If you’re a freelance writer for hire, the only way to ensure a regular income is to write a steady stream of pitch letters to potential clients. You may be trying out for website content services or looking for new private clients, but every time you pitch to a potential client, you’re making a first impression. From getting too personal to missing crucial details, here are some ways to write the worst pitch letter in the world.
- Get personal right away. Don’t bother with proper business form; that went out last century. A friendly, cheerful greeting such as “Hey there!” or simply :”Hi!” are all you need to start off your letter. Oh, and don’t bother to research the company to find out the editor’s name. They know who they are, and all that extra effort isn’t worth the time.
- Pitch the titles you write best, and don’t pay any attention to what’s come before in their publication. If most of their articles are casual, family-oriented advice, they’d probably love a formal op-ed piece on school finances. After all, you know what you do best. When you sign on to work with this client, they’ll make room for your work and adjust to your style.
- Give them a general idea about what the title will cover, but don’t let them in on all the little details. After all, if you give it all away at the start, they won’t be able to enjoy discovering how good your work is. Keep some of the crucial details back; you’ll impress them more this way once they read the article they ordered.
- Don’t bother explaining why you’re pitching to their magazine. You know your article on jump rope techniques is perfect for their fitness magazine. They don’t need you to figure out all the details about who the target audience would be, how it would fit with other titles or even what would be in the article. You can work all that out with your editor once you’ve signed the contract.
- Don’t justify yourself. You know what a great writer you are, and your pitch idea should be enough of a clue to your creative process. It’s really not important what work you’ve done before in this genre; after all, the past is the past. It doesn’t really matter how much you’ve written in this genre before. After all, can’t any good writer write about any subject? You have a great topic to pitch, and they’d be missing out if they passed on the opportunity to publish it.
- Never offer credentials. You don’t have to play that name-dropping game; your talent is enough to get you in. Don’t bother mentioning other magazines or websites you’ve published articles in and don’t offer to send any clips or links to your previous work.
Pitch letters are an art form, and one that takes time and practice to master. If you want new clients and better income, you can get creative with your pitch, but never forget the basics.
Victoria B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.