I’ve received many questions about the “Hi, I’m a freelance writer” pitch.
In this post, Hi, I’m a Freelance Writer, I said:
“So consider doing what he does: introduce yourself. Send out letters and email messages to editors, marketing managers, and website owners.
Send out several messages a day. My friend says that clubs, organizations, associations and agencies are especially responsive to his: ‘Hi, I’m a freelance writer, what can I do for you?’ pitch.”
I’ll boil down my responses to the questions I’ve received.
1. No, don’t send out mass-mailings. That’s called spam. Each intro must be personal, and heart-felt. If YOU don’t believe what you’re saying, no one else will, either.
It’s amazingly easy to read between the lines, even in an email message.
2. No, I can’t give you an “example”.
I don’t want you to copy me, or anyone else. BE YOURSELF. You can’t possibly be anyone else, so it’s best not to try.
Yes, your first five intros will take time, and thought. This is a good thing. After you’ve sent out hundreds of these, you’ll write quickly, and you’ll say what you mean. Again, I reiterate, heart-felt.
If you’re genuine, people respond.
It takes practice. In the beginning, you’ll feel uncomfortable, but so what? If you’re genuinely scared, think about what you’re scared of… Write down your fears; you’ll soon see how silly they are.
Everyone’s scared when they try something new. That’s normal. It’s no big deal. Accept the butterflies. Focus on what you’re doing, and the butterflies will soon fly away. 🙂
3. If you don’t get a response, that’s totally fine.
You’re sending introductions, remember.
In the 1980s and 1990s, I wrote for magazines. I sent out introductions to magazines for which I wanted to write.
I didn’t expect a response. Editors are busy.
All I expected was that someone would glance at my letter (everything was by snail mail in those days) and maybe remember it. I knew it was unlikely an editor would read the letter. An intern/ reader would read it. That same reader would vet the query letters, however.
Then I sent query letters.
The intros just primed the pump, so to speak.
If you keep communicating, you WILL get a response.
You may get a response immediately, and that’s excellent.
If there’s no response, just mention in your next few emails: “I sent you an introduction on _______ (date), mentioning that I _______ (whatever it was that you mentioned.)” Then go on to talk about a service you provide, or whatever it is you want these people to know.
4. NO! No attachments, at all.
Just don’t send attachments.
And while I’m on the topic of email messages, LOSE THE FANCY FONTS. Fancy formatting and fonts scream “amateur”.
Send plain text. The results will come from what you say, not from formatting.
5. Tell people how to respond, if they wish to do so.
And after I’ve just told you that people possibly won’t respond, too… 🙂
Always tell people how to take action.
Example calls to action:
* Please get in touch if I can help in any way;
* If you have questions, you can reach me on _________ (phone number);
* I’ll be sending you some ideas about ___________ (whatever);
* I’ve posted some writing samples on ________ (website URL).
Your intros are a form of copywriting. I’ve always said that all writers need copywriting training. Once you learn how to write copy, simple letters become easy.
Good luck with your intros. 🙂
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