Think of 10 big-name companies in your country. Imagine asking them to hire you as a freelance writer. Sealing a deal with one of them means guaranteed income, an incredible boost to your portfolio, a new network, and opportunities to grow as a writer.
It sounds ambitious and intimidating – maybe even senseless. Why would they hire someone from outside when they have a marketing team and hundreds of employees? What else can you offer? And, even if you have something in mind, how will you approach them?
The same questions buzzed in my ears when I started as a freelancer. While reading the business section of the newspaper, I came across a clip about a new chain of schools, which is managed by the country’s oldest and largest conglomerate. I looked them up online. Their website had the basics–the About page and some texts on other pages–but not a blog or a News section. I sent an email to them, asking if they needed a writer to tell their story, and create reports about their progress and activities. They met with me the following week, agreed to work with me, and asked me to sign a contract.
Here is one fact that freelance writers should not overlook: Big-name companies are always expanding. Check out their corporate profiles. Read the business section of your newspaper. Get updates on their new subsidiaries, mergers, products and services, new teams, new branches, and other diversification programs. They may have different names but they operate under one mother company.
What types of writing assignments are available? Well, that depends on the nature of the business. For the school, I wrote media releases and news articles. My favorite part was covering the events of the different schools, and writing features about them.
Here are some steps you can take to market yourself to big companies:
1. Get your confidence from your “what if?”
What if the company doesn’t have an opportunity for you? What if they do? I reached out to a publishing firm owned by a major broadcasting company years ago. I knew they already had writers but I wrote to them anyway. I was contacted by the head of the publishing firm and it turned out they were building a research team for the company president. They needed more people. I was asked to become a part of that project. I was eventually asked to pitch and write articles for their magazines. You will not know if there is an opportunity for you if you do not ask, look for it or, in other situations, create it yourself.
Offer them the time they don’t have. When I emailed the editor of the website of a top media organization about a conference I wanted to cover, I was aware that they had staff writers. But, what if they did not have enough writers to cover all the events in the area? My “what if” turned out to be wrong at first. The editor said there was already a writer assigned to the conference.
However, she followed it with “there’s another event you might be interested in…” She also asked which subjects I like writing about. After a few email exchanges, she asked me to sign a contract, and sent me my first assignment.
Big organizations are busy organizations. There have been many times that editors sent me to events and interviews because there simply are not enough people to do all the things that land on their desks every day.
But, only offer to write the topics you genuinely care about. If you were the CEO or head of a department, what would make you feel excited about hiring a freelance writer when your marketing team has copywriters or your editorial board has correspondents? That freelance writer should be knowledgeable and passionate about the topic.
When I pitched the conference above, I did not just summarize its program to the editor. I shared my thoughts about it. Because I am a fan of one of the speakers, I was able to describe her and her work to the editor. This leads us to the next tip.
2. Be specific.
This is the characteristic that is common in all my pitches. Being specific with what you can write for them will make the impression that you know what you are talking about. Help them visualize your process and output. If necessary, create an outline, bullet lists, or screenshots of initial research. Remember that, as a freelancer, you are not just convincing them to invest in your services. You are asking them to trust, take a risk, and hire a freelancer, even if it is not something they normally do.
3. Politely ask for a Skype or Face-to-Face Meeting.
Give your email address, Skype ID, and phone number. Let them know you are willing to discuss your proposal further in person or via Skype. Today, too may people just want to text and email. By asking for an in-person meeting, you can show that you are serious about working with a particular company.
Like any other journey, captivating big-name companies is not an overnight endeavor. Some of them may ignore you. But, if one of them notices you, the long days and nights of cold emailing will all be worth it.
- Big-Budget Businesses Need You to Rewrite Their Websites – Sophie Lizard
- Corporate Curricula – an Overlooked Writing Opportunity? – By Marlene Caroselli
- How to Land High-Paying Freelance Contracts Writing for Textbook Publishers! – by John Riddle
- Corporate Blogging and Web Copy are Solid Ways to Make a Living as a Writer! – By Christina R. Green, Former Content Marketing Director
- Cold-Pitching Your Freelance Writing Business the SMART Way – by Mikey Chlanda
7.625 STRATEGIES IN EVERY BEST-SELLER - Revised and Expanded Edition
At this moment, thousands of would-be authors are slaving away on their keyboards, dreaming of literary success. But their efforts won’t count for much. Of all those manuscripts, trade book editors will sign up only a slim fraction.
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Acquisition Editor Tam Mossman shares seven essentials every book needs to stay in print, and sell!
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