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A Magical 3 Step Formula For Creating A Freelance Writing Pitch

3 magical steps for creating a freelance writing pitch

If you want to be making a consistent income freelance writing then you need to become a pro in creating a freelance writing pitch.

Many freelance writers quit because they’re not hearing back from their pitches – I’ll let you into a secret. You need to be sending a lot of freelance pitches when you first start. Finding your first couple of freelance clients can be a struggle, but knowing how to write a pitch will help you to land those lucrative gigs.

When I first started freelance writing, my pitching was pretty basic. I still managed to land work but these were low paying jobs (seriously, I didn’t have a clue about anything when I first started out!)

My pitching process has massively improved over the last few years and I now have a pitch that lands me regular work every month.

The difference between cold pitching and warm pitching

In freelance writing, you’ll come across cold pitching and warm pitching.

Warm pitching is when you send an application to someone who is looking for a freelance writer or someone you already have a relationship with. On the other hand, cold pitching is when you send a pitch to someone who isn’t actively looking for help and someone unknown to you.

So, let’s take a look at my 3 step formula for creating a freelance writing pitch. This is a warm pitch for jobs that have been advertised via job boards, social media etc. You can use this as a template for your own pitches.

My 3 step formula for a freelance writing pitch

  • Performance
  • Pricing
  • Promote

Let’s pretend we are applying for a job as a blog writer.

Performance

At the beginning of your pitch is performance – this entails your background and experience. Let’s look at some of the elements to include.

The first thing you need to do in your pitch is to create an introduction.

In this section, you can include;

  • A brief introduction about yourself
  • Where you saw the job advertised

This section should be kept straight to the point. For example;

“Hi X

I am writing to you in response to your project X as posted on X. I’m a great fit for your X position as I’m an experienced writer with extensive knowledge on the subject of X.”

As you can see, this is direct – you’ve introduced yourself as a good fit for the vacancy and in the next section you need to elaborate further on this.

In the next paragraph, you can develop your freelance writing pitch by stating;

  • Your background in writing
  • What you can bring to the job

This is an important section as its what is going to set you apart from other candidates. In this part of your freelance writing pitch, you’re going to sell yourself as a writer – it’s essential that you write in a confident and positive manner. If you’re new to freelance writing, don’t mention your lack of experience. You’re going to state what you CAN do. Here’s an example;

“I have recently created articles and web copy for X and I have worked in content marketing for the past 5 years. My content is known for being engaging, informative and actionable to boost readership and search rankings. A blog post I wrote on X has currently accumulated over X shares on social media. Here are a few reasons why I believe I am a suitable candidate for your vacancy;

  • I have three years experience in writing and editing my own blog X. I know how to build an audience and the type of content that gains an effective response in the X sector.
  • I have a degree in English. This background has given me an understanding of creating lengthy content, including how to write irresistible blog post titles that entice the reader.
  • I have worked remotely for two years so I am able to meet short deadlines and I am available via Skype during the hours of 9 am – 5 pm UK time.”

Why this works

This approach demonstrates your experience in content writing – if you can provide results, even better. This pitch also shows how the applicant’s experience fits potential problems that the client may have. In this case, a company with a blog will be looking to build their audience with engaging content that attracts readers. It’s also highly likely that they’ll want to boost their search rankings.

Now you’ve stated what you can do, I highly recommend including samples of your work or a link to samples in your portfolio. A portfolio doesn’t necessarily need to be your own website as you can use a site like Contently to upload work samples. If you’re not linking to your portfolio, it’s best to only add 2-3 individual samples that are relevant to the job applied for.

Pricing

Some job adverts will clearly state a budget or fee. Others will want you to state how much you charge.

If you’re asked to state your fees, add a line to your pitch in the form of;

“My fees per X word blog post are $x or I can offer a discounted rate for 4 or more posts.”

Obviously, this line will alter depending on whether you’re prepared to offer a reduced rate for more than one post.

