Day 32 – I’m on to part 8 of how to become a freelance writer and earn your first $1000.
On day 31 I introduced you to cold pitching. Cold pitching involves making contact with prospects who know nothing about your services.
But how exactly do you find these prospects?
Well, it starts with narrowing your search by using certain client criteria and using tried and tested techniques to find these companies.
Choose your clients based on your positioning and their location.
If you’ve positioned yourself as a health writer, you’ll improve your odds of success by targeting health, fitness, and lifestyle websites. I positioned myself by service so I had a lot of choices.
But, I still selected several niches, stuck to those, and searched for clients based on those niches. Some of the niches included business, start-up, and technology companies.
Filter by Location
Certain countries will prove more lucrative than others. For example, the chances are pretty good that publication and websites in the United States of America will pay more than those in India. So, for the challenge I focused on these countries:
Many of these countries were recommended by Bamidele, so I thought, “Hey, why don’t I target these?”
Once you’re clear on your ideal client, it’s time to find them.
Techniques to Find Clients
Use Google and Linkedin to find companies. These were the two techniques I used for Bamidele’s Challenge, on my quest to earn my first $1000 as a freelance writer.
Using Google search, type the keywords into the search engine e.g. “technology companies”, or if you’re targeting publications, “technology magazines”. You can filter results/searches according to search criteria. It’s useful to help you filter by country.
Here’s how to do this
Type your keyword. Take note of Google suggestions e.g. “largest software companies”. You can use these for future searches.
On the next page click on Advanced Search Under the Settings tab.
You’re then given the option to narrow your search results e.g. by country. When done, click Advanced Search.
Now, scroll through the Google pages and visit links that are of interest. Rinse, and repeat the process using variations of keywords for your niche e.g. instead of “technology companies” use “technology startups”.
Take note of the following when searching for and visiting sites:
Do they have a blog? If they do, they could benefit from your services. Conversely, if they don’t you could send a pitch emphasising the benefits of blogging and that it’s a service you offer.
Companies that use Google Ads are more likely to have the budget to spend on a freelance writer.
Their Google rank. If they’re high up, they understand the value of content marketing. It’ll be easier to bag these clients as you don’t have to explain the value of content marketing for their business. Conversely, companies further down can benefit from an improved blogging strategy.
What does their site look like? If it looks professional, they’re more likely to spend money on a quality freelance writer.
Any company worth pitching for is probably on Linkedin. Use the search function ant type in the type of company you’re looking for. For example:
Take note of the company size e.g. the number of employees. A company of 1-10 employees may not have the budget. Remember the goal is to land high paying clients. You don’t want to write for $5 an article do you? Targeting companies with 50 or more employees is usually a good bet.
As you find companies I recommend updating all this information on a spreadsheet.
Create a Spreadsheet
Create a spreadsheet with the name of the company and the URL. Find a total of 100 companies to start. This will be the spreadsheet you’ll use to update editor’s name, contact details, and track your progress as you send out cold pitches.
So, I suggest you create a spreadsheet with the following headings or a variation thereof (these are the exact headings I used in my spreadsheet for Bamidele’s challenge).
Follow up 1
Follow up 2
In the upcoming posts, I’ll be exploring how to find editors’ names and contact details, as well as how to craft a successful pitch.
I’ll share the template I used to send out roughly 80 pitches that landed me two clients, one of which paid me $300/ article and has since then become one of my most lucrative freelance writing clients.
From today until early next week I’ll be writing two articles for them that’ll pay me $800. Not bad right? And the beauty of it? These don’t take too long. I complete one article over the course of two days, including sleep time, rewriting, editing and a lot of procrastination 🙂
Anyways until the next post…
Feel free to email me at nick (at) nickdarlington.com if you have any questions.
Day 31 – How to land high paying clients by cold pitching
On day 29 I finished the guest posting section. I’ll re-iterate the importance of guest posting for establishing social proof as a freelance writer.
Guest posting allows you to leverage the name and prestige of major publications. Also, when pitching it’ll allow you to command higher rates.
Today I shift focus toward cold-pitching which is the best way to land high paying clients and become a freelance writer. Bamidele is a strong advocate of it and so is Jorden Roper.
I mean Jorden offers a “Killer Cold Emailing Course”, where she says, “Stop fucking around. Start winning high paying clients.” It works. There are no two ways about it.
It’s a technique I used to kickstart my freelance writing career. I landed two clients from approximately 100 cold pitches, which allowed me to make my first $1000 in two months.
