There’s no question that cold-pitching is one of the best, if not the best way to land high-paying clients. But the whole process takes time, from prospecting for clients and finding the editor’s contact name to finding their email address and crafting your pitch.
That’s not to mention response rates are often low. Even when they reply, too often you’re faced with this common response: “We don’t need freelance writers now, but we’ll keep your details on file.” We’ve all been there.
Hell, I sent 80 cold pitches last week and out of the 15-20 replies, 10 of those were that infuriating response. And even when you hook one of your targets, you’re often faced with the reality of low pay. And so it continues.
But what if I told you there was a faster way.
A way that would not only help build your prospect list faster but also help you land high paying freelance writing jobs online, quicker. I bet you’d be interested.
Well, there is.
The other day whilst chatting to my friend, Richard Rowlands, I had a Eureka moment. You know those moments where you’re like, “That’s deceptively simple, I can’t believe I never thought of that before.”
When I tell you the technique you’re probably going think to yourself, whilst rolling your eyes “Thanks, Captain obvious.”
That’s okay, I know it’s obvious. But that’s the beauty of it – it’s deceptively simple, but it works.
I tested it recently by sending 7 cold pitches.
The results I received were impressive, and undoubtedly scalable to a larger prospect list.
Now, let’s get back to that Eureka moment.
I thought to myself, “What If I stalked successful freelance writers and/or writers in my niche [admittedly I don’t have one niche, so niches would be better] to see who they write for, and then pitch these websites?
Surely this would allow me to build up a targeted prospect list faster, and help me find high-paying freelance writing jobs online a lot faster?
I put it to the test.
I Stalked My “Competition”
Why not? It’s a free market and there’s plenty of work to go around.
I opened up my Chrome browser and typed my chosen freelance writer in my trusted old friend Google Search.
The first page of Google instantly provided me results.
After scouring page one and two of Google I had a small list of 7 publications to start pitching to.
I Found the Designated Contact Person and Email Addresses
I found the relevant decision makers and their email addresses using a variety of techniques I’ve outlined on the blog before like email finding apps, Linkedin etc.
I then sent my pitch to the seven publications. The pitch was a variation of this:
Hi [Insert name],
I’ m reaching out to see if you need a freelance writer who can help with content at [insert company/website].
I’m [insert your name]. I’ve been featured in [insert social proof if you have. Include some relevant publications].
I’m a feature writer and B2B/B2C blogger [update according to your own needs], providing:
- Ebooks and whitepapers to capture leads for your business
- Feature articles for magazines; with a focus on profile stories
- Blog posts (ghostwritten if required) to drive traffic to your site
- Emails and newsletters to grow your revenue
- Tutorials and guides to educate visitors
[make your own list according to the services you offer]
Here is a link to my writer’s website and testimonials from previous clients [Exclude if you don’t have a writer’s website or testimonials yet].
Shall we connect? [Ask a question to get a response. Better yet, set a specific date and link to a calendar].
I’d be happy to jump on a call to see how I can help your business.
I received the following replies after my initial pitches
Following an email interaction, it became clear that reply 2 only wanted backlinks. That’s not my game so I left that.
But reply 3 was a live one.
So I responded with this:
Remember don’t feel like you have to respond immediately – if anything it makes you feel desperate.
Also, don’t be afraid to respond by saying you’re working on some ideas.
It shows you’re actively thinking about how you can help their business and not just about the money.
So, the following Monday I sent this email:
This is the reply I got back:
Not bad right? That first line is a killer testimonial right there. But you can also receive responses like this by:
- Focusing on providing value. Ask yourself: “How can I help the business?”
- Not talking about rates and money (unless they ask).
- Asking questions to show you truly want to help them.
I then took some time and responded with the following:
A few more points:
- Don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth. If you’re a skilled writer charge for it.
- If they ask about doing work you haven’t done, you can gently decline, but also feel free to tell them you’d be happy to tackle the project at an agreed rate, at no risk to them. If they like it, they publish it, if not, nothing lost. It’s a win-win.
- Use the above technique when they ask for writing samples and you don’t have any.
I’m currently still in talks with the above client. [Update] – 7 hours after publishing this post I landed the client. We’re just tying up technicalities, see below:
As you can see, this is a truly powerful strategy.
It’ll help you build up a highly targeted prospect list a lot faster and help you find those high-paying gigs.
I mean, If other successful writers do write or have written for these publications/websites, chances are these publications see the value in content marketing and are happy to pay well.
Have you used this technique to land freelance writing jobs online? If not, why don’t you give it a try and share your experience in the comments below?