If the job advert states a price, you can skip the pricing section and move onto Promote.

If you’re not sure how to price your work, check out my guide on pricing for freelance writers.

Promote

For the final section of your pitch, sign off with a polite conclusion and promote your social media and LinkedIn channels. Obviously, don’t include your Twitter or Instagram if they’re personal accounts as nobody wants to see you getting wasted on a Friday night with Bill (you get the idea). Only include social media links to accounts that are professional – LinkedIn is a great site to link to as it can give further details of your background. However, if you have your own website, you might want to include this instead. An example;

“I would love to speak to you in greater detail about your project. You can contact me via email, LinkedIn or social media. I appreciate your consideration.

Regards,

X

[social media links]”

Now we’ve broken down a pitch and looked at three elements to include, let’s put the pitch together.

Freelance writing pitch example

I hope you found this helpful. Remember to grab the free blueprint download for a step by step guide to finding your first client, including where to find lucrative writing jobs.


Let me know your pitching process in the comments!

 

What to Charge as a Freelance Writer

what to charge as a freelance writer

One of the main questions I get asked is what to charge as a freelance writer.

If you’ve searched this question online you’re probably thinking that the answer is as scarce as a mythical creature.

The truth is that there is no set template on what to charge as a freelance writer – which makes it both exciting and frustrating.

Let me tell you a story. When I first started out, I thought that $10 for a 500 word blog post was great. I was so happy to be getting paid for my writing that I didn’t give it too much thought – I was naive. I quickly learned that $10 a pop wasn’t going to pay my bills, especially as it meant that I was actually earning under the minimum wage here in the UK. I started searching for better-paid jobs and increased my prices. These days, I typically earn between $50 – $100 per 500 word post, although that depends on research, topic and if it’s an extended contract.

Want to become a freelance writer? Take my free e-course!

What to charge as a freelance writer

In this post, I won’t tell you what to charge as a freelance writer – as I said, there’s no set template or guidelines. But, I can give you a guide to help you set your service pricing so that you can confidently bill your clients without worrying that you’re pricing too low. However, be aware that rates vary depending on your location, niche, service and experience.

Pricing on experience

Usually, pricing for freelance writing content depends on your experience. If you have several years of experience as a freelance writer or you’re a fairly new writer but have vast experience in a certain area, then you’ll be able to charge more than someone with no experience.

One of the best guides for freelance writing rates is from Clear Voice. This guide gives you a rough estimate of what to charge based on your experience and type of content.

This guide is very much in line with what I’ve seen many freelance writers charging, but I’d recommend using it as a basic template, especially if you’re getting started.

A basic pricing guide for freelance writers

However, before you consider your income, take a moment to clearly establish your services.

Pricing per word versus pricing per project

I highly recommend pricing per project as I said in my post on how I went from $15 to $100 per hour.

By charging on a per project basis, you have a better earning potential and your fee is linked to the end result. It’s also a much more attractive process for the client. For instance, if you can write a 500 word article in one hour, some clients may gasp at a $50 per hour rate. Alternatively, $50 for a blog post may seem like a much more attractive prospect.

Your freelance services

Before you consider your rates, it’s important to establish your freelance writing services – what are you going to offer your clients. You might specialise in writing for social media, long-form blog posts or writing product descriptions.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at what you can offer.

Blog posts and articles – these may require research if it’s an extensive article or blog post. If it’s in a niche in which you’re an expert you won’t require much research. It’s important to factor research time in your price.

Pricing example for an article: If we take the Clearvoice guide into consideration, writing a 500-word article for a company based on 8 cents per word would be $40 or around £31. If you’re an experienced writer charging 50 cents per word, a 500-word article would be $250.

Whatever your fee may be for a blog post, you may decide to offer a discounted rate for bulk posts.

Web writing – web writing can include crafting different pages for websites. For example, you might be asked to write a homepage for a service provider. These pages may require a little research on the company you’re writing for.

