If you’re a freelance journalist, you will pitch media outlets by writing a brief description of the article you want to write. If you’re a freelance web designer you might pitch small businesses by writing a brief description of the web design services you can provide.
A pitch is usually short, informal, and doesn’t mention price. The goal of a pitch is to get someone interested in what you do.
Warm Pitching Vs. Cold Pitching
When you contact former employers or people in your network, you are warm pitching. Warm pitching is a term I learned from fellow freelancers Elna Cain and Ariel Rule. Warm pitching means sending a pitch to someone you’ve built a relationship with OR someone who is actively seeking a freelancer, like clients on Upwork.
In a future post I’ll talk more about cold pitching, which means sending a pitch to someone you don’t have a relationship with and who hasn’t advertised for help. When you’re just starting out, I recommend that you start by warm pitching because warm pitches will usually land you more jobs. Warm pitches tend to be more successful because the client already knows you or is actively seeking a freelancer.
How do you write a great pitch?
Even when you send a warm pitch, you need to write a brief, compelling email to sell yourself and your service or product. Here are some universal tips for writing great pitches.
- Know your prospect.
If you’re going to help a client, you need to know who they are, what they do, and what problems they face. For example, if you’re a freelance journalist who wants to pitch an article for National Geographic, you need to read National Geographic so that you know exactly what kind of stories they print.
- Solve a problem that your prospect has.
As a freelancer, your job is to provide the exact solution for a problem your client has. Your prospective client might need great content for their blog, newspaper, or magazine. Your prospective client might need gorgeous photos of an event. Your prospective client might need a social media marketing plan to help them reach a bigger audience. A strong pitch will offer the solution.
To continue the example above, a freelance writer who is pitching National Geographic is solving a problem. National Geographic needs high-quality, well-researched articles that attract a specific audience of readers. The freelance writer who knows this will craft a pitch for an engaging story that matches the rest of the content published in the magazine.
- Keep it short and easy to read.
People are busy. Write enough to get your point across, but don’t overwhelm your prospect.
You should also make your pitch easy to read. Use a simple font in size 12 or 14. Use black text. Some email programs do not allow hyperlinks, so if possible, don’t include links in the text of your email. Ditto with attachments. The pitch is not the place for an attachment. The prospective client will tell you if she wants to see your resume or work samples.
Ready to see some examples? Here are two pitches I wrote, both of which landed me the job.
Examples of great pitches
Blog Post Pitch
In this email I pitched three potential blog posts to a blogger I follow. Why three ideas? I had read Gina’s “Write For Us” page, so I knew that’s what she wanted.
Freelance Assessment Writing Pitch
Here’s a pitch that landed me an ongoing freelance contract with an education company. Even though I’ve never worked with this company before, I consider it a warm pitch because the company advertised openings for freelance assessment writers.
These pitches both landed me paid work because…
- I knew my prospect.
- I clearly showed how I could solve a problem or deliver value.
- I did not waste their valuable time.
Have more questions about pitching? Ask in the comments below. I’ve been doing this for years, and I would love to talk strategy with you.