“I just got rejected by an editor, AGAIN! This freelancing thing isn’t for me, abeg”. This is Mercy whose pitch just got rejected for the umpteenth time, and she’s in my dm complaining. She’s sad and confused. She doesn’t know what she’s doing wrong and how to write a good pitch.
So if you’re a Mercy or in Mercy’s shoes, this article is for you. In this guide, I will show you what you’re doing wrong with your pitches and how to write a good pitch to get you that freelancing gig.
Table of Contents
What is a Pitch?
Knowing what a pitch is from what it is not is the foundation of whatever pitch you’re writing. If you have a wrong pitch definition, you’ve been writing the wrong thing, like a proposal instead of a pitch.
A pitch is a brief and specific writing convincing an editor or client to hire you or publish your work. Now that you know what a pitch is let’s consider the next big thing.
Mistakes You Should Avoid to Write a Good Pitch
Here are some things Mercy might have been doing that made her pitches always get rejected.
Telling the client you’re new
“I’m a new freelance writer.” I’ll call this a useless piece of information. Most clients and editors need an expert to do the work. So telling them you’re a newbie is a turnoff. Nobody wants to hire an amateur.
Attaching large files
What do you think you’re doing? Attaching files without being asked to is a capital NO. Do not attach samples of your work if it’s not included in the submission guideline.
How is your client supposed to know you’re qualified for the job asides from what you’ve written in your pitch?
Saying your nationality
You’re a Nigerian, but you don’t always have to rush to tell your clients, “my name is Mercy, and I’m from Nigeria…”? Most clients have a negative perception of Nigerians. Thus, saying you’re a Nigerian is like advising them to stay off.
There are many other mistakes to avoid but let’s take these four. I’ll cover the others when teaching how to write a good pitch.
Things You Should Do to Write a Good Pitch
Do your research
Know your client or editor; at least find out his/her name. Know the company’s or blog’s target audience and the kind of content that works for them.
Review submission guidelines
If you’re provided with a submission guideline, read it thoroughly and follow it when writing your pitch.
Focus on a niche
To write a good pitch, you have to concentrate on a niche. Telling an editor you write articles on tech, lifestyle and politics is saying you’re a jack of all trades and master of none. And we don’t want that.
Create a portfolio of your works
Make sure you have a portfolio that contains samples of works in your proposed niche. You can create a portfolio with Google Docs, LinkedIn, or Medium.
Get a business email address
I know it’s just you, but the sooner you start treating your freelance career as a business, the better. Don’t use emails like [email protected]. If you can’t get a customized email, you can use something like [email protected]. It looks more professional, right?
Pitch within your ability
I can’t emphasize this enough. Don’t pitch a tech company when you’re a lifestyle writer, and hope to try your luck. It’s wrong. There are a thousand and one blogs and companies in your niche. You have to find them.
Now, those companies, blogs, and publications you’ve always wanted to write for are calling for pitches. And guess what? They accept articles in your niche.
Here’s what to do;
Assuming you’re a lifestyle writer, list these companies and blogs and then categorize them into sub-niches like parenting, fashion, nutrition, travel, beauty, fitness, etc. This makes it easier for you to adapt your pitch to the needs of each company or blog.
Pro Tips to Write a Good Pitch
If you want to write a good pitch to get you that freelancing gig, don’t miss these tips:
Quality over quantity
It’s not about how long the pitch is. It’s about how appealing it is. Your pitch should pass across the correct information and make your editor want to hire you.
Don’t copy and paste
Don’t be a lazy writer, and use a single pitch for different editors. You will be doing yourself more harm than good. Tailor your pitch according to the needs of each client.
Send your pitches during work hours/days
This tip increases your chances of being responded to on time. During weekends, your editor might want to watch Netflix and chill. On Mondays, he might be busy making plans for the week.
Hence, it’s advisable to send your pitches on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Friday mornings.
Don’t talk about price
You don’t want to write a good pitch and spoil it with money matters. You shouldn’t be talking PPW (price per word) in your pitch. Let your editor respond first and indicate interest.
