In my perfect world, all my freelancing clients reach out to me and ask me to write pieces for them. Editors from around the world beg for the opportunity to ready my work. Unfortunately, most of the time, I have to be the one reaching out to potential clients.
The good news, however, is that there really is a publication agency for everything. Just check out freelancewriting.com to get an idea of all the subjects you can cover. Whether you hope to gain regular clients or submit just one piece you’re happy with, it’s a great way to get your name out there with more agencies and gain great referrals.
The secret to winning over potential clients is in the pitch. Here are some do’s and don’ts on acing your story proposals:
Know your audience
Every agency is different. They write with different styles, voices and even word count. Get yourself familiar with the agency’s brand and write your pitch with a voice that matches. The point of your pitch is to show the agency that you deserve to write for them. If your writing style doesn’t match what the agency is looking for, chances are they’ll throw out your pitch before they even finish reading it.
Copy and paste
We’ve all done it. You’re submitting cover letter after cover letter, pitch after pitch, and you just take the easiest way out. Editors know when you copy and paste your pitches, and they’re not going to be interested in what you have to say if they know you’re not equally interested in their agency.
As tedious as it might be, taking the longer approach will pay off in the end. It will demonstrate your interest in the individual agency – and they’ll reciprocate their interest.
Be a solution to their problems
Don’t just tell the editors why you’re a great writer, tell them why they need you. This ties in with knowing your audience – as you familiarize yourself with the website or publication, you’ll be able to write specifically about what an asset you’ll be for them.
No one likes a beggar, and no one will be impressed if you tell them you really need this job. Along with being a solution for their problems, you want the organization to feel like they need you – not the other way around. Begging is unprofessional and makes your pitch seem more self-serving than anything else.
Every writer has made mistakes in their pitches, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re seeing yourself in the “don’ts.” Even freelancers who have been in the business for years can muck up their pitches. The important thing is that you’re learning with each pitch and improving every time.
by: Emily Brady
Emily Brady received her Bachelors at Brigham Young University Idaho where she majored in Communication Sciences with an emphasis in journalism and professional management. She has written for Scroll News and Deseret Digital Media and is currently a freelance writer. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading and swinging in her hammock.