Whether it’s a cold email pitch, connecting on LinkedIn, or writing a pitch letter to a major publication, learning how to pitch an article (or anything, really) a is an essential skill all freelancers need to develop.
Read on to discover how to write a pitch effectively, so you can win more clients, and advance your career.
You may wonder why a marketing pitch is needed for when you’re busy with one-time clients. Why bother?
Here’s the thing:
No writer wants to be stuck on job boards for their entire career.
Many of the authorities like TechCrunch and Forbes don’t need to look for writers -- you must go to them. But if you’re going to get their attention, you need to learn how to write a good pitch first.
Instead of pitching for peanuts on job boards, you can master the art of the email pitch to new clients to land writing jobs that pay the big bucks.
Alison Palmer, the owner of Journohub, asserts that there is great value in the timing of your pitch. By tying your article to a hot topic currently in the news, your pitch will be more enticing to would-be editors.
Palmer explains that your pitch “needs to feel fresh, current, and important it's shared now."
By keeping your ear close to the ground, you can learn how to write a pitch for a job at the perfect time, offering editors the chance to publish an original article that will trend well.
And if you want to take your pitch game one step further, you can sign up for a free trial of Bonsai to see how the powerful proposal feature helps you take your email pitches to the next level.
Whether you’re a lifestyle blogger sending an email pitch to new clients, or you’re learning how to write a business pitch for a bigger project, the process is pretty much the same.
Follow the nine steps below to craft an irresistible pitch letter:
Remember that you’re leaving low-paying job boards and penny-pinching clients behind. When you decide to learn how to write a pitch, you’re making a conscious decision to become a respected professional that gets paid your worth.
“Dear hiring manager” is not a great start to any pitch.
By going the extra mile to dig around on LinkedIn or Twitter, you can find the right person (and their email address). Then, you can contact them directly and add a little personalization that will go a long way.
Hal Humphreys from Pursuit magazine explains that “it’s about seeding real relationships. It requires time and calculation. It can even seem a bit creepy at times.”
You must tell editors:
With that in mind, forget about sending the same pitch to a dozen publications -- each pitch must be tailored to your target. Know the publication, and focus on one category within it to write a pitch that will resonate with the audience.
AWeber reports that 47% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone. In a crowded email inbox, your subject line must stand out. If it doesn’t, all the hard work on your pitch goes to waste.
Interestingly though, SEO guru Brian Dean cautions against giving too much away in your subject line. He believes shorter subject lines stir up curiosity.
Editors are busy people. They get hundreds of pitches each week, so you have to know how to write a pitch that captivates them from the first line or else it’s going in the trash.
Cut to the chase by briefly highlighting your knowledge or relationship with the publication, then dive in with the suggested headline and angle. Make sure it’s benefit-driven, focused on the big takeaway for their readers.
Don't be vague. Pitching topics or generic ideas is unlikely to get you anywhere. You must present a genuine story that people will want to read. Frame your story with tension, drama, or mystery to excite editors about the prospect of publishing the piece.
Also, show that you’re serious about the idea by concisely explaining the methodology you will use. Letting editors know you have a plan of action adds substance to your pitch.
While an email pitch can run into several paragraphs, it should never be long-winded. Think of it as an elevator pitch - only say what's needed, and leave them curious for more.
Here are the essential details:
While you should never lead with your bio, make sure to add a little bit about yourself at the end. In any case, they’ll have no trouble researching you online, so your portfolio site and LinkedIn should be polished to impress.
In any case, you should add links in your pitch to samples of your work - make sure they are relevant and recent. If it's a pitch for an innovative tech company, don't include links to your travel blog from five years ago.
Pitching is a numbers game. You may write hundreds of pitches before your proposals lead to contracts, but when the big day comes, you should be ready. Don't pitch complex articles or investigative pitches that you can't deliver.
When you’re learning how to write a pitch, it’s inevitable that’ll you make some mistakes, and churn out some pretty bad pitches.
Jorden Roper of Creative Revolt outlines some bad examples of pitches that many freelancers early in their career send, including:
Now, with the guidelines from the previous section, let’s take a look at this pitch from Anna Goldfarb.
This pitch does four things incredibly well:
By keeping it simple, Anna created a pitch with zero fluff - everything owns its place in the pitch. Unsurprisingly, it got accepted, and Anna has since become a regular New York Times contributor.
So, now you know how to write a pitch for new freelance clients.
By taking the time to research brands that you want to write for, you can find the right person, and send the right story at the right time.
With these guidelines, you have a solid blueprint that can elevate your career to new heights.
It’s over to you.
And no matter what publication or client you choose to pitch, Bonsai is here to help along the way with its integrated suite of features such as proposals, contracts, invoicing, time-tracking, and more. See all of them by yourself today - sign up for a free trial!
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?