How a 30 Second Email Can Get You Writing Work

It’s the easiest email you’ll ever write.

Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

For freelance writers, pitching is super important. It’s how you get new clients, place new stories, and basically, get work.

But the pitch is just the first step. It’s a big step, but if you simply send one email and hope for the best, you’re missing out on a lot of potential work. Before I get into a 30-second email trick, here’s a quick summary of what pitching even is.

Super Short Description of Pitching

A lot of writing for publications (especially online publications) comes from freelancers. Editors don’t run over to the freelance tree and shake down a writer for the day, they rely on pitches.

What is a pitch? It’s an email with a short description of your specific story idea, a little info on you (the writer), and samples of your work (if you have them).

Everyone from Harvard PhDs to seasoned journalists to people with a BA in theater from Hunter College (that was my illustrious writing background before I started writing articles professionally) pitch editors. And editors take pitches from people with a range of experience!

So, if you don’t have a New York Times byline, you can still sell a pitch and get paid to write an article.

Thank You for That Description, Now Tell Me About the 30-Second Email

After you email a pitch to an editor, you should:

  1. Say hooray to yourself for sending a pitch
  2. Schedule a follow up email

Editors are busy. They get tons of emails, pitches, and tasks to do everyday. Sometimes they don’t see your email at all. Other times they see it, think “I love it, let me reply and say yes…uh oh urgent news just broke, I have to deal with that and I have to assign 10 articles before the end of the day, someone just bailed on a piece, I’m getting death threats on Twitter, and I haven’t eaten for hours…” and your email is forgotten.

To combat the busy inbox, send a reminder. In fact, send two reminders.

Will you feel annoying doing this? Possibly. But you aren’t bothering an editor for no reason. You’re giving them the gift of a story and making sure they see it. If they don’t want it, they can reply “no” and end the conversation.

I’ve sent reminders 6 weeks after my first pitch…and got a yes. A number of my paid articles came from follow ups.

The best part? Follow ups are the easiest possible emails to write.

Oh My God, Tell Me What’s In That Email!

When I follow up, I write the same thing every time. I write:

Hi [editor’s first name],

Seeing if you’re still interested in this story.

Have a lovely day!

  • Amber

I send that email a week after my original pitch, then again a couple days after that follow up. I don’t get cute and fancy on the follow up. I say the exact same thing.

That’s it. It takes 30 seconds and often gets me a response.

Sometimes, that response is “no.” But that’s okay! At least I know I can safely pitch it elsewhere or write it up for myself.

Follow ups are the easiest emails you’ll ever write and they make a big difference. So, take 30 seconds from your day, follow up on a pitch, and see if that 30 seconds pays off.

If you want to find the masthead and pitching guidelines over 240 publications, get my free Big Guide To Paying Publications That Take Pitches. You’ll get the guide plus weekly emails about open writing jobs and freelance tips.

Writer for Thrillist, Bustle, Parade, Greatist, MTV, IFC, Snooki’s blog. Want to hear about open writing jobs? Sign up for my free newsletter at AmberPetty.com

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