So article writers make a little less money than major league baseball players. Who cares? Our pitch is just as important. Consider these five facts when writing pitches or responding to casting calls:
1. Only respond to pitches for subjects you know or topics you love.
Can you write about other things? Sure,, you can. Shoot, you could write about the hidden dangers of sword swallowing if the pay is good. But the truth is, you will have the most success writing about the things that interest you. If you are bored, your reader will be too.
2. Keep your pitch short and to the point.
Clients’ brains go fuzzy with long paragraphs and needless points. You may have won a really impressive writing award in high school (and congrats on that!) but, if it doesn’t apply specifically to the pitch, don’t mention it. Tell the client only what pertains to the topic or lends credibility to the writer.
3. Make sure your pitch is free of mistakes.
It might be unfair, but nothing discredits a pitch like a spelling or grammatical error. Read it carefully. Write the pitch, go do something else, and come back to it. Read it backwards if necessary. Just make sure it’s right. The “perfect pitch” isn’t just for musicians anymore; it’s for article writers, too.
4. Don’t take it personally if a client rejects your idea.
The client isn’t rejecting you. (Let’s say it together: “The client isn’t rejecting me.”) It can feel that way — especially if you are putting your heart and soul into your work. The truth is, the client may like your writing and appreciate your idea. Maybe he needs something a little bit different for this particular assignment. Very often clients will come back and offer work to people who have pitched and been rejected previously. Rejected pitches are not wasted time.
5. Recycle your best content.
Clients don’t like plagiarism (Copyscape, blah, blah, blah), but you are free to reuse your pitch material. This may seem obvious, yet many writers get overwhelmed by the pitch process because they think they must start from square one every time. Consider submitting repeat pitches to similar topics, especially if it was turned down previously. Tweaking and re-submitting saves time, which for freelance writers, equals money.
Here’s the bottom line: This isn’t baseball, but with some pitching practice, you can hit a home run every time.
Trisha P is a wife, mom, writer, editor, and former water polo champ. (Seriously). She spent several years in the publishing business and now serves as social media coordinator for a New York Times bestselling author. In 2011, she published her first book and will publish her second in mid-2015. Don’t be fooled. She spends the majority of her time doing laundry.