Leaving Work Behind

4 Ways to Kill It in Your Next Freelance Email Pitch

Written by Gina Horkey on August 11, 2015. 28 Comments

Email PitchThere is a right and a wrong way to pitch for freelance jobs (writing or otherwise).

If you’re a brand new freelancer, wouldn’t it be easier if you knew how to pitch the correct way, right off the bat? Or if you’re somewhat seasoned, but looking to take on some new clients and your current pitch isn’t converting that well, wouldn’t it be nice to know what you could do to make yours better?

We’ve talked a lot about pitching on Leaving Work Behind in the past. In fact, I’ve shared with you my first pitch along with my most recent one and broken it all down for you to learn why the latter is more effective and converts better.

And I’ve also given you the ultimate pitching blueprint to help you propose new article ideas to your current clients. But today, I want to share with you four specific ways to kill it in your next email pitch that are often overlooked by freelancers just like us.

1. Be Yourself

One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is to show a little personality and differentiate yourself. Don’t be “just another qualified writer” that sends an email in response to a job ad.

Instead, talk with them like you would a friend. This doesn’t mean you should go crazy with exclamation points or emoticons. You should keep your pitch professional, but conversational in nature.

In essence, try to humanize yourself and get them to like and remember you. Don’t be afraid to open up (a little), show off some of your great personality and make a real connection.

2. Be Succinct

Ain’t no one got time to read an email the length of a novel. But people keep sending them. And they keep getting ignored.

Whenever I open a really long email, my first instinct is to put it off until later. The mere length of an email prevents it from getting read because it seems like too much work. As though it’ll require too much mental or emotional energy to read and then formulate a reply to.

I’ve found it’s best to keep a pitch short, light and include only the most pertinent details. You need to include all of the necessary information (like links to samples of your work), but don’t go crazy here. Re-read it before you send it and see if there’s any fluff to be cut, or if you can replace any compound sentences with a shorter version.

In fact, you can format your emails much like you would a blog post. Have an introduction, a bullet-pointed body, and a conclusion/call-to-action. Always make sure to let them know their next step i.e. “Hit reply to continue this conversation”.

3. Do Your Research

This one is so often overlooked, it’s kind of comical. How many of you have pitched a job without clicking over to look at the prospective client’s website?

What’s the point in even pitching them?

If you’re not interested in them enough to get a sense of what they have going on, the odds aren’t that great of you actually landing the gig. Instead, spend a couple minutes exploring their site, social media profiles, etc. and learn about the company you want to be a part of.

And please don’t just click on the most recent blog post and skim the first paragraph or two. If you do and that’s the only “connection” you make in your pitch, you might as well not bother. It’s pretty evident to the potential employer and they’re not likely to be impressed!

4. Keep Expectations Low

Here’s the thing: there will always be another opportunity. This job ad that you’re answering right now isn’t the last one you’ll ever see that you’re qualified for or interested in. In my opinion:

Every company needs a website and virtually every website needs a blog.

So there’s ample opportunity for all of us freelance writers at least ;-). And the same goes for any other freelance industry. Opportunity is abundant and you need to adopt that mindset!

Take some of the pressure off by pitching early and pitching often. Although you need to take your time and send a killer pitch each time, don’t put all of your eggs in that one proverbial prospect’s basket.

Instead (and this is especially true if you’re just getting started), consider each pitch as practice for landing your ideal client down the road. Each email pitch you send out gets you that much closer to your next client and eventually to your dream client.

In Conclusion

The next time you fire off a pitch, don’t hem and haw and worry about the outcome. Instead, take your time to do your best in the actual pitch itself. Be yourself, write succinctly and do your research ahead of time.

Then lower your expectations and practice having a mindset of abundance. After all, each pitch you send will get you closer to your ideal business and dream client.

And lastly, don’t wait until your pitch is “perfect” before you send it out. Trust me, it will never be! But it usually can be improved and hopefully the above tips will help you to do just that.

