that situation? The only thing you can do: Send another pitch, to another editor. If you ever find yourself anxiously waiting on hearing back from a pitch, it is a sign that you’re not sending out enough pitches. Most professional writers get very used to sending out a steady stream of pitches. No individual pitch matters in the long run. It is the habit of pitching, and developing your pitching skill, that matters far more.

If, after reading all of this, you are still unsure of how to proceed, then please take the time to watch this free webinar from Ian Chandler. He will also send you a free copy of his pitch template, which is very useful. Watch the free webinar now.


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