One client paid me $300 aa article. Yes, $300! That’s a far cry from the early days where I was earning $15 a post writing for Lifehack. I have friends who achieved similar feats. The likes of Richard Rowlands and Ciaran Gilligan.
So I can tell you cold-pitching works.
But, it’s a numbers game. You’ll need to put in the hard work and send a lot of pitches.
Many people won’t reply, even after you’ve sent follow-ups.
You should not let this deter you. If you put in the hard work, you will land a client. I guarantee you this much.
All I ask is that you use the strategy and templates I provide.
If you’ve sent hundreds of pitches and aren’t getting responses please send me your pitch together with the subject line of your emails.
The reason I say this is because someone emailed me the other day saying he’s sent close to 200 pitches with a very low response rate. I immediately knew something was wrong.
I analysed the subject line of his email. It read something like this: “Hire Me to Improve Your Content Marketing”.
That title doesn’t work as it’s too pushy. You’re asking them to hire you before they’ve even opened and read the email. Chances are his open rates were low.
Also, he was using a solid pitch template, but there were spelling mistakes and issues with his English. That’s off-putting for any editor.
So, whilst the strategy works it’s important to make sure your pitch, subject line, and English are up to scratch, else you’ll get nowhere, and at best get the odd reply. And I don’t want that for you. I want to see you succeed.
So, in the posts that follow I’ll be showing you how to succeed as a freelance writer with the technique of col-pitching. I’ll be focusing on:
Criteria for selecting clients.
Techniques to find these clients and their contact details – many of these I’ve already mentioned in the guest posting section.
Crafting a pitch – I’ve shared a guest posting pitch template, but I’ll also provide you with a template for cold pitching. I’ll also share a nice subject line that has great open rates. I use it all the time.
Following up – again this is a technique I touched on in the guest posting section. Use the 3-7-7 formula.
Tracking your progress – it’s important to track your progress in a spreadsheet. If you don’t, you’ll get overwhelmed as you try to track all the pitches you’ve sent.
That about covers it.
So, prepare yourself for the final few posts that will provide you with enough content, tips, tricks, and information to help you become a freelance writer.
The goal here is to land high-paying gigs, not $5 for a 500-word post. That’s a slap in the face, and you should not be writing for that amount of money.
But, I want to re-iterate the following: I can’t make you take action. I can’t control your mindset or motivation. It’s not up to me. It’s up to you.
If you’re complaining that you’re not getting results and you’ve only sent 20 pitches, send more. This is hard work. How bad do you want this?
If you’re still seeing no results after 100 plus pitches with minimal response rates, send me your pitch and subject line, and I’ll review it for you.
Also if your English is poor, well then you need to improve it. How can you expect an editor to hire you if you’re making basic mistakes that are noticeable to someone who’s fluent in English?
This strategy works. I’m proof of that and I want you to get results. I want you to become a freelance writer and/or help you climb out of that pit you’re in, writing for content mills, earning peanuts. But I can only guide you.
The ball’s in your court.
How will you proceed?
Feel free to email me at nick (at) nickdarlington (dot) com if you need help
Day 29 – I continue showing you how to land your first $1000 as a freelance writer. This post is a continuation from day 27. I’ll show you what to do to get featured in a major publication, boost your credibility and help you command higher rates.
For social proof, you want to target a few major publications. As I mentioned on day 27, you only need to get featured in one major publication to attain this social proof and move on. Remember you want to get your first $1000 as quickly as possible. Sure, being featured in more than one is a nice to have. But it’s not necessary. Here’s a 7 step process:
1. Choose your publications
Pick five publications. Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company and Business Insider are good places to start.
2. Decide on article ideas to pitch
To do this you need to understand what content they publish on their site. Visit the different categories e.g business, lifestyle etc.
Pay attention to articles that have many shares and high engagement and approach it from a different angle. Also, read the editorial guidelines; often editors will tell you’re what they’re looking for. Give them what they want and the chances of them accepting your pitch will be a lot higher.
3. Find the editor’s name
A simple Google search or visit to the companies pages will yield the desired results. Huffington Post, for example, have all their editor’s names listed.
4. Find the editor’s email address
Use email finding apps like Voila Norbert, Lusha, FindThat and email Hunter. I’ve already written a post on this. Click here to read it.
5. Craft your pitch
The important point is to keep it concise. Editors are busy people and get thousands of emails daily. Again I’ve already written a post on how to craft a pitch to an editor. Read it.
