Cold Pitching To Get Clients Fast

Cold pitching is not magic and it takes hard work but it’s also not as scary or intimidating as it seems once you get going. Here are a few tips for geting this strategy up and running.

Cold Pitching To Get Clients Fast

In case you’re not familiar with this term, in the freelance world, “cold pitching” is what happens when you email or call strangers hoping to get work. This can be overwhelming at first and requires a different strategy than reaching out to warm leads (people with whome you have existing relationships). But if you want to grow your freelance business, it is a necessary step.

Cold pitching to get clients fast

I see a lot of freelancer posts in networking groups talking about how they’re tired of searching job boards for a decent opp paying a reasonable rate or sick of pitching magazine and newspaper stories that don’t pay well.

They’re feeling frustrated and stuck but they don’t know where to look for those niche clients who pay well.

The fastest way I know how to make money as a freelance writer is to pitch companies with marketing budgets. Yes, you can also pitch publications but the turnaround time is longer. And you can also sit back and hope your website will earn you passive ad income or affiliate sales or whatever else, and that’s fine too. But it’s a long game. And if you need money now, it’s not a great short-term strategy.

Bonus tip: For freelance writers searching for stable corporate clients, LinkedIn may be their shining beacon of hope.

Cold pitching companies is also a better, quicker strategy than responding to posts on job boards or prospecting on a freelancer bidding site. For starters, in these places the competition is fierce and often, because of the large pool of willing writers, the pay is low.

Here’s a quick three-step strategy to get you going

If you’re ready to make this a part of your regular prospecting, schedule one to two hours per day for cold pitching. Some of this time will be research and some will be emailing. Trust me, you’ll need all of the time.

  1. Research. Search for and make a list of marketing and advertising agencies. You can use Google, LinkedIn, local directories, etc.
  2. Find a specific email address. Look for someone like a marketing manager or communications director, someone who would be an actual contact and do your best to find their real email address (rather than “info” or “contact”)
  3. Send a cold pitch. Also known as a query or letter of inquiry (LOI), send a short email asking if the company works with freelance writers

If you get a “yes, we do work with freelance writers,” then you can continue the conversation by letting them know who you are and how you can help them (this is where an elevator pitch comes in handy).

Two extra tips. They may ask for samples or portfolio links, have them ready to send (another option is having your LinkedIn profile optimized and sending that link, totally acceptable!). It’s possible they’d like references—have a couple ready to go, previous clients who can vouch for your work and character.

Like I said before, this will all seem scary and intimidating until you get the hang of it. Cold pitching can be terrifying if you overthink it. And yes, you’ll experience rejections, although many won’t respond at all, and that’s OK. It’s all part of the process.

Here are a few more ways to increase your odds of getting to “yes” from cold pitching

  • Warm up the connection as much as possible. Find common ground wherever possible, like a mutual connection or membership in the same organization
  • Send cold pitches to companies that look like they’ll need your services. Rather than shooting a buck shot, try targetting your pitches to places where it makes sense and your skills match
  • Narrow your search by thinking local rather than global. You’re trying to get quick pickups here, so look for places that likely aren’t getting as much pitching
  • Keep your email short and to the point. In your first outreach your goal is to get a response to begin a conversation. That’s it.

Once you get into this prospecting strategy, you’ll realize you need a tracking system and a follow-up system. In fact, following up is one of the most important pieces. How many times have you intended to respond to an email and just let it get away from you? A short, polite follow up is sometimes all it takes to prompt that positive response.

If you’re ready for it, here’s a great three-step follow-up system from Jennifer Goforth Gregory.

Other articles you may enjoy

Cold pitching is not magic and it takes hard work but it's also not as scary or intimidating as it seems once you get going.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

Get Noticed by Influencers on Twitter Using Lists

Using lists on Twitter is one of the best ways to get noticed by influencers (or anyone really). Serious! Here is a quick overview and tutorial plus best practices.

