Freelance Writing Advice

How-to Pitch Your First Private Freelance Writing Clients


The process of finding clients for your freelance business can be arduous and time consuming. Without proper guidance, it can be very difficult to figure out the best ways to find paying clients. When I first started out as a freelance writer, cold emails were a frequent part of my marketing process. To make sure your effort is not wasted, pay close attention to the following guidelines for pitching your next content writing client via email.

Find The Ideal Contact

Before we get started, here is a template that I use to track down the best person to contact for the highest chance of landing a paying client. Generally, you want to try your best to get in touch with a marketing director, creative officer, or other content related role. If these options are not available, try to get in touch with the public relations department.

Hi [Name],

I’m hoping to get some guidance around who handles [aspect of business related to your product] for [Prospect’s Company]. I also reached out to [Name 1], [Name 2] and [Name 3] in this pursuit.

My company, [Company Name], specializes in [value proposition that includes concrete results].

If it makes sense to talk, I’d love to share some ideas about [Prospect’s Company]. If not, who is the appropriate person to speak to?



Writing Your Email

  • Open with a relatable statement mentioning your appreciation of the company’s current content. Explain who you are, briefly, and attach a link to your blog. Briefly state why the article you propose fits into the site well.
  • Be sure to include the names of people who may be involved with creating content for the website. This information can easily be found via social media. (Another note: make sure to take note of the editor’s gender. You wouldn’t want to make the mistake of calling a Ms. a Mr. That would tragic.)
  • Include a subtle compliment to the editor/owner about the overall quality of the company/blog you are pitching. Make sure you aren’t brown nosing. This is important, as you don’t want to look like a suck-up. Nobody wants to work with a yes-man.
  • Make sure to express the value in hiring you to write for their blog. They could hire a high schooler to write, but they chose to hire you because you are capable of generating the results they need. See? Its that easy.

Follow the Directions Explicitly

The directions are there for a reason. If you don’t follow the guidelines for a simple pitch, what makes you think an editor would trust you to properly adhere to guidelines for the projects they assign you? If there are no guidelines available, use common sense.

Find Your Niche

Sending irrelevant samples to some publications may turn them off to hiring you. In the beginning, you will have to mostly rely on strong general samples, once you have a portfolio of clips you will have to target them specifically to the niche you are proposing to.

Take the Time To Review Your Pitch Regularly

Even though you will be sending pitches to new clients, they will eventually start to feel stale for you. Make sure you update the approach you use in your pitch as time goes on. This will ensure that you don’t bore prospects to death with dated formatting and samples.

Attach Published Samples When Possible

I almost put that header in caps. Attachments of word files are just the worst. Avoid it when it becomes an option for you — which should be immediately. Using a full link (no hyperlinks) that will send a prospect to a published page of your work will be a lot more effective in drawing them into valuing your worth as a writer.

Keep Track of Every Pitch

An excel spreadsheet or similar software works perfectly for keeping track of relevant information for pitches you have out in the ether. This is a give or take, but I like to keep this record in case the prospect mentions information that I cannot recall or I have a deadline to make a response. There are other reasons, but simply put; you can never be too organized.

The information I always keep track is:

  • The date you sent the pitch
  • The email address I sent it to
  • The name of the company or website I’m pitching to
  • The status of the pitch (Response, idle, etc)
  • Any comments or relevant information

Get To Work

The law of averages assumes that the more encounters you have, the more likely you are to achieve your desired result. Basically, the more proposals you send out, the more likely you are to land that awkward phone interview and first writing gig. If not daily, you should be drafting pitches and researching new clients as often as possible. If you think you don’t have time, find some. Pitching is the lynchpin in your success.

No Clients = No Money

Build Quality Relationships

Doing respectable work is only one factor that qualifies the value you offer as a writer. The quality of the interactions you have with clients and prospects will be decisive in determining whether a prospect will be willing to work with you in the future.

Set Goals

If you are aiming for something, the chances that you’ll hit the target are a lot higher. This is common sense. So if you opt to just send pitches when you can, by the end of the month you may find yourself struggling to make ends meet. Setting goals amplifies your chances of success in anything, use this to your advantage with your pitching and proposals as well.

Don’t Be Picky (at first)

There may be a million fish in the sea, but until you catch a few it will be hard to be selective with your choice of client. Don’t waste your time with clients who aren’t willing to pay your rate, but you must be willing to step out of your comfort zone. You can’t be afraid that you aren’t good enough to pitch certain clients. Follows these steps closely and you will be on your way to landing that first client in no time.

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