Full disclosure: cold emailing companies is one of the most challenging aspects of being a freelance writer.
After all, there’s no set rulebook. What works for one freelance writer might not work for another. And it’s kind of scary putting yourself out there for strangers to judge your abilities, whether you’re new to freelance writing or you’ve been in the game for a while.
(Am I right?)
That said, reaching out to prospects via cold email is my most effective method of securing those lucrative gigs. Sure, you can find some high-quality clients elsewhere. However, generally speaking, cold pitching is where the money’s at.
Why? Well, it’s because you’re introducing yourself and your services to a company that doesn’t even know they need you yet. There’s no other competition, you can set your own rates and the direct, personalised contact increases the likelihood of a client saying “yes.”
Need some help winning high-paying clients through cold emailing? Not to worry, check out my top 10 cold pitching tips below.
1. Remember It’s About Them
Cold pitching tips 101: don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
Your cold email should be centred around what you can do for the company in question as opposed to what they can do for you, i.e. give you money so that you can pay your rent LOL.
Yes, you want the high-paying work and you want it sooner rather than later, but you need to nurture potential clients and take the time to get to know them.
Do your research, figure out what the company wants and needs and then tell them how you’re the best person to help them reach their goals.
2. Proofread, Proofread and Proofread Again
Dude, you’re a writer. Therefore, your cold email has to be spot on in terms of technicality.
And do you know what that means? Absolutely no spelling and grammar mistakes – and no calling your contact “Susan” when her name is “Brenda.” Tut tut.
Pro tip: if you need help proofreading your pitch, you can always use a free writing app like Grammarly to keep your email succinct and error-free.
3. Align Your Language
Already done your research on the company? Excellent – one of the next best cold pitching tips is to match your language to the publication you’re trying to write for.
For example, if you’re targeting an online weekly gossip magazine, tweak your cold email to make it chatty and conversational.
The idea is to demonstrate to the receiver that you’re ready-made to work with their publication – and ultimately secure further discussion, if nothing else.
4. Link to Your Portfolio
Another important thing you must do when writing a cold email is include 2-5 relevant links to your professional freelance writer website or previous client samples.
How come, you ask? Well, companies are busy. They’re going to ask for this information anyway so you might as well put it in front of their noses before they even say anything.
Essentially, you’re making it easier for them to hire you as their next freelance writer by doing this, especially if these links show that you’re a perfect fit for their publication in terms of niche, writing style or type of content.
5. Use a Professional Email Address
Captain Obvious over here, but you’re going to come across as more of a serious freelance writer if you send a cold pitch from a professional email address instead of “firstname.lastname@example.org” (which you’ve had since you were 15).
Full disclosure: an “@gmail.com” email address is perfectly fine if it’s your full name or website name.
Having said that, your best bet is to set up an email address with your website host that links to your domain name if you want to come across as more credible.
Pro tip: I use self-hosted WordPress for this website with SiteGround, which allows me to create a free email address using my domain name. I couldn’t recommend them enough for their fast and effective service.
6. Warm Up Your Pitch First
One of the most useful cold pitching tips I can give you is to warm up a potential client before you pop through an introductory email.
Whether this is connecting with the appropriate contact through LinkedIn or liking the company’s posts on Twitter, a smart idea is to get your name in their mind before you even reach out to them.
Why? Well, as well as building awareness of yourself and your services ahead of time, you’re already developing a connection with the company that you can utilise and draw upon when the time comes to initiate conversation.
7. The Power Lies in Following Up
Say it with me: I must follow up on my cold email. Say it with me again (with feeling): I MUST follow up on my cold email!
Look, emails sometimes fall through the cracks. They get glossed over. Left unread. Forgotten about.
That’s why it’s so important to FOLLOW UP your first cold email to a company at least once.
Usually, I leave it 5-7 days and then send them a friendly reminder. Trust me, you’d be amazed at how many high-paying clients I’ve managed to secure just by doing this one simple task.
8. Don’t Take Silence Personally
If you’ve followed up your initial cold email once (or maybe even twice) and there’s nothing but *crickets,* it might be time to accept that you might not ever get a reply.
But that’s okay. It’s business. You can’t take it personally.
The company is clearly just not interested in working with a freelance writer at this time, so you can cut your losses, move on and invest your time and energy elsewhere.
9. Keep in Mind It’s a Numbers Game
Another of my top cold pitching tips? Remember it’s a numbers game.
I mean, for every 10 cold emails you send, you might only get a few responses. Then out of these responses, perhaps only 1 or 2 will turn into paid collaborations.
But you can’t let this put you off. The trick is to persevere to get results.
10. Take the Time to Perfect Your Pitch
Finally, always remember that it takes time to perfect your pitch. If you keep cold emailing your target clients and adapt your method and pitch according to what is and isn’t working, you’re only going to improve with time.
Then you can say goodbye to the inexperienced pitcher of the past and hello to the pro who knows how to attract wealthy clientele as and when they need to.
(Alexa, play “Money Trees” by Kendrick Lamar.)
Pro tip: if you need help with creating a strong pitch, The Practical Pitching Guide for New Freelance Writers outlines the exact process I use to secure high-paying freelance writing clients. It also includes two FREE templates for your first pitch and follow-up (along with information on how to use them). I’m here for you!
Paving the Way to Cold Pitching Success
A common misconception when it comes to cold pitching as a freelance writer is that you have to have a flawless email and process to succeed. But this isn’t the case at all.
Sometimes progress is more important than perfection.
After all, perfection doesn’t exist.
That said, the more you cold pitch and put yourself out there, the better you’ll become at it. I know it’s nerve-wracking, but ask yourself: what have you got to lose?
Today is a good day to start. And I’m behind you every step of the way!
Have you ever cold pitched before? Do you have any other cold pitching tips? Let me know in the comments!