Ever heard of the elevator pitch for writers?
It’s easy to think mad writing skills is all you really need to be a successful freelancer.
That’s what I thought after a long run as a newspaper reporter and editor.
Yes, you need the chops to write great content for your clients.
But like it or not, you ALSO need to get good at making connections, pitching prospects, and making deals.
It’s why the elevator pitch for writers is so important.
Chances are pretty good you’ve found yourself:
- On a Zoom call
- At a networking event
- In a meeting
- In line at the store, or even…
- At a friends & family function when someone asks:
Q: What do you do?
And your answer is…
If you’ve fumbled around for the right words to explain your membership in the Secret Society of Freelance Writers you’re not alone.
And these aren’t the only places the elevator pitch for freelance writers comes in handy.
Get this right, and you can weave it into your pitch letters, emails, and DMs to make connections, start conversations, and turn prospects into paying clients so you can make money writing.
Here’s what you need to know about the elevator pitch for writers:
The elevator pitch for writers in action
Freelance writing IS my primary source of income. But I’m also a personal trainer.
A couple weeks ago, I started training a dentist (and former collegiate wrestler), who wanted to get back into shape for hunting season.
And he asked the question: This isn’t your real job, is it?
(I guess personal trainers + freelance writers both get lumped into the “not a real job” category.)
Immediately, the elevator pitch for writers popped into my mind. When you’ve got this dialed in, it’s easy to open the door to landing a freelance client.
We chatted while he cranked out some deadlifts, did some burpees, and swore my name a few times.
And by the end of the workout, we set up a time to chat about a copywriting project, too.
That’s the elevator pitch for writers in action.
So how do you create your own elevator pitch to make more connections?
1. Pick a niche
I had to learn this the hard way.
I was a general assignment reporter for years, meaning I wrote about everything…crime, education, government, business, sports, lifestyle, health.
That might work in the news business, but it doesn’t work for freelancers.
Before you can tap into the power of the elevator pitch for writers, you need to pick a niche.
Why? Picking a niche helps you:
- Focus your marketing efforts on a specific niche, industry, and persona
- Helps you avoid getting lost in The Sea of Sameness overflowing with “general freelance writers”
- Become an expert on ONE specific niche/industry instead of spreading yourself too thin
- Speak the language of editors and marketing directors who need your help
DO THIS: Get clear on your niche as a freelance writer. (For example: My niche is health and fitness.)
2. Be helpful
Here’s a little exercise I want you to try to help you craft your elevator pitch:
- Go to LinkedIn
- In the search bar at the top of the page, type in: “I help” writer
- Then click the People tab
You’ll get search results for freelancers and copywriters who are using “I help” in their LinkedIn headline.
Scan through a bunch of these and look at how writers using this LinkedIn headline convention are doing it.
It looks something like this:
- I help (niche clients) achieve (specific goal).
- I help (niche clients) solve (specific problems).
DO THIS: Brainstorm a list of ways you can help potential clients solve problems, create content, build authority, reach more people, sell, etc. (The next step to the elevator pitch for writers is cutting this down to a bite-sized message)
3. Keep it simple
Fun fact….When I lived in South Africa a lifetime ago, Claire C. Gaisford founded the K.I.S.S. party, and ran for president against Nelson Mandela. She didn’t stand a chance.
But the name stuck with me.
K.I.S.S. = Keep It Straight and Simple
It’s good advice for the elevator pitch for writers.
Identify ONE specific problem your clients have, and use it to explain how you can help them solve it.
Beware of resistance
Chances are pretty good you’re going to have a little freakout over this.
“But I do a lot more than just one thing, or one type of writing.”
Yep. That’s right.
But if you try to solve every problem for every kind of client in your elevator pitch, you’ll probably:
- Turn into a rambling mess
- Bore prospects to tears
- Sound like a know-it-all
- Suck at getting conversations started (all common problems I’ve seen after reviewing hundreds of pitches inside the Freelance Writers Den)
And that’s not what you want.
INSTEAD, when you make your elevator speech specific, clear and simple, prospects are a lot more likely to respond like this:
- That’s exactly what I need help with.
- Oh really? Do you do other types of writing?
- You sound like the perfect writer for something we need help with. Can we set up a call?
As a self-described introvert, I’m OK with this approach to marketing.
You’re not hard-selling anything. You’re just putting yourself out there, being helpful, and conversations naturally start from there.
DO THIS: Pick your top 1-2 ideas from your “Be Helpful” list and turn it into your elevator pitch. Cut it down to 2-3 sentences you can use when someone asks, “What do you do?” or a variation you can plug into a letter of introduction.
Here’s what mine look like:
- In person: I’m a freelance writer. I help health and fitness businesses create content for their website, blog, and marketing materials.
- LOI. I’m a health and fitness copywriter and content strategist. I’ve helped brands like UFC Gym, Health IQ, Downsize Fitness, and many others. And I’m not just a slob cranking out copy, I’m also a NASM-certified personal trainer & ultrarunner.
4. Build confidence
Once you get your elevator pitch dialed in (no more than 2-3 sentences), you’ve got to get comfortable with it.
For writers, that’s probably easier in an LOI pitch or query letter…
- Highlight your strengths
- Show editors and marketing directors how you can help them.
- And do it with confidence.
In person, this might take a little more practice. It might sound dumb, but…
- Practice saying your elevator pitch in the mirror.
- Record yourself with your phone or camera and practice your elevator pitch.
- Roleplay your answer to the question “What do you do?” with family or friends.
You’re one conversation away from landing a new freelance client.
The elevator pitch for writers is a tool that helps you make connections, start conversations, and ultimately book for freelance work. Follow these steps to create your own to move up and earn more.
Evan Jensen is a copywriter for health & fitness businesses. He’s also a personal trainer, ultramarathon runner and creator of Built to RUN.