Have you been unsuccessfully bidding jobs via job boards? Then this post is for you!
Personally, I was able to land 90%+ of my clients in the first six months via job boards. Honestly, without them, I don’t know where I would be. I’m a fairly driven individual, so I’m sure I would have found another way. But job boards are where I got a successful start and somewhere I still recommend that newbie freelance writers look for work.
It doesn’t have to (or won’t be) the only way you source clients, but it’s a fairly easy way to find a fair amount of writing jobs to apply for on a regular basis. Due to my aforementioned success, I’ve put together a blueprint of sorts to help you get started winning jobs via job boards too! Let’s dive in!
1. Have a Draft Pitch Ready
I’ve shown you my pitch progression in the past and how it’s improved over time. One pitching hack I’ve used since the beginning is to keep a copy of my pitch template in my email drafts folder.
When I find a job that I want to submit a pitch for, I just copy and past my draft template into a new message. Then I’ll customize who it’s to (if there’s a name listed), my experience that fits that particular job, my samples, etc.
This way it’s ready whenever I need, preventing any excuse I could come up with to not pitch a job that’s a good fit for me. I bet this simple trick helped me to double the amount of pitches I sent out as I was building my client base.
And typically the more pitches you send, the more jobs you have a chance at landing! Win/win, right?
2. Scan Job Boards Daily
I’ve been able to build up my business to the point where I’m not actively pitching on a daily basis anymore. But it wasn’t that long ago, that it was a part of my daily routine.
You can find jobs to pitch for on free job boards (like ProBlogger, Craigslist, etc) and there are also paid options too. I’m a member of Paid to Blog Jobs, have been a part of The Writer’s Den in the past and also subscribe to The Client Connection.
It didn’t take me long to go from the free job boards to paying a nominal fee to enroll in a paid one. I’m all about increasing efficiency and margin in my life when it makes sense, and paying to log in to one place to look for jobs on a daily basis was a no brainer for me. I’m happy to say looking back, that I was right on.
Regardless if you scout out job opportunities from the free sources or subscribe to a paid job board, it makes sense to check on opportunities daily as you’re building your client base. The reason for this, is that many jobs will go to one of the first few applicants.
So by making this a daily habit, you can be the early bird that gets the worm. Plus, the more consistent you are at pitching, the better your chances are of getting an interview (or email exchange) and the better your chances are of landing a new client.
3. Pitch, Pitch, Pitch
So you have your draft letter saved and ready and you’ve been actively scanning job boards on the daily, what do you do now?
Well, start pitching jobs silly! In addition to pitching early, you want to pitch often. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, building a client base in part is a numbers game. The more jobs you pitch, the better your chances.
Since men are more likely to apply for jobs that they are even remotely qualified for, it’s up to us women to start thinking and doing the same. As you’re just starting out, pitch for anything you are remotely qualified for or interested in. Part of your job as a freelance writer will be to do some research, so apply now with the expectation that you’ll learn how to figure it out later!
This doesn’t give you permission to lie of course. It just means that you shouldn’t only apply for gigs that you’re 100% qualified for or confident in. Expand your horizons in the beginning and see if you end up liking a niche that you never even thought about before!
4. Follow Up Is Key
Think that your job is done when you’ve hit send on your keyboard and electronically sent your pitch? Think again!
Many times you’ll get absolutely no reply. That’s okay – it’s not uncommon for some jobs to receive hundreds of applications. Don’t let that deter you.
When you do get a reply, even if it’s a form letter saying that they’re reviewing things, file it away in an “Awaiting Reply” folder in your email. Then go through it every few days or once a week. I’ve actually gotten a couple of jobs because I go through this folder on a regular basis and send follow-up emails asking if they’d made a hiring decision yet.
Don’t be too eager a beaver, but it’s not unheard of to check in after a week or so. I’ll usually say something like,
Just checking in to see if you’ve filled the position for xyz writer? If you haven’t, I’m still interested and would love to talk about it further. Hit reply to continue the conversation.”
Or something to that effect. If you weren’t going to get it anyway, it can’t hurt right?
5. Calculate Your Batting Average
Typically, the longer you’ve been pitching, the better your batting average gets. Meaning the less gigs that you’ll have to apply for to land one. One of the things that I did in the beginning was track how many pitches I sent and how many I won.
The one thing you can control is how many you send, so having a weekly metric around this is helpful too. As I was actively pitching, mine was 10 per week minimum. It’s pretty rare that I don’t get any kind of response when pitching a job these days. I’d say I land about half of the ones I pitch for.
Part of the reason for this, is that I’m a lot more selective for what I’m pitching for. I cast a wide net in the beginning, but now it’s a lot smaller. It’s also not uncommon for me to have more of a “warm lead,” like a referral that I’m sending the pitch to. That’s bound to increase anyone’s conversion rates!
You too should track how many pitches you’re sending per day or per week. Then track how many you ultimately land. Over time, see if your conversion rate is improving. If it’s not and you’re not tweaking your process (especially your pitch letter), it’s time to reconsider.
Contrary to popular belief, success can be had pitching for writing jobs via job boards. I’m proof. There are a few things that will increase your odds, however.
Start with having a copy of your pitch draft saved in your email and ready to go. Next, make sure to scan job boards early and often. You have to actually send some pitches in order to get results, so don’t forget about that part!
Don’t forget to follow-up from time to time and keep track of how many pitches you send vs. how many you jobs you land. Implementing the above will no doubt make “the odds ever in your favor.” Now, get to it!
What’s your best pitching secret?
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