You see an ad or casting call looking for content services in one of your niches. You type up a pitch, send it along, and wait. Nothing happens, or you get the dreaded “not interested” designation or a letter telling you thanks but no thanks. In most cases, it’s not them, it’s you –or at least, it’s your pitch. Potential clients are most likely getting a lot of pitches from writers daily. It’s up to you to write one that makes them take notice and hire you.
It sounds like common sense, but it’s something a lot of writers fail to do. Don’t assume the client will spend time looking your biography up online or will click through to your profile. That’s a surefire way to end up in the “no” pile quickly. Give them a short and sweet rundown of who you are and what your experience is. Even if you’ve worked with the client before, give them a quick refresher. They may know that you’re skilled in one area, but if you’re applying to a casting call for a different topic or pitching them about a new niche, they may not be sure what your qualifications are.
Familiarize Yourself With the Content
Give the website or publication a read through before submitting a pitch if you can. In many casting calls or ads for writers, the client will provide a link to their website. Going over the website will help you identify just what that website needs in terms of content and what’s already been covered.
Grab ‘Em with the First Sentence
You know that the first sentence of any content you write needs to be eye- and attention-catching. So why is the first sentence of your pitch so boring? Start off with something that makes a client say, hey, I want to read more. Try using a question or a short anecdote to get things rolling. For example, a eye-catching first sentence might ask a question about the idea you are pitching: “Why do people want to read more articles on personal finance?” The rest of the pitch should answer the questions.
Set Yourself Apart
When clients post casting calls, they get a lot of responses from a lot of qualified writers. Clients who post on Craiglist may be inundated with responses — and they don’t have much time to distinguish the high-quality, experienced candidates from those who cannot construct a coherent sentence.
As you create your pitch, think of the reason you are the best writer for the job. You may have experience writing about personal finance or a degree in business. You may have access to great sources and interview subjects as well. The pitch is the perfect time to tell about yourself — putting it in terms that express how your skills benefit the client.
Proofread and Ask for Advice
Never send a pitch, even a seemingly informal one, without giving it a read-through once or twice. Check for grammatical or spelling errors and remove chunky, superfluous phrases. Ask someone else to read your pitch. She should be able to tell you if the pitch is clear and attention getting or not.
Amy F is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.