Freelance Marketing: Shape Up Your Pitch to Get More Writing Clients

Shape Up Your Freelance Marketing Pitch to Get Clients. Makealivingwriting.comIt’s that time of year when people go nuts about getting into shape. So how are your freelance marketing muscles?

Scrawny? A little weak? Barely strong enough to lift the bar?

If you’ve lost hours to composing emails for target clients, but still find yourself with no paying work, there’s a better way.

Your freelance marketing efforts may need to be put through a workout to help you learn basic skills to pitch clients and land assignments.

I know I needed some training to strengthen my freelance marketing muscles.

As a newbie writer in the health and fitness niche, it would take me a week to churn out two letters of introduction to pitch potential clients.

To survive, I developed a way to streamline the pitching process, increase productivity, and start filling up the calendar with paying clients.

Ready to whip your pitch skills into shape?

How can you make your freelance marketing pitch better?

If you haven’t been getting the results you want from your freelance marketing efforts, it doesn’t make sense to keep doing the same thing.

Think of it like using some gimmicky piece of exercise equipment to get into shape. If it’s not doing anything, for you, find a better way.

Here are six ways to strengthen your freelance marketing pitch skills to land more clients:

1. Find the right person to pitch

After you’ve identified a company you want to pitch, find the right person to target.

For example: If I want to work with Fabletics, I wouldn’t start drafting an email to celebrity founder Kate Hudson (do you even think she checks her email?), nor would I target a staff writer.

Find your target: For most industries, the Marketing Manager, Marketing Director, or Director of Content are good targets.

2. Connect with your prospect

Once you find a potential client, start looking for info to help you make a connection. Here’s how I go about it:

  • Take a few minutes to review your client’s LinkedIn profile, the company webpage, or social channels.
  • When you hit on something that resonates with you…make that the first sentence of your pitch email or letter of introduction.

For example: Restate a quote your prospect posts on Instagram. When I followed a gym franchise I wanted to write for, one of their Instagram posts was exactly the motivation I needed to hear that day. When I shared that in my pitch letter with the marketing director…BAM!…we connected.

3. Ask for the business

This is obvious, but if you skip this step, your efforts may be a total waste (kind of like working out with that gimmicky piece of exercise equipment).

Want to steal my wording? Permission granted.

Here’s a paragraph I use in almost every pitch letter:

It’s clear that your founders have had amazing success in taking their passion for XYZ and turning it into a business. And that no doubt involved a ton of ABC, XYZ, and content marketing. Do you hire freelance writers?

4. Position yourself as the writer in your niche

A custom intro is the most important part of any pitch letter. But you can hold your prospect’s attention longer if you can point to other niche client’s you’ve written for.

For example: Briefly list relevant companies and or articles you have written in you niche. Do NOT send links to your portfolio. Internet viruses are nasty. Think about it, would you click on a link from someone you don’t know.

If you don’t have niche experience, don’t sweat it. A well-written intro can help you break the ice with your prospect and build rapport. Be genuine and likeable, and you’ll be more likely to land assignments, even though you may not have a lot of experience.

5. Identify a need

Want to demonstrate your value to a potential client? Identify a hole in their current website or marketing. This could be things like:

  • Weak blog post headlines
  • A missing or incomplete About page
  • Lack of case studies
  • Staff or employee bios
  • SEO juice
  • Social channel suggestions to increase engagement
  • A better approach to email marketing
  • A missing blog or company news page

One you find something to improve on that could help your prospect, explain the benefits this could make for their bottom line. Here’s an example:

I noticed that the headlines for your blog could be tweaked to get more traffic to your site. Could you use some help with that? Here are a few headline ideas I have:

6. Finish it out with a strong call to action

Close your email with a call to action to get a conversation started. For example:

  • Can I send you some clips?
  • What upcoming projects do you need help with?
  • Would it make sense to set up a call?
  • Also, don’t forget to include the magic words: “If you aren’t the right person who handles content marketing, please forward to someone who is.”

