If you’ve carved out your career as a freelance writer, chances are you’re an avid reader of online publications and know the kinds of stories they publish.
Background understanding is vital when it comes to finding sites to pitch as a freelance writer. Editors need you to understand their niche and writing style – it’s a waste of time suggesting a first-person op-ed to a site that only deals with breaking news.
In this article, we’ll cover how to find sites to pitch to as a freelance writer and ways to ensure your pitches are on top form so you can land your next big commission. And of course, use Grammarly for writing articles.
Before you do anything, do your research Before you do anything, do your research
There’s nothing an editor wants less than an unsolicited message for content that isn’t a good fit for their readership.
So, when pitching as a freelance writer, you need to consider who you’re approaching. Don’t ruin a potential working relationship with an uninformed and non-specific email. You’ll just add to the mass of spam stacking up in their ever-expanding inbox.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Use LinkedIn or Twitter to track down your lead
- Check they still work at the publication you’re targeting
- Find their preferred contact details, usually detailed in their bio
- Where possible, use a personal contact rather than general submissions address
- Send your pitch!
Always make sure you’re targeting the right editor for the topic. You could have the best idea for a commission but without proper research, that piece will get lost in transmission.
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Pitch what you know, and show your authority Pitch what you know, and show your authority
Have you been a reader of a publication for years and think your content suits their style? Start with what you know when you pitch your services as a freelance writer. Not only will your pitch be more authentic, but you’ll also write a much better end piece.
When pitching as a freelance writer, it’s imperative you make it clear to the editor why this content fits their publication, and why you are the voice they need to hear from.
Freelance Digital Editor Ann Friedman says your pitch should:
- Explain how it fills a hole in their coverage
- Detail what else has already been written on the subject, and
- Say why your angle on that topic is fresh and needed
Finally, when looking to bolster authority in a subject, make sure you include a link to your online portfolio or website (whether you used a cheap website builder, or had one custom made). Editors often look for subject authority, so they’ll want to see that you’ve done similar work in the field you’re pitching for.
Pitching freelance writing is essentially marketing your work in the most evocative way possible – you need to make your offer impossible to refuse.
Use PR web tools Use PR web tools
Sites like Hunter.io can grant you access to verified business contact details quickly and easily. All you need to do is enter the domain name of the publication you’re looking for contacts for and it will return a list of known email addresses for that business.
These emails will generally be scraped from the web page but, where there aren’t any or many available, hunter.io will find the names or job titles of people in the business and then suggest the most likely address formats for those contacts. For example, if the business is mygreatwebsite.com, it will suggest emails like:
- Or email@example.com
From here, you can either download a list of contacts, but it’s always best to check potential emails and names against a professional directory like LinkedIn before sending your emails. This will give you an idea about whether or not those addresses are still active before you spend time and energy pitching to them.
This will reduce your email bounce rate as you’ve verified their address, and will be more likely to receive a reply than using a general submissions email address. By using tools like these, you can increase your hit-rate and save time to do what you do best: write.
Online directories Online directories
Sometimes you don’t need to do all the searching yourself. If you’re listed in an online freelance directory, some work will come to you.
There are plenty of sites – e.g. Clear Voice, Behance, LinkedIn – where you can host your profile alongside writing samples and let companies and individuals reach out to you. Some, like LinkedIn, benefit from your proactive engagement – you will get more out of the platform if you post updates, engage with your contacts through comments, likes, and shares, and even write content in the onsite publisher.
However, for others, your only option is to create a winning profile and keep your samples up to date in the hopes that you will show up in potential client’s search results.
On the flip side, there are freelance job boards…
Don’t neglect freelance job boards Don’t neglect freelance job boards
Here, you’ll find editors responsible for multiple outlets, businesses needing writers to create reports, white-papers, and more…, as well as companies just offering quick, one-off gigs.
Remember… pitching for work goes two ways. Sometimes they reach out to you through your profile and other times they post jobs and solicit pitches from active writers. Either way, you’ll need to keep your profile up to date and full of your latest and most impressive writing samples, as well as your current hourly or other rates.
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To sum things up To sum things up
Whether you’re just starting out as a freelance writer, or you’re a veteran in the field, it’s always good to look for new outlets to pitch. By following these steps and conducting your own research before you pitch, you will be able to land gigs and make more money as a freelance writer.
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Note: This Guide on Helping you to Find sites to Pitch as a Freelance Writer was contributed by Lucy Farrington. If you have an interesting resource to contribute to, then check our Guest Blogging Guidelines.
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