Pitching is part of the game when you’re trying to land new freelance clients and brand partnerships. You should expect that some of your pitches will be rejected or unanswered, even though you can cold call your way into a new business. If you’re noticing most of your pitches are not getting a good result, there may be problems with your approach.
Here are two key reasons why your pitches aren’t landing you opportunities:
There’s nothing in it for them.
Many of the pitches I’ve gotten from businesses and bloggers recently don’t have this key ingredient. There has to be something in the deal for the person who you’re pitching. You have to explain what that something is in your initial pitch.
I’m shocked at the number of times I get emails from brands almost demanding of me to publish posts or resources to my site without a clear reason as to why I should be doing the favor.
These emails automatically get deleted. People have to see the value in what you’re asking. It’s a two-way street. It can turn people off when it seems you’re asking for a favor and not suggesting a partnership where both people benefit.
When writing pitches as a freelance writer, I explain how my background in personal finance helps me explain complex money topics to readers in a clear way.
My angle is showing them how hiring me to contribute content can make their life easier because I submit on time, I pay attention to details, and I’m prompt with editing requests. Give people a reason to want to work with you — don’t be shy.
Your pitch isn’t relevant.
Another big reason a pitch doesn’t get accepted is lacking relevance. If a site is about rare dog breeds, you shouldn’t be pitching to write content or do brand influencer work about cats. This may sound like a no-brainer, but irrelevant pitches happen all the time. Often, it’s when people are sending out mass pitches.
You need to tweak the angle of your pitch for each client or brand to show that you’ve done the research. For example, you could pitch a story about cats for a dog website, but it has to be related to dogs in some way.
When pitching writing work, I go to the company’s site and pitch ideas related to other content they have that’s already done well. This shows you put in the extra effort and you understand the needs of the business.
Make sure that you pitch businesses that you know something about the subject. It’s just plain weird if you know nothing about space to pitch to NASA.
You can educate yourself on many subjects — but there are some subjects and fields that you have no business in if you haven’t worked in those fields. Consider a dev. If you have never done code, you would not be able to write good content within the dev field.
Read, Read, Read.
One of the best ways to learn to write well and to the point is to read. Read everything, especially if you want to be a freelancer in a certain field. If you have an interest in writing for a certain space, read every day in that space.
Before you pitch someone in that space, write a few pieces about the subject. Experiment with words from that space. Memorize the lingo so that you can use the correct language that fits in with that business. Never pretend that you know more than you do — but learn as much as you can so that you don’t have to.
Be open and friendly.
Sometimes we have chosen to be a freelancer because we like working alone. If this is the case, you may not be as open and friendly as you should be when pitching to someone. Try your pitch out on someone before you approach the owner of the business. Ask your mentor how you can improve in openness.
Pitching takes patience and resolve. All of your pitches won’t get accepted. Many prospective clients and brands have ignored my pitches. A way to improve your chances of landing deals is making sure you’re doing all you can to stir up interest.
Get to the point of your pitch in an email right away. Highlight your experience and how working with you will benefit them. Tailor all of your pitches to the individual client. People can tell when you’re copying and pasting the same message in each pitch without doing your research.
[Related: What to do When You Cannot Think of any Stories to Pitch]