The 5 Commandments of Pitching for Freelance Writing Gigs

Pitching for freelance writing gigsThere’s a place for pitching for freelance writing gigs, and there’s a place for pitching to specific clients for regular work.

As I say time and time again (and again in the Complete Freelance Writing Online Course: Beginner to Pro), pitching for regular clients is usually how you become a full-time freelance writer.

Individual freelance writing gigs are handy though – both for your bank balance and your confidence as a writer. They can even lead to more regular client work too.

But how to pitch for freelance writing gigs or clients? The approach for each will naturally differ, but some pitching tips are just universal.

The following can be used as a sort of checklist then. Tick each one off before you hit send on that email pitch:

1. Know thy client

It doesn’t matter if you’re perpetually pitching for individual freelance writing gigs or to one regular client per month, nothing is more important than knowing the client you’re pitching to.

This means researching general information about their business/blog/etc, but also identifying any challenges they may be facing. You can then address these issues in your pitch. (Clever, huh?)

Top tip: Follow your potential clients on social media and get to understand what’s important to them. NB: Some writers call this ‘stalking potential clients’. I like to call it ‘being thorough’. 😉

>> I went from full-time worker to full-time writer online – from scratch. Find out how you can do the same RIGHT HERE.

2. Know thy specific contact person

Find out the name of the relevant person you need to address in your pitch… and then address them. Your pitch should appeal to the actual person you’re pitching to, including any pain-points, concerns or issues that individual may be facing.

Yup, this is where all that research comes in.

Top tip: It doesn’t harm to drop in something about saving them time, money or hassle in some way. Bonus points if you can work in a way for them to impress their boss. (Be subtle with this!)

3. Respect others’ time

Keep your pitch short and get straight to the point. (I know you knew that already.) Try to summarise your idea or angle in the fewest words possible.

Top tip:

4. Know thy worth

Pitching for freelance writing gigs and regular clients can be a bit of a tightrope walk.

Be sure to  convey your unique skills and abilities as a writer and as an expert on the topic you’re proposing. However, you need to convince the recipient of your pitch that you’re the perfect person for the job without being overzealous.

Top tip: If you can introduce yourself and your ideas in such a way that it leaves the person you’re pitching to excited to find out more, you’re on to something.

5. Structure thy pitch well

The best email pitches begin with an introductory hook to draw the reader into your idea or angle, followed by a mini-synopsis and links to examples of published work.

Sign off by thanking the recipient for their time (see commandment 3 above) and directly asking for a response. Be polite, but don’t give your potential new client a chance to leave your email in their inbox for the best part of a month before downgrading it to the trash can.

Top tip: Include suggested titles of any blog posts/press releases/whatever in your pitch, or even in the email subject line if appropriate.

>> Get pitching templates and step-by-step instructions on how to earn a living from freelance writing online in the Complete Freelance Writing Online Course: Beginner to Pro.

Image courtesy of Holly Hayes via Flickr. Text added.


Fed up with overly pessimistic blogs about the state of online writing Kirsty Stuart founded Freelance Writers Online in 2013 to help other writers. Kirsty also writes for a children's charity and lives by the sea.

5 thoughts on “The 5 Commandments of Pitching for Freelance Writing Gigs

  1. Ahh.. great timing. I was just thinking about working on my pitches, so thanks!

    Oh, for #2, also make sure whether the contact person is male or female. Sometimes you have nicknames for either – Pat, Chris, Kelly, etc. – and screwing that up is an awful way to get your pitch rejected. (Good thing I haven’t done that… yet.)

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