Cold Pitching Basics

Okay, this is what I’ve been waiting for: Cold pitching & sending cold emails. This is where I finally take action and search for clients to work for. If I had to choose two primary ways to find freelance writing clients, they’d definitely be LinkedIn & cold emailing.

Let’s get to the lesson:

Elna says cold pitching is a fabulous way to land reoccurring writing gigs. There’s far less competition and you have a much better chance landing a gig if you contact the client directly.

There are freelance writers that only use cold pitching to find clients and they are making a living off of doing that.

However, Elna’s main method of obtaining high-paying work is through referrals and inbound leads, but for the new freelance writer, if I can get my cold pitch strategy working, I’ll have no shortage of profitable work.

In this lesson, Elna goes over what cold pitching is, where to find businesses to pitch to, and how to craft my pitch.

What Is Cold Pitching?

Cold pitching involves reaching out to companies directly, finding out if they have any current or future writing needs, and pitching myself as the go-to writer when the opportunity arises.

Since there’s no competition like I would see with job boards, odds are I am one of the only – if not the only person – approaching a company at any given time for freelance writing work.

I take the risk of them not needing a writer, but by starting the conversation and building a relationship, I’m increasing my odds of being remembered when and if they do have a need in the future.

Essentially I would be cold pitching editors, entrepreneurs, start-ups, publications, blog owners, and businesses.

With cold pitching I control my prospect pool and I’ll come to find that every company needs a blog and every blog needs me – a freelance writer.

Where To Find Businesses To Pitch To

There are several places I can go to to find businesses – and all of them are free to use.

Trust Pilot

Trust Pilot curates businesses online based on my search term. Plug in my niche or topic and see what companies I can pitch to.

Other business directories include Owler, Content Marketing Agencies, Manta, Venture Radar, G2, and Crunchbase.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn can be a goldmine for finding work. But for cold pitching, the best way to land work is to use my connections and groups.

A lot of them are writers, but a lot of them are also companies and small businesses. It’s a good idea to always accept connections since one of them can be my best client.

Look over my contacts and develop a relationship with them.

Visit their company page, invest time in finding out about them and comment on any posting they have or an article on the Pulse or even on social media.

Once I’m on their radar, email them and ask if they are interested in a writer.

Another way is to search for companies on LinkedIn.

On the search bar up top, put in the type of company you want to pitch to. Elna chose marketing.

From there choose companies and I’ll get similar marketing companies.

I can filter by industry or by location, industry or company size. Elna chose to filter by size and her topic was, “marketing.” I want to make sure that your topic isn’t too general or else I might end up getting companies that are hospitals, educational institutions or manufacturers of equipment.

I wanted to set the size to 51-200. This is a smaller to mid size marketing agency or company that has the funds to hire a tech blogger or SaaS writer like myself.

I then filtered the Industry type to Marketing & Advertising. After looking around, I found The Marketing Practice.

I click to their page and then click to the people working for The Marketing Practice.

Boom! I find the head of content. I can take the time to visit the site and see who their clients are and if it aligns with the type of content I can provide.

From there I can pitch my services to the head of content.

Google Search

For the next remaining ways to find clients, we are going dive into new businesses. These are startups or newly launched businesses. Google is a great starting point to find these types of businesses.

Just type in “startups in (your niche) industry.”

But, if you are a tech writer, take a look at their blog and see what type of content they are publishing before you cold pitch them.

If you are looking for the exact person to email you can Google the domain name (company) + CEO or whatever title you want to use (marketing director, etc..) 

Looking at Newly Launched Sites

Looking at new websites can help you find some great clients.

A lot of these companies are new to the online world or new startups. The best way to find these sites is to go to a directory. A great place to start is 500 Startups. They have a list of tech startups in the US. I’d imagine I can find a company with a blog to pitch to.

IMPORTANT: Start off with 500 Startups to look for my first client. Research their company and submit a personalized cold pitch to net a response.

Finding Contact people on LinkedIn

After I Google search, social media search and startup search I still need to find the contact name I can use LinkedIn.

Just plug in the company name into LinkedIn, go to their page and choose people to see if they have a content manager of something similar.

Alternatively, use Contactout – which I just installed.

Crafting Your Pitch

Before I cold pitch a company, make sure I do some recon on the business. This means taking some time looking at their website and checking out their:

  • Homepage –To learn what information the company wants to convey about the business to their visitors.
  • Approach page and/or About page –To learn more about the company and its values, as well as find out “who’s who” in the company.
  • Blog –To make sure they have one and see what type of content is published and how often.
  • Finding out who to contact – use About us page or team pages to find the right person to pitch to

Elna has several cold pitching templates in the Pitch Archive that have been successful for many writers in her WriteTo1K course.

Go ahead and use those templates.

But, make sure I:

  • Personalize your pitch – Review their About page and locate the name of both the CEO and CTO and email them.
  • Include how I found them – It’s a good idea to let them know where I found their business.
  • Try to make an immediate connection – Some businesses have a mission statement or a story of how they created the company. Find a way to connect to their brand and story in your pitch.
  • Keep my pitch short by giving them the necessary information about me and what I offer.
  • End my pitch with a call-to-action – This might be, “looking forward to collaborating with you” for example.

Here’s a few pitches used by WriteTo1K students that Elna showcases:

Sometimes a very short but effective pitch can help you get a response.

One of Elna’s coaching students Elise, won a $1200 /month writing gig with this pitch.

Who to Pitch

Learn the types of titles companies have for their marketing person.

Some common names are: CMO (chief marketing officer), director of marketingEVP marketing (executive vide president), SVP marketing (senior vice president) or VP of marketinghead of content or head of strategycontent marketing managermanaging editorcontent editorcontent creator, or marketing manager.

Sometimes my contact person will be the VPCEO or any executive person.

Still other titles:

  • Head of digital marketing
  • Head of digital strategy
  • Chief strategy officer
  • Chief editor

From there you need to find their email address.

If I want to directly email someone in the company (marketing director or owner) and I know their name, but don’t see their email address on their site, visit Norbert and find out their email address easily.

Tracking Who Has Opened Your Emails

Finally, if you install the free Chrome Extension Streak, it will allow you to track email open rates.

So you can see if your cold pitch email is actually getting opened and read.

How Many Cold Emails Should I Send Per Day?

The more pitches I send per day the higher chance I’ll have at landing a gig.

However, my email provider may flag my account as spam if, all of a sudden, I send 40 or 50 emails in one day.

This may happen for a variety of reasons:

  • If I have a new email account.
  • I sent too many emails in an hour (all 50 in one hour because you are using a template)
  • I used the same email subject line 50 times
  • Not having a professional domain email address (ex: elna@elnacain.com)
  • One or more recipients reported me as spam (higher chance with cold pitching)
  • Using the same template word for word in all 50 emails
  • Including links in my pitch emails to an email address I’ve never sent emails too (so instead of linking to your samples in a cold pitch email, I would avoid doing this until the company replies to see your writing.)

If I regularly use your email for your business like with sending guest post ideas, some cold pitching, etc.. then I can start with sending 20-40 cold pitches.

Conclusion

For new freelance writers – and some seasoned writers – cold pitching is the number one way to find profitable clients.

I understand the importance of content marketing and how a blog can help a business make more sales and obtain more customers.

And once I perfect your pitch, cold pitching might be my new best friend.

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