What’s currently holding you back from sending out more pitches?

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28 Responses to “4 Ways to Kill It in Your Next Freelance Email Pitch”

  1. Mariana Ruiz
    August 11, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Actionable tips and timely, love it!

  2. Raymonda
    August 12, 2015 at 3:28 am

    What’s holding me back? My job! The hours are so not flexible…. and it takes up so much of my time that the only way to get anything done is take off but I can’t do that. In the morning, I only have enough time to send out 1 or 2 pitches and after work, I usually fall asleep before I can send a pitch. Like seriously – I fell asleep 4 times writing this comment.

    • Gina Horkey
      August 13, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Haha! Well stop reading blogs and use that time to pitch Raymonda;-). Take it a day at a time and do at least one thing that contributes to your freelance business per day. Believe it or not, it’ll add up significantly over time!

  3. Emmy Urieto
    August 12, 2015 at 7:03 am

    Great and timely.

  4. Yogiraj
    August 12, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Keeping expectation is most important, reach of emails has gone below 20-30% from last 5 years after heavy adoption of personal messengers.

  5. Daryl
    August 12, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Hey Gina,

    What’s holding me back from more pitches? I’ve got so much to do! Including creating my own product, writing up blog posts, improving my website, and then promotion. But to be successful you definitely have to MAKE time for what you need so that’s something I’m currently working on.

  6. Theodore Nwangene
    August 17, 2015 at 5:05 am

    Hello Gina,
    I agree with all your points here. Pitching to clients isn’t an easy thing though especially when you’ve not had any experience doing it but, if you practice it very well and follow the tips you mentioned on this post, it will definitely become less hard work.

    Being yourself while pitching is really very important because if they notice you’re not, they’ll start seeing you as a mediocre immediately and we both know how bad that can be.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. wendy mccance
    August 23, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Fantastic article. I am always looking for new ways to improve my email prospecting efforts and appreciate this information!

  8. Keshia
    September 1, 2015 at 3:58 am

    I am currently looking on how to become a blogger or writer. I’ve been thinking of these before I graduate from college, but until now, I haven’t been able to make this plan into action. What’s keeping me is I am afraid that it will not be a good writing ‘coz I only have done school works. I’m thinking of how to start like a blog site? any suggestions?

  9. Kayla @ Five Figure Writer
    September 14, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Great post! I actually never did much pitching as a newbie freelancer, but I have done more lately now that I’ve made this my full-time business. Great tips!

  10. Vukasin
    October 16, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Quite useful article for me since I am in the phase where I collect and absorb every useful freelance information.

    The weak part of my strategy is definitely the email pitching, and the advice from this article can hopefully improve it!

  11. John Uchechi Emmanuel
    December 13, 2015 at 8:22 am

    am a good writer but i dont know how to find an online writing.And am from Nigeria in Africa. need some help!!!

  12. John Uchechi Emmanuel
    December 13, 2015 at 8:37 am

    am really new to this i dont know how or where to start .i live in Nigeria in Africa please your opinion means alot to me.

  13. Chris
    February 20, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Whats holding me back is that I’m new to freelancing. I honestly don’t know where to begin sometimes. I have a blog that I’ve started but want to freelance because I enjoy writing about various topics.

    Thanks for the article, I’m definitely going to use the tips to help progress further.

  14. Dhiya A Hani
    September 19, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Hi! Great post! Thank you so much, I’m new to freelance writing and I’m really nervous to make a pitch. At least now i know how to make a good one!

  15. Fiona Doonican
    May 11, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Hi Gina,

    An excellent article. Thank you.
    I have been asked to pitch against another Virtual Assistant for a job which looks just right for me. I have the advantage that I know the client personally, but I don’t want to rely on that.
    I have never written a pitch before – always done interview style – so I am a bit nervous. I want to make sure that I don’t undervalue myself but also that I come over as professional and capable. Onwards and upwards!

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