Smart Tips for Cold Pitching Get More Freelance Work

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 getting 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 whom you have existing relationships).

But if you want to grow your freelance business, it is a necessary step.

free pitch templates

Wondering how to craft a cold pitch? I have four pitch templates for you! These are free downloads but you’ll need a password to access them in my resource library. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password.

Once you’re in the resource library navigate to the freelancing section and look for “Pitch Templates.”

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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.

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Here’s a quick three-step cold pitching 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).

networking tips for introverted writers

By the way, I have some elevator pitch templates in available for download my resource library! You’ll need a password to access the free library so pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send it to you.

Once you’re in the resource library navigate to the freelancing section and look for “Elevator Pitch Templates.”

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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 targeting 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.

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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.

How to Write Great and Persuasive Marketing Copy

Writing persuasive marketing copy is both art and science. And takes creativity and skill! But before you get intimidated by the idea of crafting compelling content that motivates people to take action let’s break it down.

How to Write Great and Persuasive Marketing Copy

Engaging copy not only works for inspiring action, but it adds to a great SEO web. The question is, how do you write such great copy?

Solid copywriting can be boiled down to a few basics including style, tone, angle and, of course, target audience.

How to write persuasive marketing copy

Here are a few ways to write start writing persuasive marketing copy.

conversational writing

A big part about writing effective copy is understanding who you’re writing to and connecting with them.

Essentially this means you’re figuring out what you want them to do, what they want to hear and how that message should be delivered.

So, even before your copy begins to take shape, you should have your audience’s persona in mind.

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Copywriting is writing that sells

Here’s the most important thing you need to remember about copy. Copy sells. Anything else is content.

Now, the word “sell” doesn’t always have to mean money, sometimes you’re selling your reader on an idea or a brand or even the hint of a concept.

The point is, there has to be a sell. A call to action. A “buy this,” or “do that,” or “click here.”

Before you begin to write, ask yourself who it is for and what you’re trying to achieve. Once you answer these questions, you can put your copy in the proper perspective and sell it well. That, my friend, is the nuts and bolts of writing persuasive copy.

Persuasive marketing copy Differentiates between benefits and features

When you’re selling something, you often think of the features. However, when you’re buying something you’re looking at the benefits. How will this product or service solve a problem for you? How will it meet a need? When writing copy, think about the reader, your buyer. The best copy knows how to differentiate between benefits and features and keep the main thing the main thing.

Keep it simple

Many early career writers feel like they need to write using big words and formal language so they can impress their readers. The truth? More often than not you end up alienating people that way. Be relatable. Be friendly. Keep it simple.

Writing persuasive marketing copy is both art and science. And takes creativity and skill! But before you get intimidated by the idea of crafting compelling content that motivates people to take action let's break it down.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets (like the worksheet from today’s training!) 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.

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7 Essential Freelance Writer Website Elements

What are the essential freelance writer website elements? If you’re a freelance writer, do you even need a website?

Seven essential freelance writer website elements

Essential freelance writer website elements

Around the Internet I see a lot of advice and tips for author websites but I don’t see much out there to help freelance writers.

Why oh why are we left out? Don’t worry. I’m here to help. Here are seven essential freelance writer website elements. Oh, and three things.

Freelancer Positioning Worksheet

Have you checked out my resource library yet? I have a great training for freelance writers I think will help you sort out what to put on your website!

This exercise is meant to help you break positioning down into four areas: who you best serve (ideal client), what makes you different in the eyes of your ideal client, why that difference matters and what you do.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. Just pop your email into the form below and I’ll send it to you! Once you’re there, navigate to the freelancing section and look for “Freelancing Positioning Worksheet.”

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*back to the training*

First things first, you need it. Every freelance writer needs a website. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

A website is the most critical tool in your freelance writing marketing arsenal. It’s available on-demand, year-round and is the one place you have complete control over what the message is.

You want and need a website. (Which is why we’re going after the freelance writer website elements today.)

Next. There’s a common idea that social networks can replace a website—that’s where your readers and clients are anyway.

But here’s the thing. You don’t own the platform and you can’t control the message. You can add to the conversation, yes. And I think you should be social networking.

However, you don’t want all your eggs in the social media basket. It could go away at any time, and then what?

freelancer website elements

One more thing

Set goals for your website. Yes, I’m talking about S.M.A.R.T. Goals and yes, you need to set some.