They might have a budget, and when your price is higher than their budget, they may trash your email without giving you a chance to beat your price.
You’ve gotten the pro tips. The next thing is to learn to write a good pitch.
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7 Steps to Write a Good Pitch
You’re a stone’s throw away from crafting that perfect pitch. Here, I’ll be showing you simple steps you can use to write a good pitch.
Write a captivating subject line
Your editor gets to read the subject of your email before the body. If your subject is boring, the editor will be less willing to read it. Use a few words and give your reader an idea of what to expect.
“PITCH: Sam, your readers will thank you for this…
Say a greeting
Address your client/editor by name. It shows you’ve done background work. Plus, it creates a personal connection.
You can say something like, ” Hi Sam….”
Here, you can use the thirty seconds elevator pitch example (It’s called an elevator pitch because you have little time to convince the person to listen/hire you). Tell the person your name, what you do, and the article idea you want to write on.
“My name is Mercy, and I’m a skincare writer. I have an article on choosing body creams that will lighten your skin without bleaching it…”
This is just a sample. You can do better.
Highlight the problem and a solution
You’ve told them your idea, now why should they publish your work? Use this space to highlight the reasons they need to buy your idea.
“I read through the comments section of your latest blog post about trending facial creams for ladies, and some commented being hesitant to try them out because they don’t want bleached skins.
In my article, I will show them what to look out for when buying body creams and how to choose creams that’ll lighten but won’t bleach their skin…”
Show your qualifications
This is where you’ll tell the editor about your qualifications and why you’re the right person to write that article. Don’t say, “I’m passionate about…” Editors don’t care what you’re passionate about or what you love doing. Tell them about your experience in that niche/category.
“I’m a dermatologist and cosmetic formulator with five years of experience. I studied at…….”
Showcase your work
This is the right time to include the links to the sample articles you’ve written in that niche/category.
“Here is the link to my article about three hair creams to treat stunted hair growth. And another one on how to get rid of acne naturally…”
This should be brief and include a simple CTA. Also, thank the editor for their time and consideration.
“I’d like to give you more details about my article idea. How about scheduling a time to discuss it? I’ll be waiting for your response. Thank you for your time”.
You can use this template as a guide for your next pitch, but what’s the standard word count for pitches?
How Long Should Your Pitch Be?
There’s no standard word count for pitches. Your pitch should be long enough to pass the necessary information to your editor and not a single word more. Keep it as short as possible.
Not satisfied? To write a good pitch, aim at 300-500 words per pitch or even 200. Whatever word count you write, remember that editors are busy people and can not spend the whole day on your pitch.
You’ve submitted your pitch. What next?
What to do After submitting Your Pitch
Give your client/editor time. They receive tons of pitches each day so exercise some patience. If you don’t get a response after two weeks, send a follow-up message.
“Hi, Sam. I haven’t heard from you, so I decided to check on you. How are you doing? I guess my email got lost in the crowd. This is it again, in case you missed it. I’ll be expecting your response.
Pitching is a dice game. You either win or lose. Rejection is possible. But I don’t want you to be afraid of it. Instead, see it as a push to do more.
Editors get a lot of pitches each day, and they can’t accept all. So, don’t take it personally if your pitch is rejected. I have a tip for you about this.
Send out as many pitches as possible each day. You can pitch four companies/blogs each day. In a week, you would have pitched twenty-eight different companies/publications. That way, your chances of getting a positive response are higher.
Mercy has learned to write a good pitch, what not to do, and what to do. If you’re a Mercy, keep in mind implementation is key to thriving as a freelance writer.
The steps outlined here can be used to write a good pitch for articles, website content, and blog posts. Don’t forget to come back and give your testimony when you land a gig after you write a good pitch.
What new things did you learn about pitches? Tell me in the comments section.
My name is Jessica Eni. I am a content writer. I write content for social media pages, brands, blogs, and websites. I'll help you make sales with words.
I am a social media enthusiast, teen aide, and mental health and personal development advocate.
Let's connect on: Facebook, LinkedIn, or WhatsApp.
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