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Wax Marketing Blog

Learn how to pitch freelance writers

Here’s the first of a series where I tackle journalists on the street and make them tell me what they want. Want to know how to pitch a freelancer?  Elizabeth Millard writes about business and technology for a range of publications.  I stopped her on a busy street last week and amid planes, trains and automobiles (ok maybe not trains but it sounds like it)  asked her some questions about how she likes to be pitched, what stories she likes and  her BIGGEST pet peeves. Elizabeth is based in the Twin Cities, but her advice will hit home in any market, local or national. I encourage you to watch the video for all of Elizabeth’s tips – including the phrase that makes her delete your email from her address book forever.

But for those of you too busy to watch, here are the main highlights:

  • A pitch gets her attention if the writing is really good in the pitch, even more so if it makes her laugh
  • Don’t use marketing speak in your pitches ever
  • If a freelancer tells you “no” don’t be relentless in trying to change his or her  mind
  • Only pitch product stories to writers who specifically write about product news
  • Do favors for freelancers – help them find sources even if its not for one of your clients or for your business. They’ll pay you back in the long run!
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36 Comments

  1. business outsourcing Says :
    Posted on April 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Thank you for such great information.

  2. Paul Davidson Says :
    Posted on April 11, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    There are some valuable tips there. Especially the one about good writing and making her laugh. I think that using correct grammar, combined with a sense of humour, is very important.

  3. waxmarketing Says :
    Posted on April 11, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I think people agonize so much over pitches they send they tend to get too formal. Really just the facts plus a bit of a human touch, whether it’s humor or just a friendly “hope you’re doing well” goes a long way

  4. FirstFound Andy
    Posted on April 12, 2010 at 5:35 am

    I’ll have to agree there. Over-formality isn’t the best way to start what is (hopefully) going to be a long and productive relationship.

    Connecting on a human level really helps smooth the way.

  5. Nutrition Degree Says :
    Posted on April 13, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    I really support the recommendation to stop pestering after the first no. It really sours the relationship to hound someone and your reputation can suffer as a consequence. Like the others said previously, a human touch does go a long way and it shows you can work and be effective even without a script.

    • waxmarketing Says :
      Posted on April 13, 2010 at 4:13 pm

      I also have found that when I wish them luck with the article or story post-rejection, or offer to help find sources, it goes a long way toward getting to a ‘yes’ the next time.

  6. Watch the losers
    Posted on April 14, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Thanks! Not often that people include a video example like that. I think one very important thing you said is to back off if they tell you “no”. Best to be cheerful and just say thanks anyways.

  7. Opportunities Planet
    Posted on April 15, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Nice interview, I needed a freelancer to outsourse some of my activities but I didn’t know how to choose and aproach a freelancer and found Elizabeth’s words useful!

  8. Truck Leasing | Semi Truck Financing Says :
    Posted on April 17, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    This is a great article. Due to article writing I need to sometimes do for my business, this is extremely helpful. Sometimes you just need an outsider that can take your ideas and make them clearer for you instead of writing it yourself.

  9. iphone case
    Posted on April 18, 2010 at 11:48 am

    There are some valuable tips there.Thanks!

  10. Haftpflichversicherung Pferd
    Posted on April 19, 2010 at 7:14 am

    I experienced that too. I am subscribed to alot of these “make money online” newsletters. Once in a while there mails are so full of **** that I just unsubscribe instantly. It’s like these marketing gurus have no clue about email marketing whatsover.

    Thanks for the very interesting insights!

  11. how to pitch tv talk shows | Wax Blog
    Posted on April 22, 2010 at 9:13 am

    […] the success of my last blog post on pitching freelance writers I decided to start a weekly feature called “How to Pitch”. I’d like to encourage […]

  12. Gewinne Million Says :
    Posted on May 10, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Advantageously, the post is actually the greatest on this notable topic. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be adequate, for the great lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Solid work and much success in your business enterprize!

  13. Internet Marketing
    Posted on May 31, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Amazing interview.. I am sure a lot of freelance writers will benefit from this piece.

  14. How to pitch HARO and ProfNet | Wax Blog
    Posted on June 3, 2010 at 8:46 am

    […] product, service or expertise with fancy words or oblique phrases. (Remember when we interviewed Elizabeth Millard and how much she hates the ‘thought leader’ […]

  15. 3eer
    Posted on August 10, 2010 at 12:19 am

    the post is actually the greatest on this notable topic.

