As a freelance writer, I’m often asked by clients to send them a pitch with multiple topics which I would write for them should I be contracted as their content writer. Though this seems like a reasonable ask, there are many prospective clients (who I haven’t built a relationship with) who will take those pitches and hire someone else to write them, or use them to create their own content. I ran across an article about a famous graphic designer/font designer, who refuses to provide free pitches, and I could definitely empathize.
I was thinking about pitching a couple of weeks ago, as I was asked to pitch to a client who made a special request, and I really wanted to write for them. I had made three pitches with any response, and I wondered if I wasted my time pitching to this client, and a few other clients at the same time. It took some time, yet I contracted with a few of the clients after several days . Graphic design and digital content writing are different skillsets, so I’ve changed my perspective on pitching lately.
The power and perils of pitching B2B content
Pitching topics for blogs, white papers and ebooks isn’t as simple as picking an idea out of the air. It’s important to take stock of your existing content, and decide on keywords, themes which are important for your company to convey to your customers. As a contract writer, I’ll often evaluate what your competitors are publishing, including articles and long-form gated content. As a marketing executive, you’ll likely have more insights into
- What your customers are asking about
- How your existing content is ranking on search engines
- How your content doing in terms of converting browsers to buyers
- Your conversion rates on goals like contact form submissions, product purchases and downloads
I frequently get invited to pitch on content marketing platforms, to offer my services to their clients. It provides a prospect with peace of mind that I understand what their company does, their value proposition, and that I can effectively describe scenarios and use cases that tell good brand stories.
As I started my freelance writing career, I would pitch to clients, and if I didn’t hear back, I would likely never approach them again. Experience has changed that perspective, and I’ll often pitch multiple times to a client I really want to work with.
When I’m invited to make a “Hot Pitch”, I tend to make the pitch more detailed, with an H1 headline, an introductory paragragh, H2 subheadings, a short conclusion, and a call to action when it makes sense. For cold pitching or casual pitches (to companies I don’t have a relationship with) I’ll usually make it much shorter, focus on building credibility, and lead with my portfolio of work for similar customers.
Ideation is part science, part imagination
Pitching is more complex than just throwing out at few ideas. There is research on what a prospective client’s competition is writing about, what pertinent article topics are trending and even what your company wants to prioritize in the short term. I work with many clients who prefer to provide me with an article or whitepaper brief, or even a topic, and we start the project with an outline which includes the a brief introduction, the high level points of the content, and some on-page/off-page links to background resources.
When I work with a client, I really appreciate open, clear communication. If a pitch I make isn’t ideal, or if it isn’t a priority for you right now, it would be great to pitch to you again. The Toronto Blue Jays and other baseball teams get three pitches before striking out (a batter, I know) so a couple of quick signals helps me to throw one down the middle of the plate. With many of my clients, I ensure I have a contract in place before I start pitching. If none of my pitches ends up with a “home run” idea, (based on a client’s feedback), there’s no work completed, and no charge to you, as my customer. The more pitches we discuss, the more I will learn about your business, and I’ll become a more effective part of your content creation team.
When I pitch to clients and they turn me down and use those ideas with another writer, or do it inhouse, it feels like a fast ball on the arm. Though if that is the way a client does business, it’s really a win for me in the long run not to collaborate with them.
Web content writing is like using a chalkboard, not a stone tablet
The great thing about digital content is that it is easily modified, restructured for a better user experience, and edited many times over. If a client wants changes to the wording of an article, it’s easy to make changes on a content management system like WordPress, or using the collaborative editing functions of Google Docs or Microsoft Word. I’ve edited content for my clients, and I am happy to make a couple of rounds of changes to get a pitch, outline, article, whitepaper or e-book content right.
Marketing managers, CEO’s and other executives I work with want their digital content to get their company found online, build business authority, and convert browsers to buyers. I completely understand that, and I am writing this article for those same reasons. You want to work with a writer that takes the time to understand your business, can write in your company’s “voice” and inspire your audience to act. I share those goals, and I’m happy to take the time to take your ideas, outlines and topics and craft content which bring those ideas to life.
- Writing keyword rich headlines, subheads and content
- Creating content which is conversational, targeted at your ideal persona/audience
- Use UX best practices in laying out articles which make content more digestible on a browser (mobile and/or desktop)
- Editing my content for grammar, spelling and flow
- Editing my content based on a customer’s constructive feedback
If you are a B2B marketing manager, or another professional seeking a competent, freelance content or copywriter who is invested in your business success, it would be great to have a conversation with you on the phone or over Skype or Google Hangouts. You’ve invested heavily to get your web presence to where it is today. I can create quality content to help you reap better rewards from your digital marketing channel.
Are you looking to expand your content marketing efforts, but don’t have the time, or core competency to develop high quality content? Whether you are looking for a writer to pitch you ideas, or have some topics or briefs you want converted into articles or whitepapers, I’d be happy to partner with you to meet these goals, so please contact me or set at appointment through my Calendly link.
Are you a fellow freelance writer, looking for better freelance pitching strategies? Check out Clearvoice’s Freelance Guide to Better Pitching. I’ve learned from it, and other webinars and Facebook Live events Clearvoice hosts on the topic.