I bet I know why you’re here.
Last time a potential client got your cold pitch email, they ignored it.
…But here’s the thing:
Your cold pitch email getting ignored was just the situation as far as YOU could see.
The reality was much, much worse.
What REALLY happened was:
- The client saw your cold email and figured they’d give you a chance, so they opened it.
- Within the first paragraph of your cold email, you did something that made them roll their eyes, and the rest of your cold email wasn’t much better.
- They thought, “UGH. Stupid cold emails. I hate being pitched like this.” *DELETE*
This sucks, especially when it happens over and over.
…Because you know that cold emailing is an AMAZING way to land high-paying freelance writing clients.
You just can’t figure out how to do it right.
So your cold pitches keep getting deleted/ignored.
And you keep watching your chances of becoming a full-time freelance writer get smaller and smaller…
Now, what are you going to do to change your results?
…Since you’re here, so I assume you’re gonna read this blog post! 🙂
Instead of continuing to send cold email pitches that piss people off, it’s time to learn how to cold email the RIGHT way.
Because if you approach cold emailing correctly, potential clients will be EXCITED to work with you and GRATEFUL they got your email.
(Instead of making a gagging noise and sending your pitch to the Trash folder.)
In today’s blog post, we’re gonna talk about 10 of the most cringeworthy mistakes most newbie freelance writers make in their cold email pitches.
Along the way, I’ll teach you how to fix each of the mistakes.
Let’s get started. 🙂
10 Amateur Cold Pitch Email Mistakes Costing You Freelance Writing Clients (+ How to Fix Them)
Cold Pitch Email Mistake #1: Your pitch is too damn long.
The fix: Make it shorter.
Sounds simple enough, but SO many freelancers write a fucking book every time they pitch for a freelance writing job/client.
Here’s the problem with that:
You. Are. A. Complete. Stranger.
…Meaning the client doesn’t care enough about you (YET) to read a long-ass email from you.
Seriously – imagine you’re a busy businessperson with 1,542 unread emails in your inbox, and you get a random pitch email from a total stranger. Are you going to spend 10 to 15 minutes of your time reading it?
So, look over your next pitch email before you send it, and ask yourself:
“What can I remove?”
The best pitches get RIGHT to the point.
Remember, your initial pitch (if it’s a cold email) isn’t necessarily meant to get you hired immediately. It’s meant to start a conversation that eventually results in you getting hired.
Pique their interest, show that you can help their business, and close out with a strong call to action – that’s really all you need to do!
Cold Pitch Email Mistake #2: Your CTA isn’t getting anyone to take action.
The fix: Stop using weak-ass call-to-action statements.
Most pitches I’ve seen end like this:
“Feel free to get in touch if you’re interested in working together!”
…If that’s you, you’ve GOT to do better!
You’re basically telling the client it’s OK to avoid responding to you.
So, how can you do better?
Make it STUPID EASY for your target client to respond to your call-to-action with a “YES.”
…WHAT the client is saying “yes” to is up to you. But it probably won’t be “YES, you’re hired!” at first contact.
Again, the purpose of your pitch is to start a conversation.
That conversation won’t continue unless you have a strong call to action at the end of your initial pitch.
Cold Pitch Email Mistake #3: Unclear/unconfident positioning.
The fix: Position yourself as the perfect fit.
When I started my business, I made over $800 cold emailing within the first month.
(If you’re not familiar with cold emailing/pitching and how to market yourself, click here and sign up for my FREE marketing class for writers who want to land clients. Because you can be the best writer in the world, but that doesn’t matter if you can’t SELL your writing.)
The reason my cold email pitches worked so well?
I chose a freelance writing niche and a SPECIFIC target clientele based on that niche.
Then, I used my cold email pitches to position my niche expertise to that target clientele.
So, that meant removing any vague language about my job title, like:
“I’m a freelance writer”
…And replacing that with language that better positioned my niche.
If you only take ONE thing away from this blog post, let it be that you MUST position your niche expertise in your cold emails.
And if you don’t have a niche right now and/or aren’t landing as many clients as you’d like…
Why is niching down one of THE most important things you’ll do to make money as a freelance writer?