Social media content – this may include tweets, Instagram content and Facebook posts. These are usually required in bulk, so its likely that you will charge a monthly fee based on X amount of posts.

E-books – An e-book is normally 5000 words plus. Again, pricing on a per project basis is a better option for this type of content.

For editing and proofreading, you might want to check out this guide from the Editorial Freelancers Association on common rates.

Factoring in research

If you’re writing an article or piece of content that requires a lot of research, factor this into your price. Let’s consider that you are writing an article of 1000 words for $100. If you’re comfortable with the topic, you may be able to write this within 2 hours, earning you a nice $50 per hour. However, if you’re writing about a complex topic which requires 5 hours of research, you’re earning far less for your time at just over $14 per hour. If a piece of content requires research, I normally add at least 25% onto the price, obviously depending on how much research is required.

Profitable niches

If you’re using job boards to find work, you’ll likely find that pay differs depending on the niche or topic. It’s well known that common topics like lifestyle, celebrity and home etc are less well paid than those that require more expertise. If you want to maximise your earning potential, take a look at the following profitable niches.

Technology

Healthcare

Finance

Marketing

Business

Very specific niches – for example, health insurance for business to business or report writing for the finance industry.

Discover 47 sites that pay you to write! Grab the free download below.

I hope this post has given you a basic idea of what to charge as a freelance writer. Remember, as your experience grows so does your rate. Let me know if you have any thoughts on this topic in the comments!

5 Actionable Tips to Become A Freelance Writer in 2017

5 actionable tips to become a freelance writer

A new year gives us the motivation to set new goals and milestones we want to achieve in the coming months. You may have already started putting the wheels in motion to set you on the path to a new career, or maybe you’re thinking about starting a new job.

When I tell people that I’m a freelance writer, the question I get asked most is ‘how did you get into it’? So, if you’re thinking of becoming a freelance writer or want the opportunity to work from home, this post is for you.

Today, I have a few actionable steps to getting started with freelance writing along with my new Facebook group for new writers or those looking to boost their writing career – you can find my group here. In this group, I’ll be sharing some further tips on starting out, answering any questions you may have and sharing job opportunities for you to apply to. To join, click here.

If you’ve been considering starting a freelance writing career or dont know where to start, take a look at my 5 actionable tips to become a freelance writer in 2017.

Consider your niche

One of your main decisions to consider is what niche you want to write about. A niche is the category you have knowledge in and can comfortably write about to form informative articles, blog posts, web copy etc. For those new to freelance writing, I’d say to keep your niche fairly general, rather than super specific. For example, a general niche would be fashion, whereas a specific niche would be women’s equestrian clothing.

Why is choosing a niche important?

Having knowledge in a niche market will make it much easier to write for clients. You’ll know where to find good resources for research, be able to effectively pitch topic ideas and be able to increase your rates as your expertise grows.

You may already be an expert in a niche topic, for instance, you may work in the technology sector and have great knowledge about tech topics.

If you’re not sure what your niche is, think about what topics you enjoy writing about – maybe you already have a blog and write about specific topics. When I started out, my main niche was beauty but my first couple of jobs were actually about education. Writing about different topics when you first start out is a great way to figure out which areas you enjoy writing about.

Why you shouldn’t consider just one niche

I’ve heard many people say that you should just focus on one niche and work on becoming an expert in that niche. I disagree. The problem with having one niche is that you’re putting all your eggs in one basket. If that niche goes kaput or you’re struggling to get work, then you’re stuck.

I currently work in a few niches, including property and health and I’d recommend choosing three or four niches to specialise in.

What about profitable niches?

Certain niches are definitely more profitable than others. Technology and business tend to be two high paying niches but you need to know your shit if you plan on writing in these areas. However, I’ve found that property/real estate, health, education, and finance are all good paying niches. That’s not to say that you won’t find good paying gigs in other areas as you absolutely can. And, if you have an interest in a specific area, you can absolutely learn more to become knowledgeable about that industry.