So what does an effective pitch or letter of introduction look like? Here’s an example that earned me a response the same day:

Hi Dawn,

I admit when I’m short on time I have left my workout class before the final stretch.  Although this is often my favorite part, it’s the first to go when I’m short on time, and I always end up regretting it.  I hope your concept of assisted stretching spreads quickly to Northern California.

It’s clear that you’ve had amazing success in taking your passion for wellness and turning it into a business.  And that no doubt involved a ton of sweat, hard work, and content marketing.  Do you hire freelance writers?

I write click-worthy content to fuel the health and fitness industry.   My clients range from boutique gyms to leading activewear companies.

I noticed that Racked doesn’t have a press page.  Have you thought about creating one?  It’s one way to get you more free media coverage, by making it easy for reporters to learn about your business and contact you.

I would be happy to send you some examples of my work.  Let me know what you think. If you’re not the right person, appreciate your forwarding to the person who is.

Make it a great day,

Jen

Follow-ups: Are they worth your time?

You slave away on a batch of pitch letters, and then get nothing but crickets. Should you abandon those potential clients or follow up?

Here’s my theory on follow-ups: If a client takes the time to email me back, even if it’s to say, “Thanks, but no thanks,”  I will follow up.

Their response means I found the right person inside the company, and I can further the relationship.  And guess who they are going to think of next time they need a writer?

Strengthen your freelance marketing muscles to pitch clients

Consider this your six-step workout to strengthen your freelance marketing muscles to pitch clients.

Practice. Set a process goal to write X pitch letters a week. The more you master the process, the stronger your pitching skills will get. Then wash, rinse, and repeat until you’re fully booked.

Need help with freelance marketing to get clients? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Jen Theuriet is an activewear, fitness and skincare writer and content marketer. When she’s not pounding the keyboard, she can be found shredding the slopes or driving dance carpool.

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20 comments on “Freelance Marketing: Shape Up Your Pitch to Get More Writing Clients
  1. what would you use as a subject line for this? I read one blog (I think it was a guest post on Carol’s website) that said she’s tried “Introduction: Freelance Writer” to good success. What do you think?

    • Carol Tice says:

      That wouldn’t be me, but maybe a guest poster? I tend to use the headline of my proposed article or blog post. If I can’t grab their attention with that in a subject line, I probably don’t deserve to get hired!

      But I know others use “Freelance writer with a pitch for you” or equivalent. I wouldn’t use ‘introduction’ unless I was being referred by someone they knew. Hope that makes sense!

    • Jen Theuriet says:

      Hi Kristen,

      For the sample email above I would use: “Freelance Fitness Writer with an Idea for You” because I’m pitching a press page.

      Hope that helps.

  2. Ubai says:

    This piece is an excellent thought-provoking and actionable article.
    When I read it, it gave me a boost to get things done. It lays out a map to follow.
    Thanks for the inspiration when it was most needed.
    Best
    Ubai

  3. Rosalie Chang-Ko says:

    This article is indeed very helpful. I will be glad to receive free newsletter or article related to freelancing.

    Thanks

  4. Robin says:

    Hi Jen, great article except for the Linkedin part. It is not that easy to gain access to the information of the bosses out there, unless of course we have established a strong presence ourself in the same field as the executives. All the same, looking forward to more of you.

  5. Denzil says:

    Hello Jen,

    I must say this post has helped me think in a different line, especially for the introduction.

    Now I’m having a rough idea of what to include in my introduction.

    Many thanks!

  6. Leisa Pacifici says:

    Thank you for sharing!
    Best,
    Leisa

  7. Evan Jensen says:

    Hi Jen,

    Virtual fist bump. Nice job on this post.

    I know you worked through a bunch of edits, reviews, and critiques in the Freelance Writers Den to develop your own style for pitching prospects.

    It’s a great model for other freelancers to follow.

    Keep going.

    Evan

  8. Andreia says:

    Thanks for the great post as usual! I also needed to read that about follow-ups, it’s so true 🙂