If you’ve been with us at WriteWorldwide for a while now, you’ll know that we put a lot of emphasis on cold pitching as the most efficient way to go after freelance work opportunities.

In fact, we have our very own pitching template cheat sheet you can grab right now. It’s packed with cold pitches the whole team has used successfully across a range of platforms – and you can do the same.

Simply tweak the pitches to fit your situation, and you’re good to go and start landing those high-paying clients.

Another piece of the puzzle 

But there’s another aspect to cold pitching that gets glossed over. With so much emphasis put on the content and structure of pitches (as there should be), it’s easy to neglect an equally important piece of the puzzle: prospecting.

Prospecting and pitching are two sides of the same coin, and you need to give them equal effort if you want an effective and consistent strategy for bringing in the type of clients you want. This is something I’m working on myself right now as I look to expand the scope of my services and experiment with some new ideas to test the market.

Putting yourself in charge

By now we have the anatomy of a great pitch covered, but let’s take a look at how you can get the most out of it. By matching it with a killer prospect list, you can lock down the effectiveness of your pitch and create a sustainable marketing system that puts you in charge of your freelance writing career. Sound good? Of course, it does! So let’s get going.

To build a killer prospect list, you need to….

At least think about a niche

I know, I know. I smell what you’re thinking: will these WriteWorldwide guys ever shut up about niching?? Don’t count on it. The reality is, you need to be aware of niching.

Don’t let it stop you from taking steps to get yourself out there (over-analysis is action’s greatest enemy) but do take the time to give yourself a brief overview of the pros and cons of specialising vs. generalising.

You can start out without a niche and gradually zone in on your target clients as you go, or you can pick one before you start because you already have experience with or enjoy writing about it.

Position yourself uniquely

There’s the option to go in blind and simply learn on the job because a particular niche appeals to you, and you can even niche by the type of services you provide rather than what you write about.

While there are many options, taking the time to study the landscape of the industry and pair the results with your strengths and interests is essential.

By doing this, you’ll figure out two things that’ll give you an edge when creating your own freelance work opportunities: where you can fit in, and how you can stand out.

Use the right tools.

Once you’ve spent some time identifying your ideal client, it’s time to start putting together your list. Get ready to do some real digging here – just like cold pitching itself, building a watertight, sold list of quality prospects will take work.

But if you put the effort in, your investment and commitment to crafting a list that’s exactly right for you will pay dividends.

There’s no shortage of list building tools out there, and you can always outsource the job to somebody on a site like Fiverr if you’re on a budget or want to get going right away.

Try out with the new, in with the old

Don’t be afraid to try some old school outreach and research methods too – remember, quality and quantity are the name of the game here.

The goal is to set yourself up with a large batch of prospects that will be eager to work with you when you contact them. Scour local business directories as well as larger online lists like manta and look for companies that seem like they might have a need for the services you provide.

Then, cross-check the information you’ve gleaned by searching Linkedin, Twitter, and the company website. Having a system in place to verify the big three (their name, their position at the company, and their email) yourself may seem laborious, but it will actually save you time in the long run. 

Make your ideal prospect come to you

Pitching and prospecting are primarily outbound marketing methods. However, if you want to create your own freelance work opportunities and build your ideal stable of clients, there’s another thing you should do in tandem with cold pitching businesses you’d love to work with – making sure that it’s easy for them to find you.

Manage your front of house

Attracting your ideal clients to you while reaching out to them at the same time is a surefire way to enhance the strength of your list. There are various ways to do this, but among the most effective are:

  1. Keeping up with industry trends using apps like Buzzsumo and Feedly.
  2. Making sure your website is regularly revamped and optimised.
  3. Publishing relevant content that will catch the eye of your prospects.
  4. Creating a top notch lead magnet.

Mix up your approach

Combining inbound practices with targeted and purposeful outreach techniques is the best way to build a killer prospect list. Cold pitching may seem like a shot in the dark, but it doesn’t have to be.

With a little preparation and foresight, you can place yourself ahead of the pack, and rise above the competition to do things your way.

See the bigger picture

In this article I’ve demonstrated how building a killer prospect list is the way forward if you want to take your writing career to the next level and create freelance work opportunities for yourself, rather than being at the mercy of low paying clients, content mills or job boards.

Together with a consistent, strategic, cold pitching strategy and a solid marketing plan, a prospect list that you devote time and effort to can rapidly accelerate your freelance writing journey.

Got any tips of your own on building a killer prospect list? Share them in the comments!

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