Get experience to become a freelance writer

Experience is essential when it comes to applying for freelance writing jobs. After all, how are clients meant to know how well you can write if you don’t show them.

Experience doesn’t necessarily mean paid experience. When I started freelance writing, I had no paid experience and used samples from my blog to show prospective clients. However, I would suggest using relevant samples when applying for work. For example, if you’re applying for a freelance writing job in the health sector, send samples of your work in this area.

Do you need to blog to become a freelance writer?

You don’t need to have a blog to become a freelance writer but I do recommend it as you can easily use your blog to create samples of work, as well as having the opportunity to monetise it in the future. If you want to know how to start a blog check out my blog post here.

Whether you have a blog or not, guest posting is a great way to establish authority in your niche as well as gaining connections with others. You can also use guest posts in your portfolio or to use when sending job applications.

Tips to become a freelance writer

Consider your free time and revenue goals

Before you start freelance writing as a career, it’s helpful to build your portfolio. If you’re already working full or part time in another arena, you need to consider how much time you can spend gaining freelance writing experience. If you’re applying for jobs, many may require a short deadline so it’s important to allow enough time to complete the work.

For those ready to take the leap into full-time work, consider how much you want to be earning per month. When I first started writing, this amount covered my outgoings plus a little bit extra. Once you’ve set a monthly goal, it’s easier for you to create a pricing structure for your services.

Related reading: How I Went From $15 to $100 an Hour Freelance Writing

Write a page about yourself

When you apply for writing jobs, you’ll need to send some information about yourself along with a link to your portfolio or samples of work. Writing a page about yourself and what you can offer will make an effective template, thus, you don’t need to spend hours writing an application for each job. Obviously, this should be tailored to the job you’re applying for but the structure is generally the same.

An application structure

Introduce yourself – you may want to include an interesting fact about yourself here to stand out from the crowd

Why are you applying for this position – why is it relevant to you?

Your experience/what you can offer – what are your strengths? Do you have any relevant qualifications? For example, if you’re applying for a writing position on education, maybe you have teaching qualifications you can mention.

Any other details to support your application – do you have examples of successful blog posts in your niche? Maybe you’ve worked on a successful campaign? Have you worked for any established companies?

Make sure you add relevant samples by attaching samples or including links to your portfolio.

If the job advert asks you to include pitches for blog posts then include 4-5 ideas for potential articles, including a heading and a small paragraph on what the post will include.

Make a list of job sites and leads

Once you have some samples of work and a proposal template, its time to start looking for jobs. I have a list of job sites in this post but I also suggest searching on Twitter – search under hashtags. #freelancewritingjobs #writersrequired #lookingforwriter #writersneeded are good ones as are #medicalwriter #legalwriter or whatever your niche is. People Per Hour is also a great site to find jobs. You can supply quotes for work and you can also post an hourlie – a job advert for service which you provide.

Cold emailing

A cold proposal is similar to a regular job application, except no job has been posted. With this technique, you need to find companies in your niche (a google search or linkedIn search are the best places to start) and then finding a relevant contact email. You could also try this for online magazines or blogs.

Once you’ve found a contact email, its time to craft your proposal. In this, you need to be very clear about the service you’re providing and how you can help the client. Remember, they haven’t requested a freelance writer so you need to show exactly how you can help them grow their business. This may be writing sales letters to increase customer revenue, crafting web copy or blog posts to increase readership or revenue.

A cold email template structure can be similar to a regular application. Here’s a sample cold email structure;

Personalise your pitch to your contact

Show what the company is lacking – they might not have a blog, maybe they require more informative product descriptions or web copy, maybe they need to start an email newsletter.

Show how you can help them – how is the client going to benefit from your services. Can you increase sales conversions? Can you gain an increased readership or more shares on social media?

Display examples of your work and results.

End with a call to action – for example, ‘I’d love to be able to contact you to discuss in further detail’.

Where can your potential client find you – Leave links to your website, social media etc.