  • What’s the primary goal of your website?
  • What do you want people to do when they land on your site?
  • Who do you want to see your writing website?

When you know what your goal is, you will know how to build it to help you achieve your freelance-writing goals.

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Let’s get into it. What are the essential freelance writer website elements?

Less is more here

  1. Clear name. Look at your website. Is your name visible? Anywhere? Make it visible. If you write under a business name you can use that one, but make sure it’s easy to spot and read
  2. About page. This could be called something similar (bio, the company, meet your expert, experience, who I am, my story, profile, ETC.) and it should be on its own web page on your site
  3. Information about your products, services, or portfolio. Or all three. I have lots to say about portfolios (they drive me crazy…they’re out of date so fast in the freelance fast lane!) but I’ll refrain till further notice. Include as many links as you can to recent work and/or merchandise
  4. Social media icons. Do you have a few favourites? (I know I do.) Link to them and give your avid fans a chance to connect with you
  5. Contact page. Yup. You need to let people know how to get in touch with you. How do you want them to contact you? List that information in a clear and visible manner
  6. Email newsletter signup. Even if you don’t have anything to send, start an email list. Do it. You want to keep in touch with people who want to stay in touch with you (by the way, here are some great email marketing tips)
  7. Blog. I mean, I think you should have a blog. But I’ll leave it at the bottom so you know it’s not the first thing you do. Nothing allows your sparkling personality to come through like a blog. I don’t know what it is about the medium, but it WORKS! It serves as your pre-portfolio and helps you improve your writing. Oh, but you do need to keep it updated

Do you have freelance writer website elements to add? I’d love to hear about them!

What should a freelance writer website look like? Why do you even need a website? What are the essential freelance writer website elements anyway?

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.

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What should a freelance writer website look like? Why do you even need a website? What are the essential freelance writer website elements anyway?
What should a freelance writer website look like? Why do you even need a website? What are the essential freelance writer website elements anyway?

Literary Citizenship and Why the Writing World Desperately Needs It

Literary citizenship is a fancy term for forming professional networking relationships.

Literary Citizenship and Why Writers Need It

Maybe it’s fancy because it’s literary.

Or maybe it’s a jargony-industry term but I had no idea what this was until a few months ago.

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Literary citizenship

First of all, this isn’t a new term. I just didn’t know it. I learned about it when I read Jane Friedman’s book The Business of Being a Writer.

She talks about it as a platform-building tool (a key aspect of book marketing these days) and how some in the MFA/literary community are against it.

Their beef? Some writers and authors believe literary citizenship to be a scheme.

You know, by traditional publishers to get authors to do all of their own marketing.

While this may be true to some extent, it’s also a hard reality of the industry.

  • Yes, publishers used to help more with marketing than they do now
  • Yes, many publishers require non-fiction authors to have massive platforms or name recognition
  • And yes, it’s a tough slog. Deal with it

Although I didn’t know the term “literary citizenship” I certainly learned about it early in my freelance career. I just called it different names.

  • Things like “investing in relationships”
  • Or, “finding ways to help people”
  • And “becoming a part of the community”

And while there is of course balance needed in doing your own work and supporting other writers and outlets, it has been the key to my freelance writing growing the way it has.

Literary Citizenship and Why the Writing Industry Needs It

Approach your writing career with an abundance mindset

One reason I love this idea is because it approaches the writing industry with a collaborative attitude, rather than a competitive one.

By practicing literary citizenship you’re, in essence, saying, “I’m not threatened by other writers finding success, in fact I’m happy to support them on their journey!”

An abundance mindset is when we look at other writers and authors with an “there is enough space for everyone” attitude.

This approach believes whether it’s money, publishing deals, readers or clients, the pie is big enough to go around.

Litearary citizenship gives us a chance to engage in a positve way with likeminded people and grow in our craft.

When we look at others with a scarcity mindset then we will hold back from connecting or helping. We perceive every success as something stolen from us and every interaction will be combative and negative.

No writer is an island. We need each other.

Freelancer Positioning Worksheet

By the way, if you’re looking to up-level your freelance game, I’ve created a worksheet to help you work through some important questions.

Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password for my free resource library.

When you’re there, navigate to the freelancing category and download the “Freelancer Positioning Worksheet.”

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How to practice literary citizenship

There are many ways to practice literary citizenship. In general you want to find ways to support the outlets you want to see your work showcased in and the writers in that community.