Because high-paying clients aren’t looking to work with generalists.
^ Let me explain this with an example from another industry… freelance photography.
My husband and I eloped to Las Vegas a couple years ago.
We didn’t have many expenses, but one thing I KNEW I wanted to set aside a big budget for was the PHOTOGRAPHER.
(So, in this case, I was the high-paying client.)
I didn’t want a general photographer. I didn’t want a regular wedding photographer.
I wanted someone who CLEARLY specialized in the EXACT type of photography I envisioned for my wedding day. Las Vegas elopement photography.
Not a generalist. A specialist.
Someone with a clear niche that appealed to me.
And I was willing to pay good money for that kind of specialization.
Again, this is why choosing a niche is SO important.
You don’t want to be a decent fit for all types of clients.
You want to be a PERFECT fit for ONE type of HIGH-PAYING client.
Because THAT will make working with you a no-brainer (as opposed to a “meh, it could be cool but nah I could find someone who is a better fit for me” situation).
Cold Pitch Email Mistake #4: Poor preparation.
The fix: Put in some pre-pitching work.
More specifically, find the person you’re pitching on social media, and start interacting with them a bit.
Like their Tweets.
Leave a thoughtful comment on their LinkedIn post.
You get the picture.
If you do this for a couple of weeks, you can feel a lot more confident when you pitch because the person may recognize you from social media.
You can even mention your interactions in your pitch email to make a connection with them so they recognize you!
Now, full disclosure:
I didn’t do this for most of the cold email pitches I sent out when I first got fired from my full-time job. I went for more of a “numbers game” approach because I needed to make money FAST. I was sending 20-25 cold emails daily.
So, maybe you won’t need to do it either.
However, if you’re pitching a gig/client you REALLY want, and you want to greatly improve your chances of landing them, put in some pre-pitching work.
Cold Pitch Email Mistake #5: You don’t get the client to trust you.
The fix: Build credibility.
One of the first things your potential client will think when they get your pitch email is this:
“Why should I give this person the time of day?”
It’s harsh, but true.
Basically, they’re looking for a reason to TRUST you.
You spell their name wrong? Your pitch email gets deleted.
Your email sounds unconfident? Deleted.
You say you “might” be able to write something for them? DELETE.
What you say in your email MATTERS. And HOW you say it really fucking matters.
Think about how YOU can build credibility, and remember – always, always keep it relevant to your target client and their industry!
Cold Pitch Email Mistake #6: Your pitch is too self-focused.
The fix: Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes.
The best salespeople are empathetic. They put themselves in their customer’s shoes.
That way, they can pick up on their customer’s wants/needs and suggest solutions based on those wants/needs.
Make no mistake:
You NEED to learn sales (and how to PITCH!) to succeed as a freelance writer.
Freelance writers rarely fail due to a lack of writing skills. They usually fail due to a combination of fear + lack of sales skills.
^Read that a few times. REALLY let it sink in.
To get better at sales/pitching, imagine that you’re on the receiving end of your pitch email.
Like, don’t just read the email – really, really put yourself in the recipient’s shoes.
For example, let’s say you’re emailing a marketing executive at a technology business.
So, you decide to put yourself in their shoes.
You can guess that this person is pretty busy since they’re an executive.
…This is relevant because it means you need to keep your email quick and to-the-point.
You can guess that they aren’t writing the content for the company.
…This is relevant because you would need to AVOID using “I can write your blog posts so you don’t have to!” as the selling point for your services.
You can guess that they care about improving business results so they can impress their boss and keep their job.
…This is relevant because you can use this information to improve your pitch – talk about the business results you’ve driven with your content in the past.
See how that works?
Don’t underestimate it.
Cold Pitch Email Mistake #7: You’re clueless about pitching/sales/marketing basics.
The fix: Learn how to get clients to “Know, Like, and Trust” you.
Before someone will buy from you, they need to know, like, and trust you.
How do these things apply to your freelance writing cold pitch emails?