Get Noticed by Influencers on Twitter Using Lists

Get noticed by influencers on Twitter using lists

I know some users are freaked out by lists (why is someone adding me to a list? I don’t know them!). And I know others have had negative experiences with lists (they can be used for evil as well as for good). Howver, when used properly, Twitter lists are a wonderful resource and can help you grow your platform.

This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about the reasons freelancers, writers and freelance writers should use Twitter or lists so I won’t get into the sales pitch. Today I want to review a specific technique for getting on the radar of people you would like to meet.

I love this technique mostsly because it’s not creepy. It’s intentional, definitely, but not creepy.

The technique

I first learned this technique, and about Twitter lists, from Alexis Grant. She suggests creating a private “Notice-Me List” on Twitter and adding people who you want to notice you. Simple, right? I’m still using lists like this today and find them QUITE helpful.

Here’s the jist: create a private list on Twitter, figure out whose radar you want to get on to or who you want to meet and add their handles to the list. Make sure to pay attention to this list, and the tweets, and interact with tweets/people as it makes sense.

Wondering how to interact with tweets? Here are a few ideas.

  • Retweet tweets your followers would be interested in
  • Jump in on a conversation if you have something valuable to add
  • Are they asking for help? Can you help? Be helpful!
  • Be a literary citizen as much as possible (or in this case, a good Twitter citizen)

What not to do

  • Don’t be desperate. No begging for attention, no DMing and no trying too hard (be cool!)
  • Avoid asking for things. Don’t ask people to check out your website or if they hire freelancers (or asking for favours in general—you’re doing the favours here)
  • Don’t overdo it. Yes pay attention to the people on your list but try not to retweet every tweet or tag them too much. You want to get their attention in a positive way, a way that makes them want to check out your profile and perhaps follow you. If you overdo it you’ll just annoy them and end up blocked

Pretty simple, right? Figure out who you want to connect with on Twitter, then pay attention to their tweets, then be helpful/useful/fun/valuable. They may notice you, they may not. It may take a while, be patient. They may never @reply to you, that’s OK. But at some point, someone will start a conversation with you. They’ll be curious about who you are and what you’re about. Be ready.

And that’s how to get noticed on Twitter! Straightforward, right? While it may sound too simple to work I’ve practiced this technique for the past five years and I’m living proof that it works.

Using lists on Twitter is one of the best ways to get noticed by influencers (or anyone really). Here is a quick overview and tutorial + best practices.

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

Brand Your Blog A Step-by-Step Guide

Want to brand your blog? Here are the things you’ll need to think about, decide upon, and commit to if you want your branding to be solid. They’re not hard, but you do need to make some choices, which will affect your future. No pressure.

Brand Your Blog A Step-By-Step Guide

Do you want the worksheet that goes with this training?

I’ve created a worksheet to complement this training, available for download. This is a free resource but it’s part of my resource library and you’ll need a password. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below. Then once you’re in the library look for the worksheet called “Brand Elements.”

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

Brand Your Blog: A Step-By-Step Guide

I have blogged for a long time. I don’t know if any of you have followed for the entire journey (like…more than a decade) but if you have you may be aware of a few domain changes, a blog merge, a big old switch from Blogger to WordPress, and then a rebrand. This is where we are today. Post rebrand.

OK, so there are loads of reasons why I’ve made these decisions along the way. Some strategic, some necessary, some whims but the rebrand was the most important move I made. The reason? I needed to. I was a casual lifestyle blogger from start and I wanted to transition into a professional writer. My blog brand (or lack thereof) was holding me back. Was I doing anything wrong? No. But I needed to make a change.

Elements of a Brand

Branding is an interesting science mixed with art but there are consistent elements when you’re looking to brand your blog. These are all things you’ll need to think about, decide upon, and commit to if you want your branding to be solid.

  • Memorable name (not clever)
  • An easy-to-remember (and spell) URL
  • Tagline (what you do and who you serve)
  • Colour palette
  • Branded graphics (like a logo)
  • Consistent fonts and image use
  • Writing voice
  • Blog topics and keywords
  • Publishing schedule

Do you want the worksheet that goes with this training?