For some people this means joining a professional association or writing group and volunteering their time by running programs or mentoring writers further behind in the journey.

For others it means writing book reviews and posting them on their website.

Literary citizenship for me largely means sharing writing job opportunities, writing contests and helpful articles written by freelance writers on Twitter.

The big idea behind literary citizenship is the aphorism “a rising tide lifts all boats.” It’s about contributing to and supporting your community and remembering no one is alone in the writing world.

Find ways to be generous, approach the industry with an abundance mindset and treat others the way you would like to be treated.

Literary citizenship is a fancy term for forming professional networking relationships. Maybe it's a jargony-industry term but it's a great tip for writers!

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 I 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.

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Literary citizenship is a fancy term for forming professional networking relationships. Maybe it's a jargony-industry term but it's a great tip for writers!

Writing Contests | 8 Reasons Why You Should Enter

Entering writing contests is good practice for writers. And the cash prizes and publication are nice too.

Writing Contests

Contests and why you should consider entering

While you may not feel like you have time to be dallying around entering writing contests there are some good reasons to do so, aside from money and publication.

Although enter writing contests for money and publication are, like, great reasons.

  • First, if it’s the right contest, it can give you exposure to your future agent, editor or publisher
  • Second, writing to deadline and according to a set of guidelines keeps you sharp
  • Third, if you win you can say “award-winning writer” on stuff. I mean, isn’t that worth the entry fee alone?
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Of course there are scams out there so you do need to vet each contest and check things like the rules and who’s judging.

You also want to make sure the entry fee is reasonable and you’re not signing away all your rights by entering the contest.

But once you feel like it’s on the up-and-up then enter with abandon!

Brainstorm Ideas for Writing Worksheet free download

Want to enter writing contests but stuck on ideas? I have an exercise for that!

Pop your email address into the form below and I’ll send you the password for my resource library where you can download the free fillable worksheet and watch the companion training video.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the writing section and look for “How to Brainstorm Ideas for Writing Worksheet.”

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Where to find writing contests for money and more

Here are a few of my favourite stops when looking for new writing contests to enter.

Poets & Writers

Poets & Writers has a searchable database of writing contests, which includes any creative writing contests they’ve published in their magazine during the past year. These contests are vetted before being entered into the database so it’s a trustworthy resource.

The Writer

The Writer is a wealth of resources for writers and keeps an up-to-date contest listing on their website. You can even join their mailing lists where they’ll send the contest details to you so you don’t miss a thing.

Submishmash Weekly

Submittable has a great weekly roundup of publishing and journalism news (called Submishmash Weekly) and, of course, up-to-date contest listings. I find a lot of great opportunities here.

Writer’s Digest contests

Writer’s Digest has an updated contest listing for any Writer’s Digest Contest. They’re listed from soonest submission deadline to latest and cover a wide range of writing contests

Canadian writing contests

If you’re looking for Canadian writing contests Heather McLeod has a nice roundup of listings organized by date. These are recurring contests so check the links for updated details

CBC Books

Speaking of Canadian writing contests, CBC Books also put together a guide to writing prizes for Canadians. Organized into fiction, non-fiction and poetry, there are tons of recurring contests listed and this is a post worth bookmarking.

Writers Write

Writers Write has a small list of upcoming contests for fiction and poetry writers. Listings go till the end of the year so it’s worth checking out.

Reedsy writing contests

Reedsy has a robust contest search, which is updated each week. Search by genre, location and sort by entry fee or prize money.

Writing Contests | 8 Reasons Why You Should Enter

I hope you can find awesome writing contests to enter this year! But if checking out websites is still too much to ask I have one more place you can go to find great contests—I’ve created a Writing Jobs and Contests Twitter List.

All you have to do is follow the list and check it every now and then.

I mean, you’re on Twitter, right?

While you may not feel like you have time to be dallying around entering writing contests there are some good reasons to do so, like money and publication.

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
While you may not feel like you have time to be dallying around entering writing contests there are some good reasons to do so, like money and publication.
While you may not feel like you have time to be dallying around entering writing contests there are some good reasons to do so, aside from money and publication. First, if it's the right contest, it can give you exposure to your future agent, editor or publisher. Second, writing to deadline and according to a set of guidelines keeps you sharp. Third, if you win you can say "award-winning writer" on stuff. I mean, isn't that worth the entry fee alone?