Pitching puts you top-of-mind.
Sending article ideas to your favorite publishers and clients is akin to staying in touch with friends. If you don’t hear from them for months, you assume they really aren’t interested in hanging out much anymore.
Ditto for freelance work.
Why Am I Pitching Anyway?
Creating an article proposal, or pitch, is a way to communicate your interest and ideas to the clients you care about. With that said, if you juggle a heavy schedule and don’t actually have time to pitch, and the capacity to take on more work, stay in touch via social media or a quick email to let them know your calendar is booked or you’re taking some time off and you look forward to the next round of content.
Now, let’s get back to those ideas.
I’ll start with a funny story. I thought it’d be a good idea to sit down one day to brainstorm article ideas for multiple clients. The topics rolled off my fingertips at a lightning pace. Pitch summariesflowed.
I looked at the screen and thought, ‘I better send those pitches over ASAP.’, so, I did.
I ended up with all the ideas being accepted, and a pile of overlapping deadlines that lead to working way too many hours in a short period of time. Ouch. Of course I asked if some of the deadlines were able to move out a few days, but some were very firm.
I should have consulted my calendar and paid attention to when my clients actually wanted pitches.
Consult Your Writing Schedule: How Much Time Do You Have Available?
Be realistic. I know how appealing it can be to take on every project that comes your way, even if it means working during downtime or canceling social plans to meet a deadline. Sometimes this is OK, but if it becomes your norm, you’re brewing a recipe for burnout.
Set up, and maintain, a calendar of your writing projects. I like to also document my personal commitments so that I can see a good balance in my days. In addition to research, writing, accounting tasks, marketing and editing, I also block out time for yoga classes, lunch dates and naps to manage my autoimmune health issues.
When a client asks for pitches, or you have a burning idea you want to work on, look at your calendar. Do you have the time to give the topic the attention it deserves? Can you make the time by juggling other projects around?
Having too much work is just as stressful as not having enough.
It’s Not All About You: Pitch on Your Client’s Schedule
Most writing projects have a timeline or editorial calendar attached. Ask about this. I’ve encountered clients that ask for pitches monthly, quarterly and some have open pitching, which means you can send over ideas whenever you’d like. Just remember, they can be accepted whenever they like, so it’s a good idea to include a timeline in your pitch. Sometimes I’ll include a sentence like, “If this pitch is accepted, I will need a minimum three-week deadline to accommodate my writing schedule.”.
Once you know when your clients want pitches, only send over as much as you can reasonably handle. If you have ten ideas but only have time on your calendar to do two projects, you’re setting yourself up for a possible avalanche of stress.
Again, communication is key. If you do want to send ten ideas, let the client know that you have space to work on two per month. I’ve had some editors push the overflow of ideas out to upcoming months so that I can work in a timeframe that makes sense for us both. I write at a reasonable pace while they fill their content calendar.
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*This article was first published on Web Writing Advice on September 6, 2018.
Angela is a blogger, brand journalist and all-around wordsmith writing behind the scenes for brands including Walmart, PaperDirect, Cox Media and Tom’s of Maine. If your content marketing platform or agency is looking for a writer, give Angela a shout at email@example.com today!