7 Common Avoidable Cold pitching Mistakes New freelance writers make

cold pitching, freelance writers

Cold pitching is the commonest means writers contact potential clients for writing jobs. But freelance writers, who are not vast in cold pitching, usually, make too many mistakes.

However, there are other methods of getting writing jobs online other than cold pitching. See 20 Ways to Find Freelance Writing Jobs (as a Beginner) for details.

Cold pitching simply means contacting agencies, companies, startups and magazine publications for writing jobs through email.

Here Is Benefits Freelance Writers Drive From Cold pitching.
  • It gives writers wider geographical reach.
  • It saves time and energy.
  • It's reliable. 
  • It's flexible. 
  • It's less competitive than other methods
Notwithstanding the benefits of cold pitching, there are avoidable cold pitching mistakes most freelance writers make.

And as result of these avoidable mistakes, discussed below, most freelance writers stay longer than expected before closing writing gigs.

1) Pitching Editors Through a Generic Email Addresses

This is one commonest, avoidable, cold pitching mistakes new freelance writers make.

 Generic email addresses of  magazines or newspaper publications include something like these:

  • editor@PUBLICATION NAME.com
  • admin@PUBLICATION NAME.com
The above email addresses are usually listed at the end of the submission pages of most blogs, or publications looking for freelance writers to work for them. These email addresses are there for everyone, who wants to contribute for them, to submit his/her article.

 Again, some of these submission pages have contact forms for contributors to fill.

Inasmuch as these generic email addresses serve many freelance writers, it is very rare to get a reply when you cold pitch prospects through them.

It takes some luck for you to hear from prospects if you cold pitch through generic email addresses because most of them are inundated with other engagements."

What Are You Suppose to do?

In order to avoid this mistake, always send your cold emails direct to prospects private email addresses.

If you're pitching an editor of a magazine,for instance, it's easy these days because most editors publish their email addresses on their websites for anyone, who want to contribute for them, to see and use.

However, you can search for editors' email in google by simply typing "EDITOR's name + EMAIL" on google web address bar and send. If you do this correctly, you will see the editor email address in some of the posts that will show in the result.

How do I  Get The Name of an Editor?

The best place to search for names of editors is to look at the editor's profile in Linkedin

To get this easily, type the name of PUBLICATION + EDITOR in the search button located at the right-hand side of the home page and the names of its editors will show in the result out of which you sort out to get the one you are looking for.

2)  Pitching an Already Published Post

This is another cold pitching mistake new freelance writers make, and it's one of the reasons why most editors reject proposed articles.

Freelance writing is highly competitive now, and nobody wants to deal with a novice or an amateur.

Strive to keep every content spotless. I'm not talking about writing your own thought alone because there are     great tips out there     which you can get from other writers. I mean submitting a copy that is actually written by you.

It's the uniqueness of content that counts not volume. And it's interesting to know the very proposed article you send to big magazine publications is usually subjected to thorough, cumbersome test before it's published.

Most editors thoroughly check articles before they pass it on for publication, and they turn down every piece they discover has been published elsewhere.

If you pitch a blog with a copy of content which is copyright of another freelance writer, you will rarely get hired because no reputable blog today publish such content.

Also, if you download a published post of another freelance writer, and tweak it so as to use it as your own, it  is a clear display of incompetence on your side

I insist on giving out original and unique content with no plagiarized point, this is one of the reasons why clients kept seeking me out.

Again, I believe it's better to take time and research your post before pitching client than to send pitches with attaching files that aren't yours.

3)  Pitching Many Editors With One Proposed Article

This is another costly cold pitching mistake new freelance writers make that rob them of great chances.

It's not a mistake per say because it's done deliberately most time.

 You must understand that Pitching a client for writing gig is different from pitching an editor or a bigger blog for an assignment. They differ both in motive and procedure.

When you pitch a client, you're looking for a freelance writing job, but when you pitch an editor as a guest writer; you're trying to gain social proof or backlinks depending on what you're looking for. So the procedure shouldn't be the same.

While pitching a client, you can get someone email sample, tweak it to suit you, and send it to as many clients as possible. But you can't do this when you're pitching an editor or a blog as a guest writer.

Many writers do this often without knowing the consequences. See the brilliant work of Elizabeth Wager, in her post titled,

Why You Should not Submit your Work to More Than One Journal at a Time

Again, most freelance writers (especially young ones) are desperate to get their article published, so they engage in every conceivable shortcut to get editor's approval.

There are dangers associated with this kind of practice. For instance, where a writer send one article to two editors, both of them might agree to publish it.  And if they do, one will be publishing a license copyright work of the other because there is no way they can publish the work on the same day and time.

Furthermore, it will amount to waste of precious time of an editor, who is saddled with numerous task, to begin to review an article that has been published in another journal. And most editors will be angry with you if they discover your work has been published elsewhere and they won't reply your mail.

Magazines publications and big blogs often publish their guidelines for freelance writers and contributors. The essence is to limit writers who may come up with poor and unrelated articles. If you're not a writer in their niche, there is no need submitting an unrelated pitch because their editors will refuse it at first sight.

My advice to you is to pitch as many editors as possible, but also try to follow their contribution guidelines. Visit the About page or Article submission page to know what the journal or blog is doing, and what they want from their writers before sending your copy.

