As a person offering professional writing and book-related services, I recognise the need to market myself. The thought makes me a little squeamish, but I know the work isn’t going to come and find me. You can tiptoe into self-promotion by going to networking events and setting up social media profiles. These are all important for building relationships. But I’ve realised over the years that direct pitching, done in a strategic way, is the most effective way of getting the work.
Come January, I will be drawing up my next round of email pitches. I aim to send out pitches each week to organisations who I think might be interested in my work. Usually, the pitches are for workshops, but they can sometimes relate to my content writing or editing services. My background in journalism is helpful in this, as I can draw on my experience of pitching to editors. It also helps me get to the point, so people aren’t reading for too long. My pitches take a certain form, and my focus is always on how I can give the organisation what it needs.
Start With a Gentle Nudge: I try not to go in all guns blazing. Instead, I introduce myself, so the person will see that there’s a context to my pitch. I then outline what it is I’m pitching to them. If they’re interested, they’ll read on. If they’re not, I won’t have taken up any more of their time than necessary.
The Meaty Middle: This is where I flesh out my pitch. I explain what form the workshop will take and why it fits with the organisation’s target audience and its overall goals. If it’s a writing festival and the programme is lacking a writing workshop for more advanced writers, my workshop would fill a hole. I also make it clear what outcome people can expect from a workshop, what skills they will learn and whether the workshop will lead to a complete piece of work.
Tie It Up At the End: End on a sweet note by thanking the person for their time. Tell them you’re looking forward to hearing from them soon. This will encourage them to contact you. And speaking of contact, make sure your contact details are prominent. Even if they’re in your email signature, write them again. People are busy, so you can never give them your contact details too many times.
Putting thought into writing your pitch does at least give you a chance of it being acknowledged. What do you do to get your pitches over the line?