I’ve created a worksheet to complement this training, available for download. This is a free resource but it’s part of my resource library and you’ll need a password. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below. Then once you’re in the library look for the worksheet called “Brand Elements.”

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

When I knew I needed a rebrand I put it off for a while. I was overwhelmed. There were so many decisions to make and I didn’t know what the right choices were. Or even if there were right choices. I hummed and hawed over all the details and then I reached a decision: I needed help. So I got help. I hired a graphic designer who could help me bring my ideas to life. It was a huge relief to have some of the load off my shoulders and once that decision was made, the rebrand happened in a couple months.

Here’s what I outsourced: colour pallet, logo design, font choices, and template design. This allowed me to focus on the foundation of my brand and while I was still part of the process, the load wasn’t so heavy.

This may not be the right decision for you but it was the right one for me.

Why do you want to brand your blog?

A brand lets people know who you are and what you do. Readers new to your site will only stay if you make it easy. If they have to think then they’ll leave. If they’re confused they’ll leave. By having a clear brand, readers will know what to expect. If they like what you do, they’ll stick around. They may even subscribe to your email list.

You might not want to brand your blog. You might not have to—it depends what your blogging goals are. Do you have goals? Why are you blogging?

If you need help setting goals, here’s a good place to start.

And here are a few goal ideas.

  • Gain more website traffic
  • Gain more email subscribers
  • Meet and network with other bloggers/influencers
  • Earn revenue
  • Increase personal expertise
  • Increase platform

If it helps, here are a few of my goals.

  • First, I want people to think of me as a professional writer
  • I want my website to look and feel professional at a glance
  • By keeping a blog I will demonstrate my writing skills
  • I want my website and blog to get me freelance work.
  • Long-term goals include growing my platform, getting an agent and publishing a book with a traditional publisher

No pressure, right?

What you need to know

Before you brand your blog there are some other things you need to know, unrelated to branding. However, if you don’t know these things then your branding efforts may be in vain.

  • Your target audience
  • What problem are you solving for your target audience?
  • Your blog’s focus (also called a niche…what do you write about?)
  • Your email opt-in (yes you need one)

I know this seems a bit out of order but I know people love jumping into the “fun” stuff first. You know, the logo and colour palette. So I covered them first. But I hope you understand making these larger, cornerstone decisions are what will allow your brand to communicate to your target audience in the way you intend.

How it has gone for me

Since my blog rebrand I have grown into the design. It didn’t fit me right away. I felt like it was too flashy and self-important. It took some getting used to it.

I also had to retrain myself to write about my five chosen topics. This was a huge restriction compared to my previous anything goes approach. So I went slow. And I stalled while battling self-doubt and insecurity.

And then I went for it. I made a plan, I set goals (and spoke them aloud) and I grew into my brand. Is it working? Well, I’m on the way. I’m sticking to the plan and I’m seeing some results. Do I have a book deal? Still working on it.

Ready to brand your blog? Let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to help.

Want to brand your blog? Here are the nine things you'll need to think about, decide upon, and commit to if you want your branding to be solid.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
Want to brand your blog? Here are the things you'll need to think about, decide upon, and commit to if you want your branding to be solid.

Overcome the Fear of Marketing Yourself | 3 Tips

Are you wondering how to overcome your fear of marketing? Or perhaps you’re wondering if you need to market since you have such a strong aversion to it? Here’s the truth: if you want to make money from your writing, you do need to embrace marketing.

Overcome the Fear of Marketing Yourself | 3 Tips

Building relationships and telling stories

The good news is, marketing isn’t as scary as you think it is. Serious! I know we get all spinny about the concept of pitching ourselves but at its core, marketing is building relationships and telling stories. Good marketing is crafting those stories for a specific person, a person who wants exactly what you’re offering.

Afraid of Marketing? Fearful of promoting yourself? The best way I know how to overcome the fear of marketing yourself is to focus on helping people and to weave in stories.

Your marketing efforts are most effective when you have a consistent strategy targeted at your ideal clients, readers or customers. When these are aligned you won’t feel like you’re marketing, just connecting with likeminded souls.

