6 Tips for Writers on Making Effective Pitches

Much of the projects posted on freelance communities involve writing. Whether it is academic or news writing, one of the most crucial points of the writing process is the pitch, or giving the overview of the article or project that you will write.

The pitch can greatly influence the deal, and the quality of the pitch can either make it or break. Employers might sense that your pitch is just a hodgepodge of generic Internet searches, or that you do not fit their criteria based on the topic that you sent.

How can you make sure that you can seal the deal and get contracted to work on a much-needed project?

  • Be concise yet precise. The reader should immediately know what your pitch is all about in the first two or three sentences. Much like writing in an inverted-pyramid style, your core idea should already be made known in the introduction. Building up on the core idea shouldn't take three or four paragraphs of meaningless jargon. Go straight to the point – you can even use helpful hints to support your idea. For example, pitching for a holiday-themed writing campaign, you might want to suggest that the piece would be linked to a trending idea to make the potential employer interested in reading further.
  • Expound on your expertise. Being technical is not enough. Convey your message in a friendly way, not being too academic or stagnant enough that the reader will get bored. Keep technical terms and jargon at a minimum. Make your pitch a combination, and strike a balance between catchy descriptions and concise procedural information.
  • State your value clearly. Be clear and specific, and check if the employer is willing to negotiate. How much would you be willing to bargain to land the project? What made you arrive at that value? Make a counter offer so that your employers will think that you know what you're worth. Just make sure that you can back it up with results.
  • But don’t lowball. Negotiating for a much lower price is a poor strategy for pitches. No matter what you offer, there will always be someone who will go lower than you. Besides, most writing projects are put up by employers who may be looking for long term employees, so play to your strengths and instead of bargaining, make the employers understand that the quality of your work is greater than the price of the project.
  • Write each pitch individually. Templates sometimes won’t turn out well, even if the one you will be using came from a project of the same writing style. For example, even if you have pitched for an academic article before and used the same template for a new bid, chances are high that you will fail in that bid. Treat each project as a unique case, so your pitch looks natural and organic.
  • If possible, check out your employer. For most job boards, employers will have their profiles put up. Check out past projects, and read the comments from past freelancers to give you an idea of how best to approach your pitch. This should give you a better chance of landing a project.

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