I share a pitch template you can use, together with a headline that works. I also share my successful pitch to Huffington post.
6. Submit your pitch to the editor
Do not use online submission forms. These online publications received hundreds, if not thousands of pitches daily. So, to stand out amongst the masses send an email to the source. Show you’re willing to go the extra mile. Go straight for the kill.
7. Follow up using the 3-7-7 formula
Often you won’t hear back from the editor. It may be that they didn’t like your pitch. Or it may be they liked it, marked it for follow-up but forgot to follow up among the host of other things they’re doing.
I can’t tell you how many times they reply after I’ve followed up. I use the 3-7-7 formula advocated by professional blogger and freelance writer, Bamidele Onibalusi.
Here’s how it works. If you hear nothing after 48 hours, follow up on the third day. If after that you still hear nothing after a further 6 days, follow up on day 7. Repeat 7 days later if you’ve still not received a reply. If still nothing two days after that, kill it.
Rinse and repeat this 7 step process for major publications until you get featured.
Click here for the next post. This is where the fun begins toward achieving that $1000. The focus is on cold pitching for high paying clients. I used this technique to bag $300 for one article!
Feel free to email me at nick (at) nickdarlington (dot) com
Day 27 – back to writing about how to earn your first $1000 and become a freelance writer. Today’s focus is on establishing credibility with guest posting.
It’s been a while since I posted about the strategy to earn your first $1000 as a freelance writer. I wrote five posts on this with the focus on the importance of establishing your foundation as a freelance writer, and how to go about it. Below is the breakdown of what I covered:
If you’re reading this and haven’t read the above, I’d suggest you start with the introduction.
The focus now shifts towards establishing credibility through guest posting. Guest posting means writing and publishing a blog post on someone else’s blog for free.
The goal of guest posting is to establish your social proof by leveraging the name of a major publication. If you’re starting out it doesn’t have to be a major publication. You can pitch for smaller blogs.
But if you want more power when negotiating and the ability to command higher rates I’d suggest focusing on the major publications like Huffington Post, Forbes etc. Getting featured in one is all it takes. You don’t have to be in all of them.
Before the challenges started I was already featured in a few publications like Lifehack and Motivation Grid. So I acknowledge I had an advantage. But I still wanted to get featured in Huffington Post to improve my social proof.
Using the techniques outlined by Bamidele I’ll show you step by step how to get featured in a major publication. If you want to jump straight to my successful pitch for the Huffington Post, feel free to read this post I published on the blog a few days ago.
Click here for part 6 I take you through the process of how to get featured, from finding editors emails, coming up with ideas to pitch, to crafting a pitch.
Feel free to email me at nick (at) nickdarlington (dot) com
Day 24 – the launch of WriteWorldwide – the go-to resource for freelance writers who use English as a second language.
I’ve talked a lot about how I followed a strategy laid out by Bamidele Onibalusi to earn my first $1000 as a freelance writer. Bamidele created a pseudonym, followed a strategy, gave himself two months to achieve $1000 and in the process shared everything with those who followed. He also created a Facebook group, which is 2000 members strong.
That Facebook group was instrumental in helping others (like me) achieve the goal. People shared success stories, tips, and resources to help each other. People who asked for advice received it. This sense of helping one another succeed continues as I write this.
But the group goes beyond being a resource to help people become freelance writers. Amazing connections have, and no doubt will continue to be made, amongst freelance writers from all over the world. It is in this group that I connected with four other freelance writers. Richard Rowlands, Ciaran Gilligan, Yassir Sahnoun and myself noticed pain point and struggles experienced by all writers, especially those who use English as a second language (ESL writer’s).
So, we decided to create a resource catering to this group. After months of collaboration, Skype calls, interactions on Slack (great tool for remote teams) jokes, laughs and brainstorming we’re pre-launching WriteWorldwide (the go-to resource for freelance writer’s who use English as a second language).
In the months that follow we’ll provide bucket loads of free and actionable content to help people become freelance writers and advance their writing careers. We’ll also be interviewing top freelancers and sharing templates you can use to land clients.
We’re officially launching on March 1st, but have some giveaways for early subscribers like eBooks from top freelance writers Carol Tice and Bamidele Onibalusi and one-hour free consultation with the WriteWorldwide team. All new subscribers will also receive an e-mail series to help them land their first writing gig, and 30% off one month of language tuition from our friends at Rype.