There’s one activity you must do if you want to be a successful freelance writer or copywriter. One activity you cannot replace with any other activity. One activity that, if you do it daily, you’ll not only become a better freelance writer or copywriter … but you will even rise to greatness.
In fact, it is one activity that, if you don’t do, you will never rise above mediocrity. The one activity you must-do if you want to be a successful freelance writer and copywriter is …
Write Daily … And Pitch Like There is NO Tomorrow
Okay…it’s not really so hidden…but you would be surprised how many newbies just don’t get it.
You see, this is the type of writing you probably do every day, even when you’re traveling.
If you’re like most people, this type of writing is a quick job without much thought. You’d hardly think of it as a freelance writing activity. You just write … then click the send button.
Of course, I’m talking about email.
Now, as appose to other articles you might read here on Medium about freelance writing — in fact, it is as if the term freelance writing has taken a different meaning — at least that is my perspective from some of the articles I’ve read here on the subject lately.
Nevertheless, I am referring to the traditional profession of freelance writing, where the true meaning of the term came from.
With that said, copywriting is a special form of writing that compels the reader to take action. And, as a freelance copywriter, you should view all your writing (except shopping lists and the like) as efforts of persuasive writing.
To be blunt, the number one thing that any freelance writer or copywriter should be doing every day is writing emails and pitching article ideas like there’s no tomorrow.
With that said, it is important to make your daily emails reflect everything you’ve learned, and are learning, about effective copywriting and freelance writing.
Here are 5 strategies for doing just that …
1. Write a Headline That Sticks in the Mind of Your Reader
Your email subject line is really a headline, and if the editor you are pitching your article idea to is like most editors, he/she may have as many as 100+ emails every day to read. Or more. Your subject line should convince him/her to read your email first.
With that said, your subject line should be direct, purposeful, specific, informative, and concise.
You see, you have about 40 characters to get this concise summary across. Consider a subject line like: “Writer’s Digest article 1st draft from William Ballard.” Thirty-nine characters with the most important information at the beginning.
2. Get Off on the Right Foot With Your Editor With a Proper Intro Greeting
I’ll reveal a BIG secret. This is the stimulus for today’s article.
You see, I get tons of emails and comments from writers that want to write for my website/blog, and about a third of the time the email starts out as:
“I noticed in your last article/blog you talked about …”
No “Hello Will.” No “Hi Will.” No “Dear Will.” No intro greeting at all.
I’m always just a tiny bit irritated when I get emails like this. You see, if you saw a friend on the street, would you launch into a conversation without saying, “Hello”? Of course not. That would be unfriendly.
Your intro greeting is your opportunity to begin your email on the right foot. It also sets the personal, conversational tone for what you’ll be writing.
What intro greeting you use depends on your relationship with the recipient. When I write Jane Doe, I say, “Hi Jane.” If I’m writing John Doe, I might say, “Hello John.” If I were to write Bob Proctor, for instance, and whom I don’t really know on a personal level, I would use, “Hello Mr. Proctor” or, “Dear Mr. Proctor.”
But I always use an intro greeting for my first email of the day to that person. You should, too.
3. Make Your Emails Something Editors Want to Read
As a professional freelance writer and copywriter, you strive to make your words readable. This should be just as true with your email writing and article pitching.
Your email recipients — especially your clients/editors — live busy lives. You don’t want them to dread seeing your email in their inbox because they’re long-winded and/or hard to read.
Keep your messages short and to the point. If you’re writing for businesses (B2B), avoid unnecessary conversation … remembering at the same time to be courteous and professional.
Use short sentences and short paragraphs. Don’t run email paragraphs together. Separate them with a blank space. Hit “Enter” or “Return” twice to accomplish this.
This is important, even if you write short paragraphs. If they’re jammed together, your email will look crowded, unfriendly, and hard to read.
Email gives you the opportunity to express your personality by using a wide range of fonts and backgrounds. Don’t … especially if you’re writing to clients and/or editors.
You see, the editor would rather you use your writing skills and vocabulary to express your personality, whether than your cute emojis and supreme use of fonts, italics, and bold print.
Follow this same strategy for all your emails, even those to friends and family. Make your words be the thing that expresses your personality.
4. No One Likes a Pain in the Butt (Be Courteous and Professional)
Even if you’re incredibly upset with the recipient/editor, keep your cool. It’s easy to get angry, write, send … and then experience overwhelming regret.
Remember this: Emails reflect your professionalism.
Here’s another reason to keep your cool. Email travels. You may have a legitimate gripe with a client/editor. You send an angry, nonsense email, and without your knowing it, 25 of his/her industry associates have read what a jerk you are.
The same with personal emails. It’s better to get across your message with professional words without resorting to unprofessional behavior.
Last word about courtesy: Never use ALL CAPS. This isn’t only hard to read; it’s considered to be yelling. Don’t ever do it! And remember this: The moment you yell, you have lost control.
5. Wash Your Emails of Dirty Misspellings and Filthy Typos, No One Likes to Receive a Mess
Does your quick note to Aunt Jane need to be free of typos and misspellings? Always! Get in the habit of proofing every email you write.
Within my email program of choice, I am not able to send my message until I change or approve every flagged word.
Of course, typos will sneak through sometimes. But never write and send without re-reading your email to eliminate as many of these sneaky errors as possible.
Follow these five strategies every time you write an email to an editor to pitch a new article. And remember, the secret to becoming a successful writer of any kind is to write.
Now, what can you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
And if you are looking to finally start earning what your writing is really worth? Allow me to be your Writing Coach, and let’s take this journey together.
❤ If you liked this article, you might also love:
10 Things I Wish I Knew As a Novice Writer
10. As Writers We Don’t Choose to Write, We Have to Write!
For Writers: Getting Back to Your First Love in 2021
This article may contradict everything that you’ve read from bloggers, writers, and authors on this platform thus far…
William Ballard is one of the most sought-after business and leadership coaches in the world. As founder and CEO of William Ballard Enterprise, his core business development and leadership programs are designed to be a catalyst for entrepreneurs and leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their business, their lives, and the world. To learn more about how to get back to your first love as a writer, subscribe to the “Living The Writer’s Dream Blog”.