And, of course, we’ve also already covered how pitching is the only way to truly be in control of your business and your income and why “easier” ways of finding work (I’m looking at you, Upwork and Freelancer!) are actually the fast track to disappointment and burnout.
So, we’re all sold on pitching, right? Okay. Today we’re digging into 5 ways to take your pitches from forgettable to outstanding. Let’s dive in!
1. Get it to the Right Person
This sounds like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at how many people skip right over it. When you’re sending out a pitch, don’t send it to the general company email address—or worse, through the company “contact us” page. (What a great way to get your pitch lost!) And don’t pitch through the comments on posts, through comments on social media, or through DMs on social media. Get. It. To. The. Right. Person.
It might take a little research, but it’s almost always possible to find the email address for the person you want to get to. For one-person to, say, five-person companies, that’s usually the founder. Bigger than that and you want to talk to the marketing director. For large companies with an in-house creative team (which you know because you did your research, right?), you want to target the creative director.
Use LinkedIn to find people who are working at the company you want to pitch.
You can use tools like Hunter.io to find email addresses, but more often than not, the email will take one of the following conventions:
- [FirstInitial, LastName]@[CompanyName].com
- [FirstName, LastName]@[CompanyName].com
2. Make It Personal
Do not, under any circumstances, send out mass email pitches. There is no surer way to get your email deleted and, quite possibly, get yourself marked as a spammer. Sure, it seems easy—but that doesn’t mean it’s effective. Also, you don’t need to reach 1,000 people all at once.
Take the time to personalize each pitch you’re sending out, meaning taking the time to do the research, find out what projects they’re working on and who they’re with, and figuring out ways you can help them. Which segues nicely into point 3…
3. Offer Ideas
Let me ask you a question. Which kind of email do you think will get a better response?
- An email asking for something, or
- An email giving something
It’s no surprise that the right answer is the latter. If your whole approach to pitching is “please give me a job,” it’s going to go nowhere fast. But, instead, if your pitch is focused around well-researched and well-thought-out ideas for marketing and advertising (that, oh, by the way, you could help them implement), you’re going to go so much farther.
Any time to reach out to someone, especially a stranger, make it your goal to be of value. And, as a bonus point, be sure to do it in a friendly, helpful way. “You need to do XYZ” isn’t going to win you friends. But “I had an idea and wanted to send it along in case it’s helpful” probably is.
4. Convey your USP
You know, your USP: Your unique selling point. What you bring to the table that no other copywriter does. You need to convey what makes you different from other copywriters they’re in contact with, and you need to help them understand why you’re the best person to take on a project.
Think about it: If a creative director gets pitched by three different copywriters at the same time and all of them sound roughly the same, who is she going to pick? Frankly, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe the one with the more recent samples, maybe the one who emailed her last, maybe the one whose last name reminds her of her third-grade teacher.
My point is that when there’s no clear differentiator, you lose any kind of input in her decision making. Conveying your USP is how you set yourself apart and give yourself the best chance of getting her to reach out to you.
5. Make the ask
This seems obvious, too, but it’s shocking how many people never ask for what they want—or, more commonly, kind of “half ask.” I get it: Sending an email out into the ether, to a stranger no less, seems kind of scary. (Though, again, I’ll remind you of the many reasons it shouldn’t be.)
So, when people get to the end of their pitch, they’re hesitant to actually say what they want—to actually PITCH the client. Instead, they say things like, “Feel free to reach out if you’d like more tips” or “I’d love to chat about a few more of my ideas; let me know if you have time.”
Here’s the thing: At this point, you’ve already established that you know what you’re doing AND you have good ideas for them. This is not the time to be subtle or to dance around what you want. (You’re a copywriter! Remember the clear CTA!) Instead, be clear and be confident.
You can even start out with “I’d love to chat about a few more of my ideas” but then follow that up with something like, “Do you have time next week to talk?” You’re a business person. They’re a business person. Nobody has time for the back and forth of “Mm, maybe, do you want to….?” Get to the point. Again, be friendly, but be efficient! Inviting someone to reach out for more tips isn’t a pitch and isn’t going to get treated like one. You’ve done your research, made it personal, offered well-thought-out ideas—now is the time to show up like a professional and make the pitch.
Okay, there you have it! Now, it’s your turn: Which one of these points was the biggest revelation for you? Or which one do you think you most need to work on? Let me know in the comments below!
Last Updated on September 12, 2023