8 Tips from Finding 8 New Freelance Writing Assignments in 8 Hours

Carol Tice

By Gabi Logan

I used to be one of those writers who avoided pitching.

I’d try to find work through contacts . . . online ads . . . in-person networking . . . all the usual marketing-avoidance suspects.

But after the astonishing success of my very first pitching blitz, I’m hooked.

Why should you blitz?

Writing a series of pitches in one session allows you to stay in “the zone.”

You hit a pitching flow—confident, captivating, and just salesy enough—that makes each of your pitches more likely to succeed.

One evening, I sent out a batch of query letters and letters of introduction before bed, and when I woke up, I had eight assignments: two one-off articles, two pieces in another publication, and four articles in another!

Even better? I’d never been in contact with any of these individuals before.

Blitzing is effective, but it’s 90% preparation. Here’s how I did it:

1. Keep target markets on file

When you find out about a new market, print out some sample articles, and keep them in a “new market” folder in your purse or laptop bag. Go through your file when you have unexpected downtime, like waiting in line or to meet someone.

2. Focus on low-hanging fruit

Imagine what publications should be on your clips page that aren’t there already. I’m not talking about your dream publications, but outlets—web or print—that complement your portfolio or expertise. Or brainstorm outlets that you’ve written for, but not in a while.

3. Choose markets at similar levels

You don’t necessarily have to play it safe, but focusing on similar-level outlets during a blitz helps you stay focused. Pitch either safety, comfortable, or aspirational publications all at once.

4. Target Web editors

Send your first few pitches to web editors; they’re more connected and respond faster. When you’re doing a pitching blitz, quick responses from editors can motivate you to keep going—or at least give you a quick return on your time investment.

5. Use an unignorable subject line

Put your article title in your subject line. And make it good. Not just enticing, but similar the ones the publication already uses.

In one successful pitch, I tied the title into one of the publication’s goals—connecting travelers to locals:

“pitch: 7 Ways AirBnB Helps You Dive into Local Communities”

Squeeze in the targeted department or section if you can, like this successful pitch that also hit a priority topic from the pubs’ about page that hadn’t been covered much.

“2 Pitches: WWOOFing for Practical Traveler + Super-cheap Florence for Destinations”

6. Write pitches offline

Even if you’ve beefed up target markets in your down time, it’s easy to fall into a research black hole when pitching a new outlet. Trust your research and write the gist of your pitch offline first, with notes on any items to double check online later.

7. Go low tech

The smaller screen the better. Use a tablet or even (gasp) your phone. The small screen will keep you focused and brief and force you to spell check carefully to avoid autocorrect bloopers.

8. Pitch in the early evening

The debate on when exactly is the best to pitch editors has raged on for decades. But this works for me. Editors idly check mail from home in the evenings. One of the editors I mentioned above responded at 1:49 am.

Had a win on a pitch lately? Leave a comment and tell us what worked for you.

Gabi Logan is a freelance travel writer and blogger. While she travels the globe writing for mainstream and cultural travel publications, she collects writing productivity tips to share on her favorite writing sites.

 

17 Comments

  1. Annie

    I’ve just started pitching and this post helped me realize why I haven’t had any responses yet.

    I’m confused about how you refer to “markets”. I usually look for a publication I’d like to write for, rather than a market. Am I doing this backwards? Can you explain what you mean by a “market” and how you find out about them?

    • Carol Tice

      That’s what we mean by a market, Annie, a publication. Or a business, depending on the context. But here she was mostly pitching publications. That’s why they call it The Writer’s Market…because it lists all the publications you might write for.

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