How to Prepare a Winning Pitch for Writing Jobs
With the rise in the demand for content writing work and content marketing, opportunities abound for good copywriters, editorial writers and those looking for remote work online.
But with that rising demand, we have also seen a rise in the level of expectation and competition. Gone are the days when you could spin a few words and dump a poor quality article on an abandoned blog and expect to be paid. Editors and site owners are looking for high quality, native language content that will satisfy user experience and boost traffic, search engine ranking and conversions.
If you're looking to enter the workforce online as a remote content writer or you are wanting to expand your content writing opportunities, here are some strategies on how you can prepare high-quality proposals and pitches that gain editorial attention and enable you to develop a solid reputation as a remote writer.
Know Your Target
When pitching your content to a new site or editor it's vital that you understand the tone, style and expectations under which the website or editor is operating.
Your pitch should demonstrate that you already know the basic writing guidelines for the site, the audience they are attempting to reach and the type of subject matter they deal with.
Also keep in mind the specific role of the editor you are communicating with. A variety of editorial roles exist including, managing editors, senior editors, content editors, social media editors and more. Their expectations will vary according to function and area of specialisation.
Avoid asking redundant questions such as word count, which are already available via the website you are targeting. Editors do not have time to answer such basic questions when they have already made that information public.
For example, writing an email to an editor who does not know you and saying, “ I'd like to write for your site, do you have any suggestions on topics you would like me to cover and the preferred word count”, is unlikely to land you with a positive response, if you get any response at all.
Instead, be specific and demonstrate that you already have a good feel for the business you are hoping to write for.
Example: “ I noticed that you write regularly on high-intensity training. I wonder if you would be interested in a 1200 word article on the best nutritional plans for high-intensity workouts.”
This approach not only demonstrates your familiarity with the business or website in question but also some level of expertise in a relevant niche.
Know Your Limits
Avoid wasting your time and editors time by pitching two sides in which you have no genuine knowledge.
Most successful and long-term writers in the digital space have found their success by writing on a few things really well rather than a multitude of things poorly.
Most editors and content marketing outfits are looking for specific skills and specific expertise from their writers. Offering to write on any subject is unlikely to gain interest.
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Many writers are hesitant to box themselves into only a few areas of expertise, fearing that it will eliminate them from the job market. But my experience as an editor has taught me that this is usually the result of targeting the wrong agency, business or remote team job opportunity.
There is plenty of work available in almost every conceivable niche. If you are targeting the right editors then you are going to find plenty of work available in areas that you are truly passionate and knowledgeable about.
Brevity is Key
Editors do not have time to Wade through your personal stories and casual remarks. Avoid redundant statements in your pitch such as, “I'm sure you're a busy person and I'll be brief..”
If you already know this, then demonstrated by being brief and avoid stating the obvious.
As a guide, your pitch should look and flow something like this:
- State your purpose
- Make your offer
- Highlight your suitability
- Request a response
Highlighting your suitability might include a very brief mention of your expertise and perhaps one or two relevant examples that are available for editors to examine online. Unless requested, you should avoid sending a sample. Far better to link them to an existing piece of content online.
Provide Authority Markers
Authority markers are those subtle elements in your contact with a prospective employer or hiring agency that demonstrate you are serious and dependable. They help create trust between yourself and others.
Your Email Address
For example, I would avoid using Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and similar email addresses in order to correspond. If you must use these kinds of generic emails make sure that the email address is a legible and real name and not some random set of confusing characters.
I will almost never respond to request from those kinds of emails, though I may be tempted to respond if the email is very well written and the Gmail address appears to be a real human name.
Your email address is an important or authority marker that demonstrates a level of seriousness and authenticity. If it's possible, even a basic domain or portfolio site with your own unique email address is always preferable.
Bear in mind that if you do use a unique email address then there is a good chance that the editor will check the Domain to which it belongs. So make sure that the Domain actually exists and is live online.
I have often received emails from impressive domain names which turned out to be non-existent when I click through to them. This is no way to build trust or authenticity with the recipient.
Don't sign off your pitch with a first name only.
Some worthwhile trust elements and authority markers to include in a signature would be your full name, your general location and one or two means of communication.
If you can include a very brief photo and one or two sentence biography, that's also a positive authority marker that will enable the editor to feel more connected to you.
Again, honesty is the best policy when it comes to your signature. Some people are concerned that if they reveal their location it may put them out of the running. Alternatively, they use a generic photo that doesn't even represent themselves.
This is no way to develop a professional relationship and should be avoided at all costs. I'm quite happy to engage writers from anywhere in the world provided they demonstrate a dependable and reliable professional attitude and a capable of delivering the work they promise.
Don't just tell people you're suitable. Demonstrate it. One of the ways you can do this is by having two or three key profiles on prominent or relevant websites.
LinkedIn, CrunchBase and Business.com are examples of trustworthy sites where serious writers can be found. So make sure you can be found in those places and make mention of it via a link in your signature or within the email itself.
Pitching to websites, agencies or editors you would like to write for is not a complicated task. But the competition is high and so clarity and precision along with brevity and Integrity are all significant factors in raising your success rate and finding the kinds of online or remote writing gigs that you're hoping to win.
It takes time to develop a professional and authentic portfolio. But this should be your goal and if you are persistent and willing to network with other writers in your area of expertise, you should find no end of opportunity to send out your pictures and Gain reliable employment.
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