Are you looking for freelance writing jobs? Half the battle Is getting an editor to respond. Here are my best tips!
We were all new at something once, right? Freelance writer is not what I ever saw myself as when I was going to college, but when I moved to Hawaii and I couldn’t find a job in PR, I began my career in freelance writing. I was TOTALLY a freelance writing beginner and truthfully — I had no clue where to start.
Today, I wrote Monday-Friday for the TODAY Show and do stringer work for military-centric outlets like We Are The Mighty, GI Jobs, and Military Spouse Magazine. On weekends and in free time, I write for other outlets on topics like food and travel.
Just starting out? You can learn more in my How To Start Freelance Writing post.
Today I’m sharing one of the biggest obstacles in ‘breaking through’ in the freelance writing industry – pitching editors.
Once you dream up a story idea, how does that story land in a publication? Editors. They are the beginning and ending of all pitches and the first step is getting them to respond to your email.
It’s important to understand that editors get hundreds of emails per day and that’s not an exaggeration. The reason editorial contact information can sometimes be hard to find is that editors already get hundreds of messages to their inbox and there is only so much time in a day. Don’t forget they are one person.
How To Get Freelance Writing Jobs
So, how do you get your pitch to stand out?
1. Ask if they are accepting pitches.
The very first thing I do when I have an editor’s direct contact information and I’ve never worked with them before is ask if they are accepting pitches. This way, I don’t send off my great idea to someone who isn’t (for any number of reasons) able to assign stories at that moment and I can take my story elsewhere.
I wondered at first if this was annoying – more emails leading to more emails?! But I’ve had a couple editors say they appreciated this, because it showed a respect for their time.
2. Know the publication.
Every writer has a dream outlet, but not every story you think of is going to be a good fit for that outlet.
Once I have stories outlined, I try to figure out an angle for them that aligns with publication standards (these are usually listed on the website). Every outlet I write for has different requirements, so making sure a story is a good fit for any one outlet is very important.
Also, research the heck out of the topic you want to write about and see who has covered it before!
One thing I’ve learned is that a good way to waste your time and annoy an editor is to pitch something they’ve already covered extensively or that doesn’t fit their guidelines/voice.
3. Find a hook.
Unless your story is SEO specific or something organic, there should be a timely hook. Why now? Why is it important that this topic is covered right now? And why should that editor/publication care?
4. Why are you the best person to write the story?
Editors want to know that they should assign any given freelancer a story. Do you live in the location? Are you someone who has experience the topic? Have you used the product? Be sure to let them know – quickly and concisely – why you are a good fit for writing what you’ve pitched.
After you’ve established all of these points, it’s time to pitch! If it’s your first time, take a look at my freelance writing pitch example first.
I hope this post was helpful for anyone who is starting out in freelance writing, or even freelancers who are trying to branch out with new editors!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like How To Get Paid As A Freelancer