- KNOW – Awareness that you exist. This has to do with using marketing to get yourself in front of them. With cold email pitches, it’s also about using a good subject line so they actually *open* your email. Just landing in their inbox doesn’t really count as them knowing you. 🙂
- LIKE – A general positive feeling about you. With cold email pitching, this pretty much just means you don’t make any cringe-inducing errors (like spelling the client’s name wrong, SMH). You should also make a genuine connection with the client in your email, which is easier if you interact with them on social media a bit before pitching.
- TRUST – The belief that you can get the job done right. You MUST build trust in your cold emails, on your website… basically everywhere you’re marketing yourself.
I recommend reading your pitch one last time before you send it and asking yourself:
“Would I know, like, and trust this person if I received this email?”
If you wouldn’t, then you’ve got some editing to do!
Cold Pitch Email Mistake #8: You come across nervous AF.
The fix: Remove anything that sounds unconfident.
When I posted a freelance writing job ad a while back, I had several people respond and say stuff like:
“I’ve never done this before, but I’m willing to try it out!”
“I don’t know anything about this, but I might be able to figure it out!”
And let me tell you, the LAST thing a businessperson wants to do is put their business in the hands of someone who “might” be able to “try” figuring it out.
You may not feel confident at first, but you have to fake it ‘til you make it!
No, you shouldn’t lie to a client about your qualifications, but you also shouldn’t sound like the least reliable person on the planet in your pitches.
Be confident, and focus on what you CAN offer.
Cold Pitch Email Mistake #9: You’re saying a lot without saying much at all.
The fix: Show – don’t just tell.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of writing your pitches like a shitty resume.
I’m talking about saying stuff like this:
“I’m motivated, creative, and results-driven.”
The problem? These adjectives are so overused that they’re absolutely meaningless.
Instead of saying what you are, SHOW what you are.
Prove that shit.
…For example, if you’re results-driven, then share some actual results you’ve driven.
Remember, your cold email pitches are all about getting the client to know, like, and trust you.
Anything that doesn’t contribute to that – including meaningless adjectives like “creative” – should be removed.
Cold Pitch Email Mistake #10: Your email signature sucks. Or you don’t have one.
The fix: Add a professional email signature that includes your niche.
This is an easy way to build trust with clients even more.
It makes you look professional AND it positions your niche expertise.
If you want to get super fancy, you can use a tool like Wisestamp for your email signature.
But a plain text format works fine too – the main point is that your signature should position your niche expertise and REALLY drive home the fact that you’re a business owner in the client’s industry. NOT a desperate “freelancer” begging for work.
Cold Pitch Email Mistake #11 (Bonus tip!): Take comfort in the fact that most cold pitch emails that freelance writers send are HORRIBLE!
Not to be a dick, but I mean, really… they’re HORRIBLE.
I would know. I get pitches all of the time, and VERY rarely are they even halfway decent.
I’m talking stuff like “Hello Creative Revolt Site Owner” and “Hello Mister Jorden.”
I’m talking guest post pitches when my contact page CLEARLY says I’m not accepting guest posts – and then the pitch is for a totally irrelevant topic, like men’s fashion.
But this is actually GOOD news for you, friend!
It means that, if your pitch is even SOMEWHAT good, it’s going to stand out big-time.
I remember one of the first clients I sent a cold pitch email to…
He said something along the lines of, “I can’t stand cold pitch emails, but we’ve actually been looking for someone who does what you do. Let’s set up a call.”
(This was the “meanest” reply I ever got to a cold pitch email, by the way.)
So if fear is holding you back, don’t worry so much and just PITCH!
All writers have to deal with rejection – the successful ones feel the fear and take action anyway.
Need more information on starting your freelance writing business?
One more tip:
Don’t get so caught up “planning” that you never take action.
Get the basic information you need, then get out there and start pitching!
I recommend setting up a REJECTION goal.
How many times can you get rejected?
Sounds rough, but you HAVE to get comfortable with rejection if you want to become a writer and, eventually, get ACCEPTED by your dream clients!
(Remember, if you want to land high-paying clients as a beginner, you need to click here and sign up for my FREE CLASS to learn how to do it! See you there!)
Now, get out there and send some cold pitch emails! Comment below with any questions or just to say hi. 🙂