How to Write Pitches that Get Noticed (Easy Tweaks that WILL Make a Difference)

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Renee Davis is a freelance writer with a fabulous sense of humor. When she noticed that her pitching process was all over the place, she decided a system was in order.

So Renee came up with the 3P Pitch System: Personalized, Professional and Provoking and she’s here to share that exact system with y’all today. It’s time to supercharge your pitching and get more freelance writing clients. Let’s start 2016 off with a bang, shall we?

Are you pitchin’ like a boss, only to cringe three seconds after hitting the Send button? Or spending hours pitching and getting no responses?

Same here.

Frankly, it was becoming a habit. I’d simply get in the zone and flake out, apparently.

Before I knew it, I’d sent off a batch of pitches, having forgotten to include at least one important thing for each of them. Sometimes I forgot my bio and most times it was—of all things—my resume! Hmm, that probably had something to do with the lack of response to my pitches.

Why is it that I couldn’t remember what I’d forgotten until after my hard work was hanging out in cyberspace? Usually, my mental checklist is pretty solid. However, I admit there are some many days when I’m convinced I could hide my own Easter eggs!

Part of the issue is that my pitch has evolved. The more I hone my pitching skills, the more strategic goodies I want to include. That means there’s more to remember.

Good thing I’m in love with checklists! In fact, I purposely put too many things on a checklist, just so I can have more stuff to cross off!

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Don’t you do that?

No? Really?

I see an intervention in my future…

I’m not claiming to have pitching all figured out. But, with Gina’s pointers and lots of research, I have discovered some tweaks that I feel sets my pitch apart. It’s my hope that you’ll find a nugget (or two) that you can incorporate into your upcoming pitches too.

When thinking of an effective pitch, I see it in three parts. Let’s call them the 3 Ps in a Pitch: Personalized + Professional + Provoking.

1. Personalized

One for You, One for Me

Before the actual body of the pitch, the first thing I do is BCC (blind carbon copy) myself. By BCC-ing myself, I’ll receive a copy in my inbox. When I see it, I’ll be reminded to move the copy to my Friday Follow-up Folder. It will patiently wait for me in there until, well, Friday—hence the name.

It’s just easier for me to have a designated follow-up day once a week.

You’re Subject to Approval

Most of the time, I’m replying to a Craigslist advertisement. The subject line is already placed within the email when replying via Gmail. When I enhance that given subject line, my rate of response goes up.

For example, if the generated subject line reads, “Blog Post Writer,” I enhance it to read “Blog Post Writer-Resume & Samples Attached.” For a transcribing gig, I’ll change the given subject line from, “Transcriber Job” to read “Transcriber Job-Experienced Pro, Resume Included.”

I’m not deleting the given subject but just adding to it, to set apart my email from the myriad of other replies that the potential client might receive.

Note: There are times when this is a no-no. For example, when there is a specific instruction given from the potential client about what should be included in the subject line.

To Paste or Not to Paste? That Is the Question…

Immediately following the subject line enhancement, I include my resume. I promise you that if I don’t do it now, it won’t get done. If I wait to attach my resume at the end, eight out of 10 times, it won’t happen! Then I’ll look like a real doofus, sending a pitch that promises my resume is included when it isn’t.

God forbid I look like a doofus.

If no clear direction is given whether to attach or paste the resume, I have been known to do both.

I always follow the rules. If they want it pasted, I paste it. If they want it attached, I attach it.

Location, Location, Location

I’m a firm believer in catering to the potential client. If the advertisement gave a contact name, I make sure I’ve used it in my opening greeting. It makes it personal and shows that this isn’t just some form-letter email.

In her freelance writing course, Gina instructs that you should mention where you saw the ad. Potential clients or employers value this information, and it tells them that you like details.

If you have a line included in your go-to pitch that you usually paste into the email, make sure that it doesn’t read Craigslist when it should read Indeed, for example. That is something I’ve forgotten to change before hitting SEND.

2. Professional

Simon Says: Follow ALL of the Directions!

Once you’ve completed Gina’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success course, you definitely know what should be in the body of your pitch. However, I just reviewed Lesson 13 and realized I need to do some additional fine-tuning. Turns out that I needed a pitching refresher. (I encourage you take a minute to review Gina’s pitching guidelines.)

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Once you’ve included the actual body of your pitch, keep in mind that this is another chance to make sure you’ve followed specific instructions. It’s one more opportunity to show your prospective client that you are a polished professional. For instance, if the advertisement requested that you send three samples as links, then be sure to send exactly three samples as links.

If you haven’t already invoked the power of Grammarly, in addition to spellchecking, do so now. It’s free, although you can upgrade to a more complex checker. I use the free version. It comes along behind me as I write my emails, calling attention to the slightest of errors, and making my email a hyper-polished one!

3. Provoking

What Happens in Vagueness Stays in Vagueness

In a nutshell, effective pitching is marketing yourself in the best way possible—one that will evoke a response.

I remember reading that when writing a cover letter, most applicants simply don’t ask for a reply (much less ask for the job).

