Perfecting your Pitch

A pitch can make or break your chance at getting put on a client’s love list. Yet sometimes you’ve got to scramble for something fast — or risk being left behind. Are there systems or strategies for best pitches that you can turn to in a time crunch? If you find you’re not getting work you believe you’re qualified for, how can you improve your pitch to land the assignment?

Evaluate Past Pitches

After finding myself in this position, I decided to work on my pitch. I’d always kept a list of brief, project-specific pitches. Now I combed back through them, checking to see which had netted me work and which had not. Those that worked once typically worked again when given to a client with similar needs. And those that hadn’t impressed once generally didn’t win again either. I abandoned the unsuccessful pitches and kept using language from successful pitches in instances where it seemed appropriate. As step one to perfect pitches, try combing through your past pitches to see what lessons you can learn from your hits and misses.

Familiarize Yourself with the Client

By looking over the website, blog, or newspaper where you hope to land the pitch, you’ll get an idea for the type of content it publishes. The style, voice, and subject matter should inform not only your pitch, but your finished work as well. Getting to know the client better can also inform your pitch. Whether you’re hoping to write slangy, arts-focused travel content or clean, focused technical articles, demonstrating your voice in the pitch helps impress the client.

Be Specific. Give Examples

The more specific you can be in your pitch, the clearer the client or editor can see your intent. If you were inspired by a blog post or newspaper article, don’t be afraid to include the link—then discuss how your takeaway will differ. Even if you don’t get the assignment, you’ll end up with a solid pitch you can take elsewhere. Or your vision could impress the client, leading to future assignments.

Lessons for Crunch Time

When time is of the essence, apply some of these lessons. You may not be able to review the target website, but you can use the language and buzzwords in the casting call to craft your content services pitch and draw from past pitches of similar content.

What Comes Next

After submitting that pitch, there’s not much to do but wait. If you’re lucky enough to land the assignment, congratulations! Remember to mark that pitch so you can use its language again. If the client passed, try pitching to other clients if it meets their needs. You may opt to write the piece anyway, either for your own blog or in hopes of publishing it elsewhere.

By applying these lessons to every pitch, you will begin crafting targeted pitches that hit the mark more often. If you have additional tips and tricks that help you pitch effectively, share them here.

Lindsey D is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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