There’s no question that cold-pitching is one of the best, if not the best way, to land high-paying freelance writing jobs online. 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 that response rates are often low. Even when prospects reply, too often you’re faced with this typical 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. Even when you hook one of your targets, you’re also 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 will not only help build your prospect list faster but also help you land well-paying writing jobs online, quicker.
Would you be interested? I bet you would. The good news is, there is such a way.
In this post, I share the technique that helped me land my highest paying blogging gig yet: $250 for a single blog post.
It Started with a Eureka Moment
The other day while chatting with 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.”
When I tell you the technique, you’ll probably think to yourself while 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, yet it works.
I tested it recently by sending seven cold pitches. The results I received were impressive and undoubtedly scalable to a larger prospect list.
But I digress…let’s get back to that eureka moment. I thought to myself, “What if I ‘stalked’ successful freelance writers in my niche, see who they write for, and then pitch those 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”.
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.
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 such as email finding apps and Linkedin.
I sent the following cold pitch to seven publications:
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. Cheers, Nick Darlington
I received the following replies from three different prospects:
Reply 1 told me the prospect wasn’t interested. Reply 2, was more positive, but after an email interaction, it became clear that the prospect only wanted backlinks. That’s not my game, so I left that.
But “reply three” was a live one. I responded:
Remember you don’t have to respond immediately – it only makes you look desperate.
Also, don’t be afraid to respond by saying you’re working on some ideas. This 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 her reply:
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 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 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. Jacob McMillen used this technique- which he calls the No-Risk Pitch Method, to land his first $5k writing gig.
- Use the above technique when a client shows interest but you don’t have writing samples.
I’m currently still in talks with the client. [Update] – 7 hours after publishing this post I got the gig. We’re just tying up technicalities, see below:
As you can see, it’s a potent strategy.
It’ll help you build 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?