Nothing wrong with it,  but most of us will include a vague closing of, “I look forward to your response,” or “I hope to hear from you soon.” Does this sound like your closing remarks?

Mine too—at least until last month when I changed things up a bit.

I realized that despite the time and effort that was going into my pitch, I’d fade away at the very end, politely excusing myself from the email. It was almost like I was saying, in my tiniest and most quivering voice, “Um, well, uh, if you have time, maybe you could write me back…uh…pretty please?”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about being a bull in a china shop.

However, it’s really unfair of me to complain, feel sorry for myself, and scour the web for a Voodoo curse I can invoke because I didn’t secure the client—not when I didn’t even bother to ask the client for a response. I hadn’t even asked for the job!

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

As I learn more about marketing myself, I understand that I’ve been putting my best out there, but I haven’t been bold enough. I absolutely HATE selling anything, especially myself. I’m quite humble and introverted.

However, if I’m going to succeed and make the goal of my “why” a reality, I have to put the trepidation and timidity aside.

I should really be conveying a sense of confidence, urgency, and providing a CTA (call-to-action)— all of which are shown to provoke a response, more often than not.

I would certainly do this if I were writing sales copy for a client’s product or service, wouldn’t I?

Wouldn’t you?

It’s. No. Different.

Out with the Old, In with the New

I can’t tell you it will make a world of difference for you. What I can tell you is that I’ve started to receive more replies since I’ve incorporated the following changes to my closing paragraph.

Take a look at my old-school, vague, go-to closing example:

Again, thank you in advance for taking time from your schedule to review my qualifications. I hope to hear from you very soon.

Sincerely,

Renee Davis

 [yawn]

BEHOLD the new and improved closing example:

(I actually portray myself as if I really do have confidence, am in great demand and am worthy of a response!)

Again, thank you in advance for taking time from your schedule to review my qualifications. I hope to hear from you very soon. I plan to complete the proofreading of an article for Parents.com tomorrow. I will then have a nice block of time in my schedule to devote solely to you and your writing needs.

Can I look forward to a reply of how I can become a part of your extended team as your new copywriter, Nick?

Sincerely,

Renee Davis

[insert headshot and bio]

The second sentence not only conveys that I’m in demand, but lets the potential client know that in addition to copywriting, I also provide proofreading services. This could potentially lead to securing other types of work.

I’ve told the potential client I have time to devote solely to their needs. This is sure to thrill them, right?

Also, I’ve alluded to the fact that there’s a sense of urgency in filling the void in my schedule. Maybe this prompts the reader to respond and to respond a little faster? Additionally, I’m letting the reader know I am available to start immediately.

Pretty bold for a meekly-mouthed introvert, huh? I’m actually scaring myself!

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Most importantly, I have confidently asked for the response, not simply hoped for one. Essentially, I’ve asked for the job. Note the psychology. I’ve again used the contact person’s name in an effort to suggest a connection.

I’m still my subtle self and have just really stuck a toe or two outside of my comfort zone.

Perhaps a less introverted self would write an even bolder closing question?

Maybe one day.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Lastly, don’t forget your headshot and your bio. Most people like having a face to go along with a name. It also burns you into their memory. When I started adding this to my pitches, the response rate increased. I don’t have a fancy headshot, as I’m camera-shy and frugal. I just used my iPhone and positioned myself so that it didn’t scream SELFIE.

Don’t let not having a professional headshot keep you from adding this personalized, professional and response-provoking touch to your pitches.

Go for It!

So what are you waiting for? Go on out there and start pitchin’ like a boss.

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I hope you’ve found a few tweaks that you’d like to incorporate in your future pitches.

Tell us, what’s one thing you currently include that makes your emails personal, professional or provoking?

How to Get Your Pitch NoticedEntrepreneur and former educator, Renee Davis is a wife, mother, and writer-for-hire. She is an indie author and owner of Scribalocity LLC. The native Floridian survives on caffeine and Christ and resides in the Sunshine State with her son, husband, Boston Terrier, and two chickens. A self-proclaimed beachaholic, Renee is most comfortable with sand between her toes and laptop in hand; however, she spends most of her time at her desktop, wordsmithing into the night —swimming only in coffee.

Photo source: Creative Commons via LeadPages

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25 thoughts on “How to Write Pitches that Get Noticed (Easy Tweaks that WILL Make a Difference)”

  1. So great to add to the subject line and use a call to action at the close. I will add both, as I’m trying to ramp up to full time and I haven’t been doing either one. Thanks for the thoughtful tips!

  2. These are great tips, Renee. I’m thankful I’m not the only scatterbrained writer out there that forgets crucial attachments from time to time 😉

    I use a template for my pitches, which includes my resume, so I don’t have to think twice about adding it when drafting a new message. I actually start pitches through a CRM platform linked to my Gmail, but I think there are also plugins that will give you the same functionality directly within your inbox 🙂 Anything to help keep me from making a boneheaded mistake!