4)  Inability to Pitch the Second Idea When the First One Failed

Hard work is what makes freelance writing an interesting job, and persistence is a virtue every freelance writer must have.

Freelance writing is a game of rejection. Yeah! you have to gird your loins to see many. It takes persistence and hard work to move up and earn more.

Thus, vital cold pitching mistake new freelance writers make is to give up on an editor who failed to  reply to their first mails.

When an editor/client failed to reply to your mail, many things could be responsible.

  1. It could be the editor is busy with other things.
  2. It could be the editor has seen the proposed article and felt it does not meet up the requirement of his agency.
  3. It could be he/she has glanced through the email, see some typos, and felt you wouldn't be able to deliver.
  4. It could be your idea is wrong.
  5. It could be he/she has deleted the email.
  6. He/she replied to the first email and tell you he is"busy now". He intended to reply latter which he/she forgot to do.
The list is unending why ediors/potential clients refuse to reply to emails
What you're supposed to do in this circumstance is to follow up. 

This article is not for FOLLOW UP, but I will comment briefly on it as my next point because follow up is a topic of its own in freelance writing.

When you try to follow up and it's not yielding results, I suggest you pitch your next idea.

You can search the agency's website to see if your first idea is in line with its trending topic.  If it's not trending idea, I suggest you pitch the second one.

There're numerous places in a blog where you will locate its vision and mission. Some blogs have theirs in their ABOUT PAGE and CONTACT PAGE.
If you check the pages above and you don't see any mission or vision statement of the blogs you want to pitch,  your next option is to check some of their published articles.

By the time you go through their blog pages and some published articles of the agency, you will definitely discover their trending posts.

Having found some ideas, Couch your pitch in line with the agency's article idea. If you don't know how to couch an attractive cold email, this post, 26 Cold Email Template Which Guarantees a Response will give you an idea, or you can consult a content writer for proper guidance.

Having prepared your email using the best idea that matches what is happening in the agency's site, send it again and wait for response.

Most times, the response you will get will change.

5)  Sending Emails With Typographical Errors

Typographical errors, inaccuracies and wrong spellings are some noticeable cold pitching mistakes new freelance writers must avoid. They are fatal mistakes capable of robbing you an opportunity of getting published because editors hate ideas with many typos.

You have to be mindful of this type of mistake not only in the body of the email alone but also in the attachments. This means you've to triple-check your samples before mailing them.

Most writers commit this blunder because they are unnecessarily in a hurry even when it is obvious that nobody is competing with them, and they aren't out of time.

Again, writers make this mistake, where they forward email written and sent to one editor or prospect to another editor or prospect, without taking time to go through it and make the necessary adjustments.

How to Avoid This Mistake

  1. Thoroughly proofread your emails before sending it. Give your email a second look before clicking SEND.  I know this may sound elementary, but it's necessary.

     2.  Make necessary adjustments and amendments if what you want to send are previously sent    emails.

     3.  Check your attachments to ensure there are no typographical errors before you mail it.

     4.  Send a corrected version of every email you mistakenly sent.

6)  Failure to Send a Follow-up Emails

    Generally, freelance Writers rarely get responses on their first emails. Replies roll in easily after several follow up emails.

    I recommend this seasoned writer, who in his post titled, " The 3-7-7 Follow Up Formula"
    shared a formula he uses to get significantly more people to respond to his email.

    You will be missing good gigs if all you do is to just send the first email without subsequent follow- up emails.

    Most prospects need some measure of intimacy with you which they might not get through social media and blog referrals. "They want to hear more about you through you". Therefore, you've to keep in touch by following them up.  This may sound illogical, but it is actually what clients want.

    Prospects don't take you serious until they see how concern you're for the work. And they want to hear about you through your own emails    not basically what others are saying about you)

    Here's a sample of a guest post follow up email I sent to a client

    From this follow up email, a client is quickly reminded of my last week email. And he is also notified of all that is contained in the email, and what he/she can do if she's interested in my work.

    There is no other way to follow up clients than to check the sent items in your email box every day, look for those clients you contacted for the past three days that have not responded and couch a fellow up email (like my own above).

    Follow up is a topic of its own in freelance writing and I will be publishing more on it in my subsequent posts in this blog.

    7)  Pitching an Idea With Different Attachment

    Most times, some writer cold-pitch ideas different from the attached files.

    This kind of mistake may be overlooked by prospects. They see it as an oversight of the writer.

    However, doing this often can be harmful. Because it shows the writer is confused and didn't understand what the editor or prospect wants.

    Your idea must correspond with your attachment. It's better to send the idea alone than to send it with an attached document that conveys different information.

    When you cold pitch with a vague attachment, the outcome may be.

    1.  Outright rejection: Your prospects will just reply you and tell you bluntly they don't need your services.

    2.  No reply: You may not get any response no matter how many times you try to follow up.

    So, check your attach documents properly before sending them. And double-check the images in the attached file to sure they look nice and presentable. If the images aren't good looking, change them with better ones    but avoid using copyrighted images because they're even more destructive.

    Check both the internal and external links in your attach files. Do not include many external links to your file for too much of it makes your work look more like another person's work.

    I' convince you've gotten something unique in this post. So, let talk on facebook  and twitter