8 terrible freelance writing pitch mistakes to avoid

8 Terrible Freelance Writing Pitch Mistakes to Avoid

So, you’ve sent countless freelance writing pitches and you’ve heard nothing back.

I hear ya! Some of my first pitches were awful and I made many freelance writing pitch mistakes. One thing I’ve worked on since starting my writing career is my pitch. Pitching is what stands between you and a consistent writing income. The better my pitch became, the more gigs (and better paid work) I landed.

Writing a pitch isn’t that difficult when you know exactly what you need to do. Even if you’re a new writer, you can create a solid pitch that will help you win work.

As a freelancer, I’ve hired writers for projects and in the process, I’ve become very familiar with what makes a great freelance writing pitch – it has definitely opened my eyes to what editors and employers receive on a daily basis.

Today, I’m going to go over a few freelance writing pitch mistakes that you don’t want to make as a writer. Avoid these clangers and you’re already on the way to creating an effective pitch.

8 freelance writing pitch mistakes to avoid


1. Not reading the job description

Whenever you’re applying to a job ad, make sure you read the description thoroughly. You’d be surprised at how many applicants don’t read the requirements of an advert.

I recently placed a job advert for a part-time writer and I received a response from an applicant selling me his cartoon services.

This guy could be the greatest cartoonist in the world…but that’s not what I asked for. Clearly, his pitching method involved sending his pitches to every kind of job going – a waste of both my time and his!

Always read any advert clearly so you understand exactly what the client is looking for. Needless to say, I didn’t hire the cartoonist. Seriously, don’t try and throw everything against the wall and hope that it sticks! It doesn’t!

If you want to learn how to create a stellar pitch, check out a magical 3 step formula for creating a freelance writing pitch.

2. Not getting the client’s name correct

OK so this might not be a major deal to some people but it doesn’t look very professional. I recently received an application addressed to Ronnie, which obviously isn’t my name (yep, my name was in the job advert!). There’s nothing wrong with copy and pasting your pitches – in fact, having a pitch template can save you a lot of time. Just make sure you get the clients name right! If there’s no name in the advert, simply start your pitch with a simple ‘hi’ or ‘hello’, it works a treat.

3. Not including writing samples

If I had a pound for the number of times this happens, I’d be shopping at Harrods by now. One of the main freelance writing pitch mistakes new writers make is not including samples with their pitches. Your writing samples are essential as they show off your talent and how good a writer you are. You can include writing samples as attachments or you can use a link to your online portfolio. If you don’t have a portfolio I highly recommend using Contently – it’s a free and easy way to upload your samples of work. You can even upload ghost written samples here so its a great platform for writers.

4. Keeping it too vague (and short)

One of the shortest pitches I’ve ever received is ‘Yes, I can do this for you’.

Now, your freelance writing pitch doesn’t need to be a Nobel prize winning piece but there are so many things wrong with a pitch like this I don’t know where to start. For starters, there’s no reason why anyone would ever hire a writer with a pitch like this – ther ares no samples of work, no evidence of experience..the list goes on. If you want to create a successful writing pitch to win jobs, make sure you grab the cheatsheet below.

5. Keeping it too long

As I mentioned above, you really don’t need to write an essay for a pitch. Keeping it concise works really well as you don’t want to bore your potential client with a two page assignment on your work history. Try and address the points mentioned in the job advert – you don’t need to mention your education or work history unless it enhances your application. For example, if you’re applying for a medical writing project, having a nursing background will aid your application.

Related: 15 places to find freelance writing jobs online.

6. Attaching your CV/resume

You really don’t need to include your CV/resume unless the job advert specifies it. You can address your experience in your pitch and how it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for. While attaching your CV/resume isn’t a freelance writing pitch mistake as such, it saves you time and energy spent on tailoring it to the writing job specification.

7. Bad grammar

Naturally, if you’re applying for a writing or editing job, your spelling and grammar need to be on point. I’ve received several pitches from new writers containing poor grammar or cohesion. A small spelling mistake can be easily overlooked but you won’t get hired if your pitch is littered with mistakes.

8. Not backing up stats

Anyone can say one of their articles has had over 100,000 social shares. If you’re going to use statistics in your pitches then show the evidence. Whether that’s a conversion rate, the number of shares or likes, you’re only going to impress a potential client if you can back it up – show a link proving social media shares, place an email excerpt of a client recommending you etc. If you can’t provide evidence, don’t include it! Using stats can enhance your application but you don’t need to use them to successfully land writing gigs.

Avoid these freelance writing pitch mistakes and you’re on the way to becoming a pro pitcher! If you wanna create a highly successful freelance writing pitch, get your free cheatsheet on writing a winning pitch to land freelance writing jobs.

Do you have any queries about freelance writing pitches? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Great tips. I’m still building up my portfolio but will keep these in mind for my first pitch.

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