Three tips for overcoming your fear of marketing

There are many reasons people feel afraid of promoting themselves or their freelance business and some of them are justified. Will you be rejected? Very probably. It’s part of the game. Will people criticise you? Yeah, they will. Will you fail? Maybe, yes. These things all could and probably will happen. But you don’t have to let it hold you back.

Tip 1: In order to be an effective marketer you need to identify your fears and move past imposter syndrome. Much of our fear is rooted in our mindset and worst-case scenarios. To thrive as a freelance writer (or any kind of freelancer, entrepreneur or small business owner), it’s important to accept our strengths and weaknesses, understand who we serve and what we bring to the table and push forward with confidence—even if we don’t have all the answers.

Tip 2: Worried you’ll be seen as a spammer? Then don’t be a spammer. Be genuine, offer real value, build relationships and be a human. If you’re only connecting with people in order to ask for or get something from them then you’re doing it wrong. The key here? Make real connections but don’t avoid promoting yourself when the timing is right. Find a tactful way to weave it into your interactions.

Bonus: Here are three marketing ideas for writers who hate marketing

My final tip for overcoming your fear of marketing

Tip 3: Focus on the benefits working with you brings to your clients. Take a little time to figure out why your ideal customers or clients would want to do business with you. What do you bring to the table? If you can get clear on this, you’ll have a much easier time prospecting and reaching out to clients. Articulate the problem you’re ideal clients have, how you can help them and what the benefits of working with you are.

And remember, you don’t need to know everything about your topic or be the world’s leading expert in your niche. You just need to be a couple steps ahead of your clients.

An example from my life

Most of my professional marketing experience comes from the non-profit world where I hear a lot about how people are afraid to ask for money. In a lot of ways fundraising parallels marketing and even sales. Reaching out and asking for something from someone who might say no (or, worse yet, will be offended at your asking!) is scary.

But here’s the thing, when you have a wonderful service or product or cause you have a duty to let people know about it. If it will benefit them in any way, they have a right to know. Sure, they may turn down your request, that’s their decision to make. Your job as the marketer (or fundraiser, or sales person) is to let them know about it. That’s all.

If you can’t stand behind the product, service or organization you’re pitching then this is a different problem, one I’m not dealing with today. But if you do believe in what you’re selling then it’s time to move past your fear of marketing and jump ahead in your business.

Need a bit more? Rachel wrote a great article on this topic I think you’ll love.

Are you wondering how to overcome your fear of marketing? Or perhaps you're wondering if you need to market since you have such a strong aversion to it? Here's the truth: if you want to make money from your writing, you do need to embrace marketing.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

Pinterest Tips for Freelance Writers

It took a long time in my writing journey before I asked a fellow blogger for some Pinterest tips. Now that I understand the platform? PURE MAGIC.

Pinterest Tips for Freelance Writers: Marketing, Promotion, Research

I don’t know why I hesitated other than it didn’t seem like a fit and I didn’t get it. Other bloggers love Pinteret. Like SO much. But since I don’t keep a lifestyle blog, I didn’t think there was any point. I mean, isn’t it just recipes and make-up tutorials?

NOPE.

My perspective shifted after I met Shawna, a minimalist blogger and life coach over at Simple on Purpose. She shared about how her business and blog took off after one Pin went viral.

ONE. PIN.

So when the opportunity came, I asked Shawna to review my profile and give me Pinterest tips to improve my sad attempt at…what was I trying to do anyway? She obliged and provided me with a report FILLED with suggestions. It was 1,000 words long, I counted.

Yes, I had my work cut out for me, and it was just the beginning.

My Pinterest mindset shift

I’ll spare you the details of how much spring cleaning I had to do on my Pinterest account. Suffice to say it would have been easier to start from scratch. Because I didn’t know what I was doing I hadn’t done anything right.

Up until this point I had looked at Pinterest as somewhere to go when you’re looking for costume ideas or DIY projects. But that’s a Pinterest consumer. A Pinterest content creator looks at the platform in a different way.