  16. Lucy | Lookup tool Says :
    Posted on August 14, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Very great information, the video is very intructive, i will follow your tips to find a freelancer writer soon.

  17. Arragon Says :
    Posted on November 9, 2010 at 4:13 am

    It will be very useful to watch the video of Elizabeth’s tips.. thanks for your recommendation…

  18. hd digital media player
    Posted on November 20, 2010 at 7:50 am

    I read about a freelancer’s account on how she found the best employer she has for a year & a half now. She applied on his job post, was declined because the employer told her in an email that if he found an earlier candidate who also had her qualifications. The freelancer thanked the employer and told him to keep her on mind on his next projects. True enough, he hired her and got very satisfied with her work and continued to give her related projects. This story reminded me when I read about giving freelancers little favors on this blog post (like giving them a short but apologetic rejection emails when you feel they really are qualified for the job but you have already hired another). They will surely pay you back in the long run! Little favors beget big favors.

  19. Trade Show Booths
    Posted on February 16, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Yes, the final point in your tips is accurate. Journalism and writing is a give and take if we want to represent facts rather than fiction.

  20. Joline Sel
    Posted on April 5, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    The tips you’ve mentioned in the video are indeed convincing. I wonder what will happen if a freelance writers will know about this.

  21. Katie Smith
    Posted on April 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    “Do favors for freelancers – help them find sources even if its not for one of your clients or for your business”

    Creating connections will help you in the long run not only in the personal aspect but also in your career. Especially for writers who should be trustworthy and is able to connect to different kinds of people to get the news or topics that they needed.

    Katie Smith
    My Blog: iContact Coupon Codes 

  22. Pam White
    Posted on April 7, 2011 at 5:48 am

    I find this phrase, “If a freelancer tells you “no” don’t be relentless in trying to change his or her mind” useful, thanks for this.

    Pam White

    My last blog Kate Winslet’s Portrait on Auction

  23. Taylor Timms Says :
    Posted on April 8, 2011 at 12:59 am

    Thanks so much for making this information public. I actually need some freelancers to help with my next book.

  24. Paula Hopkins Says :
    Posted on April 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    The tips were helpful to get pitched. However, it’s still a matter of how you effectively sell yourself based on the expectations of the client/s. You cater to different clients so different approaches should also be implemented. After all, one’s strategy may not be applicable to another.

    Paula’s Last Post: Genuine Gift

  25. Rachel Says :
    Posted on April 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    The last tip is always useful…if you can’t get something immediately, take it by time, it’ll a huge return if you can get a very good freelance writer to work with you…veteran review writers are easy to worked with and most of the time they already have a good review in hand even before you mentioned the product.

  26. Anne Cole
    Posted on April 11, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Not only the last but all the tips are useful in different situations. In pitching, the communication used it different. Marketing style of communication is not applicable here.

    Anne’s blog: Anne Cole Swimsuits

  27. Max Williams
    Posted on April 12, 2011 at 2:35 am

    The tips are really nice.
    For a freelancer writer, its not just about plain text content but a bit of sense & humour has to be incculcated to make a unique content.
    Max’s last post: Max Workouts Review

  28. Trust Deed Says :
    Posted on June 1, 2011 at 6:40 am

    All excellent tips i will be using from now on. I think it is too easy to try and push a product and forget about who it is that your trying to understand it. It seems a tailored pitching style works best

  29. iPhone Repair
    Posted on August 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Ohh great piece of work thanks

  30. California Free mls Says :
    Posted on October 18, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Too much formality really can create an uncomfortable work relation specially if its a long term job. Also, when compared between freelancers and professional, I find freelancer more result oriented. Its so true, some freelancers do repay us back.

  31. Celebrity Gossips Online
    Posted on November 7, 2011 at 7:05 pm

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  32. Laure Deaderick
    Posted on March 27, 2012 at 6:40 am

    I do consider all the ideas you’ve presented to your post. They’re very convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are too quick for beginners. May you please prolong them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

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    Posted on January 12, 2013 at 5:29 am

    If you are newbie to find premium domain names then you are really a Domainbie

  34. pikavippejä
    Posted on January 8, 2015 at 11:30 pm

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  35. jamie
    Posted on February 5, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    Connecting on a human level really helps smooth the way.

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