    I’m also curious where you add your photo. Do you insert it directly into the body of your message?

    Thanks again for the great tips!

    • Thanks for reading and for the compliments, Adam. I’m so glad you found the article helpful.

      Ah, boneheaded mistakes–don’t you just hate it when we’re human!?!

      Great idea about the template! Thanks!

      As for the headshot, I insert it directly into the body of my pitch at the end. A small headshot centered and then my bio blurb just underneath. Both are super important. Gina inspired me to not only include a headshot, but her solid example of how to create an impactful bio was so significant. Adding a bio w/the headshot was what really made a difference for me.

      Thanks again for stopping by, Adam. All my best to you!

  3. Thanks for sharing these actionable tips Renee–as a fellow introvert, my closing also tend to stink and definitely are boring.

    I like the example you shared, and will have to revisit my pitch for the new year.

    Thanks!

    • I feel ya, Lisa. Time for we introverts to rise up! LOL

      Thanks for reading. I am so glad you found the example helpful. It’s awesome that you took the time to let me know. I can’t wait to see what a little tweak does for your 2016 pitches. Please keep me posted.

      All my best to you in the coming new year! Go get ’em, you introvert, you! xo

  4. This is so helpful! I’m also an introvert, and have the hardest time selling myself (I can practically feel my trepidation oozing out of my words sometimes). These tips are great, and I’m absolutely going to incorporate them into my email pitches. BTW, your headshot looks fabulous 🙂

    • Jessica,
      Thank you for the compliments and for making me smile!
      This is my year to stare fear in its ugly eye–maybe even punch it in the throat! Wanna join me?!? Together we can do it!
      I am thrilled that you’re going to incorporate the tweaks into your email pitches. Please let me know how things go for you in 2016. Something tells me this is The Year of the Introverts!
      Fear be gone!
      Happy Writing!
      xo

  5. Hi Renee,

    Wow, those are really great tweaks! I realized I do none of the above(!) so definite room for improvement. Thanks for showing us how it is done.
    I will also ‘steal’ your idea of follow up Friday, after I noticed that I only think of following up when the puddle most definitely has dried up i.e. days/weeks later.

    • Mariken,
      I am six kinds of stoked that you are going to implement the tweaks! And steal away, my friend, steal away! Follow Up Friday will make a world of difference!
      Thanks so much for letting me know that the article was helpful. Please keep me posted on how things change for you in 2016. I want to celebrate your successes with you!

      YOU GOT THIS!
      xo

  6. I really liked your example of a closing. As I was reading the article I was trying to figure out how to word something a bit more (or a lot more) confident then I already use. Old faithful “I look forward to working with you.” Being able to do the whole I’m able to respond to your questions this week and be able to start your project on XXX day would be even better.

    Thanks for the tips.

    • Calyie,
      Thanks for reading and for commenting! I’m so glad that you found a tweak for your pitch closing. I sincerely hope this will make a difference in your conversion for 2016.
      Thanks again!
      Happy Writing!

  7. Thanks Renee, what a good read! I am going to tweak a few things myself! I have been as absent minded as you when it comes to attachments and not fixing parts of the email. So, thank you I am glad I am not alone 🙂

    • Glad you like it, Janine. And I really hope the tweaks make a difference. The checklist is really making things easier for me. Make sure you download it if you haven’t already. We absent-minded folk have to stick together and have each others’ backs! LOL
      Keep in touch with me Janine. I’d love to celebrate your wins in 2016!
      Happy Pitching!

  8. Thanks for sharing these tips Renee! I DO end my emails with a soft, “Looking forward to hearing from you” and I will definitely tweak my closer after reading this.

    P.S.
    I’m from Florida too! How are you enjoying our nice, warm December? Nothing like Christmas in flip flops. 😉

  9. Fellow Floridian??? Great News! Yes, we are definitely livin’ the dream here, aren’t we?! It is supposed to start cooling off in a day or two. So we’ll be freezing when it turns 60, won’t we?! LOL
    Thanks for taking the time to read my post and for commenting. I’m so glad that you found a little nugget in there that you can make use of. I sincerely hope that it helps you seal the deal–lots of them–in 2016. Let me know how it changes things for you. I
    I’d love to celebrate your success! And be sure to download a copy of the checklist.
    So nice to meet you!
    Happy Pitching.

  10. This is great, Renee! Thanks for sharing your pitching strategies. After reading this, I decided to beef up my closing/call to action on my most recent pitch:

    Thank you in advance for your consideration, Mr. Volkov. I’m completing a few projects over the next couple of days, but will be available to help produce whatever content you need after the New Year. Please hit, “Reply” to let me know what I can take off of your plate.

    • THAT’S AWESOME, JOE! Thanks for letting me know that you found the post helpful! I am in love with that last sentence of yours. Mind if I steal it? Yes, the offering of taking something off one’s plate is truly appealing, especially during this busy time of the year! I can’t wait to hear from you again to let me know you’ve sealed the deal. Great job on “asking” for the job. You Rock!
      All my best and happy pitching in 2016!

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