A content creator looks at the platform and creates appropriate Pins by pairing visually-appealing vertical images with pleasing fonts and a keyword-optimized description. But she doesn’t stop there.

A good content creator also develops a visual brand to stand out from the Pinterest noise and restrains her public pinning to the topics she writes about.

Here’s the most important thing you need to understand: Pinterest is not a social network, it’s a search engine.

Searching for content on Pinterest is a wonderful exercise but Pins also show up as results on all other search engines.

Did you catch that?

If your content is performing well on Pinterest, it may also show up as an image search result in Google.

It then follows that being active and pinning the right content on Pinterest will increase your reach and bring your ideal clients to you.

Pinterest tips for freelance writers

OK, let’s dive in. I’m going to focus on the basics of setting up your Pinterest profile and pinning as a freelance writer. You can go deep with Pinterest strategy and I’ll be honest, I’m not there yet. While I’m happy with the results I’m seeing from Pinterest, I’m still finding my footing.

What I am certain of is Pinterest is a fabulous marketing tool that many freelance writers overlook. Because most freelancers are investing their marketing time elsewhere, this is a great opportunity to maximize your return on Pinterest.

When you’re ready to use Pinterest for promoting your freelance writing business start with your profile

  • Does your user name/handle reflect your business? If not change it
  • Is your profile photo an image of you? If not update it
  • Does your “about me” description talk about what you do and who you serve? If not, rewrite it
  • Are your boards named using keywords related to your business or your niche? Update the ones you can and set the others to secret
  • Have you included a link to your website? If not add it

Feeling ready to start Pinning?

Before you dive in, pinning images from across the Internet remember you are a content creator now. So it’s time to create pins for Pinterest.

Think about what your prospects or ideal readers are searching for on Pinterest. What are the words they’re using? What problems are they trying to solve? Think about what type of images they’ll be drawn to and the types of topics they’ll be interested in.

Brainstorming and researching may take some time but after you spend some time on the platform you’ll get a feel for how it works and which pins work best for your audience and why.

In general, you want to pin things your ideal clients will:

  • Be drawn to
  • Want to read
  • Find helpful
  • Repin
  • Pay attention to

This doesn’t have to be 100 per cent your own content but you should definitely work on adding as much as you can to the platform. Get your writing in circulation!

Pinterest Tips Pin Anatomy
This pin is from the post How to Create a Writing Schedule if you want to see it for yourself.

Pinterest tips: image size

The images that perform best on Pinterest are vertical, around 600 x 900 pixels. You can test the sizes out of course (and the rules do change from time to time) but in general, try and stick to vertical rather than horizontal images. If you JUST CANNOT then square images are also acceptable.

Pinterest tips: create your own Pinterest images using Canva

Creating images specifically for PInterset ensures your image will put its best foot forward on the platform.

  • Make sure to use a visually-pleasing image (light images tend to perform better than dark images)
  • Overlay branding elements like your website or logo
  • Include your main keywords as a text overlay on the image (and repeat your keywords in the description)
  • Bonus tip: enable rich pins (if you’re lost, check out the video below from Redefining Mom on how to do this)

One thing to consider is if you want to pin a lot then you may need to create more content on your website to link to. Another idea, pin your samples to a Pinterest board. Here’s my Writing Portfolio as an example. And yes, I’m customing-making most of those pins.

Even if you aren’t ready to pin you can still use Pinterest in a few interesting ways

  • Discover potential clients who are using the platform
  • Do keyword research using Pinterest search
  • Brainstorm pitch ideas by finding topics related to your niche

I know I already said this but I just think Pinterest is such a great opportunity. So many writers overlook it because they don’t understand the platform or they don’t believe their prospects are there. But with 175 million users…there’s a good chance your ideal clients are at least somewhat active on Pinterest.

And wouldn’t it be great to show up as the answer to their question?

I think so!

It took a long time in my writing journey before I asked a fellow blogger for some Pinterest tips. I don't know why I hesitated other than it didn't seem like a fit. Now that I understand how to use it? MAGIC. Pinterest is revolutionizing my website and my opinion has changed. To say the least.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required