The 5 secrets of pitching yourself as a freelancer
Updated: Nov 17, 2022
As freelancers, we are always pitching. In the media, in particular, pitches are ideas we send to editors, outlines of story ideas or feature proposals.
But there are many other ways we pitch, particularly when we pitch ourselves and the more I’ve done this, the more I’ve learned.
I pitch myself in numerous ways – from emailing editors to say I’m available as a case study or to give expert comment, or perhaps to put my name forward for work or a short term contract. I often reply to shout outs on Twitter from editors who are looking to expand their pool of writers, or I might email someone who is advertising for a fixed term contract and say I'm available to help them in the interim.
Pitching ourselves is difficult – it can feel cheesy or intrusive. But, in my experience, it gets results! Telling someone what we do, and how it might help their business, isn’t an intrusion, it’s perfectly normal! So, where to start…?
Secret One: Be prepared
We’ve all been there. The client of dreams posts on social media that they’re looking for freelancers. YES! Our moment has come! Only… what to say and send? And if ONLY you’d been updating your LinkedIn and social a little more often.
Preparation is key – just as if they came up to you at a networking event, when these calls go out, being ready to email means you’re on the front foot.
Preparation can be anything form having a draft introduction email (make sure you read it over for any name changes and updates!) through to a shiny social media account of your choice and website to add into that message and say ‘you can see more about me here…’
Secret Two: Make sure what you’re pitching is clear and concise
The aforementioned client, or someone you’re emailing a ‘cold email’ to doesn’t want War and Peace. This is especially pertinent if you’re a writer – being brief, clear and concise shows that you are exactly that! Get to the point of your message, make sure your ‘pitch’ about you is tailored to their values and what they’re looking for right now.
Secret Three: Ditto with a CV
There’s been a LOT of debate recently as I write this on social media about whether or not freelancers need a CV. I believe we do – and the first step is not calling it a CV. Portfolio CV is what I use, but you could say ‘over view’ or ‘about me’ page.
Something you can attach that is a one-stop, super shiny all singing all dancing outline of YOU without them having to click, open other pages or scroll through portfolios.
It will also give you confidence with your message – see my shiny CV, thanks very much!
Secret Four: It is about being brave
Pitching yourself – essentially saying ‘hello, you don’t know me, but I think we might work well together’ is HARD. It takes a brave freelancer to send out those kinds of emails. Feeling nervous is totally normal, and this is about being a bit brave. Knowing that helps you reach the moment you press send. Putting our heads above the metaphorical parapet as freelancers is hard. I feel sometimes like ALL I do is pitch myself to people. But, back to my analogy of freelancing being like dating – you have to swipe right a lot to find a good match!
Secret Five: Patience is key
Some people will never reply. Some will reply and then the trail will go cold (hello, professional ghosting). Some will reply weeks later, or nonchalantly look at your LinkedIn one day. Following up is fine, once, in my opinion, especially if they’ve done that shout out we mentioned for people to email them. Remember, you might be one of hundreds responding. And if you’ve cold emailed, they might not have seen it (thanks, Spam folder) or they might have forgotten to reply. Don’t sit there waiting, get on with something else in the meantime!
If you feel coaching could help you with putting yourself out there, get in touch via the form on my Coaching Page.