I get frequent questions about writing jobs. The most popular two questions are: “where are all the good writing jobs?” This is closely followed by the comment: “I can’t afford to write for peanuts…”, and “how do I get my clients to pay more?”
My answer is always: the best jobs are never advertised. You need to pitch for them.
Back when I was building my magazine writing and copywriting practice, the Internet was text-only, on a command line, or via Gopher. I’m grateful for that today, because I never got into the habit of hunting for writing jobs online, or anywhere else. I knew that getting the best jobs was easy; I just needed to pitch anyone I felt inclined to pitch.
If you’re tired of low-paying gigs, forget the freelance marketplaces and other writing job venues. Pitch for unadvertised gigs.
When writers tell me that they don’t know where unadvertised gigs are the short answer is: they’re all around you. There are many, many more unadvertised, top-paying writing jobs than advertised ones. Only a tiny fraction of writing jobs is ever advertised.
Moreover, pitching is EASY. Just find a company for which you’d like to write, decide what you could write, and decide why your writing would be good for the company.
For example, if you find a company with an unattractive website: “you need more content on your website so that you can do more business.”
Or, if you find an advertisement for a product, and think it’s woeful: “I love your offer but I don’t understand it and I bet half your prospects don’t either.” You might want to phrase things a little less bluntly, but you get the gist. 🙂
Writing jobs: two ways to make over $1,000 for one gig
Recently I worked with two writers. Writer A made just over a thousand dollars from one project. The project took her ten solid days of writing.
Writer B made $1,285 from a gig which took her just over four hours.
Which writer would you rather be?
Needless to say, Writer B pitched for her $1,285 gig. She didn’t get that job on a freelance marketplace; it was unadvertised.
If you want to know more about pitching, check out our new program, Freelance Pitching Secrets: How To Build A Lucrative Writing Business — Sell More Of Your Writing Every Day.
Here are some ideas to help you to pitch effectively.
1. Tell them WHY they need your writing services: use stories
Rather than just telling your clients what you can do, focus on their pains — anyone running a business or a publication feels LOTS of pain. You can help them by offering a solution to a specific problem. Use stories.
(They’re aware they have the problem, you just need to remind them of it; the best way to do that is via a story or two.)
When you’re starting out you don’t have any stories to tell. That is, you’ve worked with few clients (or no clients at all), so you can’t tell new prospects what you could do for them. However, you can research. You can look at companies which are doing well, and work out why they’re successful. Do they have great content on their website? Are they coming up in searches for popular keywords? Do they have a mailing list?
And so on, and so forth.
By the way, if you’re not yet at the stage in your career when you know what companies and publications might need, spend a few months getting gigs on the freelance marketplaces. That will show you what people are paying for, right now. Once you’re comfortable, it’s time to take off the training wheels, and pitch for writing jobs — high-paying jobs.
2. Script and rehearse, then pitch, and repeat (repetition is vital, your aim is to become fully booked)
In our “how to pitch” program, we discuss pitching in detail, and talk about the various kinds of pitches you can make to various kinds of companies. Pitching is basically just asking someone if they want you to do something, for pay.
Many of your pitches will be painless; they’ll be via email.
Here’s some advice on making in-person, and phone pitches: please don’t wing it. That is, avoid extemporaneous pitching if you want to get most of the gigs for which you pitch in person, or on the phone.
I find with my students who are new to pitching that they tend to wing their pitches, and they get in trouble. That is, they don’t get the gig.
I recommend to them, and to you, that you create a script when you know that you’ll be talking to somebody, for two reasons.
The first reason is that you’re going to get objections, and you need to be able to counter those objections with confidence. The second reason is that when you know exactly what you’ll be saying, you can focus on the client.
Let’s say you’ve been chatting with a local company, XYZ Company, and they want you to come and pitch their executives.
Create a presentation, and include in your presentation, every objection you can think of. Make sure you counter those objections, and then explain the benefits your project will bring to the company. Finally, rehearse your pitch until you feel relaxed, and comfortable. Confidence is everything. 😉
3. Practice and pitch, and you’ll get higher paying writing jobs
Most of your pitches will be made via email, and phone. You’ll make fewer in-person pitches (it’s not worth it for small projects, under $10,000.)
When you do make in-person pitches, rehearse, and then rehearse some more.
Finally, pitch consistently. The more pitches you make, the more you will earn. You’ll find that opportunities to pitch are everywhere. You’ll also find that you’ll be asked to pitch, because word of a reliable, competent writer soon gets around.
Happy writing: make a pitch today. 🙂
How much do you want to be paid to write?
The writing life can be a real challenge. You may love to write, but spending many hours each day writing for a pittance quickly becomes drudgery.
What if you could stop hunting for writing jobs? Discover the secrets of pitching your writing — you choose with whom you work, and how much you want to be paid. Learn more.
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