This has been the season of up-leveling my freelance writing game.
I’ve been reading every book I can get my hands on about content marketing, contracts, pitches, SEO and anything else pertaining to the world of freelance. (Want me to share some of my favorite resources? Tell me in the comments below).
I’ve been sending out pitches like crazy.
I’ve been guest posting as much as possible.
I’ve really found my stride, in a way that I didn’t even know was possible. (That’s another story.)
So, today, I just thought I’d give out a freebie for you all.
This is the exact tracker that I use for keeping track of the businesses and people that I have pitched for freelance writing opportunities:
Here’s a little breakdown of the Freelance Pitch Tracker:
I track all my freelance writing gigs using a simple Google Sheet document.
(Were you expecting something more complicated? Do not make this more complicated than it needs to be!)
The first thing I would suggest is breaking the spreadsheet into chunks based on your pitching goals. Whether your goal is to send out 100 pitches a month or 100 pitches per day, you can bold the outline under the row of your goal so you know exactly where to stop each day.
The columns are pretty self-explanatory. You’ll notice my color-code key at the side. Color-coding helps me see at a quick glance who I still need to follow up with (still in white white), which contacts have given me a “no,” who I am in conversation with, and who I am currently doing business with.
This color coding system is a huge time saver. First of all, I can completely overlook the contacts that have said no (although, some of these come back and surprise you). A quick glance through another color helps refresh my memory about which clients I am currently doing business with, so I don’t forget any upcoming projects. And the white lets me know I should schedule a follow up.
The date column and follow-up column are used for the purpose of follow-up as well. Let me just tell you a little secret: there is magic in the follow-up. People get emails all the time and if they don’t know who you are, will likely delete your emails too. If you follow-up to the first email though, suddenly they take notice. Mark my words! I’ve nabbed more than one client through the follow up. If you don’t hear back, follow up until you do–just not in a pushy weird way. I could probably do a whole other post about this (and I just might!).
The Notes and Conversations columns are where I put little snippets of our conversation so I remember who I was talking to about what. I once made the mistake of emailing a customer saying I fit all the job qualifications on his page and he didn’t have any job qualifications on his page! I was mixing people up! No-no-no!
The second sheet is my article pitch sheet. If you’re a freelance writer, you are likely pitching guest posts to online publications (if you aren’t, you should be–it’s an incredible credibility- and portfolio-building opportunity). But you definitely need to keep track of the people and places you’re in conversation with.
There’s also a column for submission guidelines. Keeping submission guidelines at your fingertips is a good idea too, so you can pitch to those publications multiple times. Never give up after the first try!
Now, let me tell you why you need a freelance pitch tracker:
If you’re serious about freelance writing, you need to be pitching like it’s your full-time job.
But when you have sent out over 100 pitches, you WILL NOT remember who they all are or where you found them, no matter how good you think your memory is. It just won’t happen. Write down every single pitch you send, even if you think you’ll remember. This tracker will help you free up that mind space!
That first little “name” column has some special magic behind it, if you pay close attention. Let’s say you apply to a job on Problogger. The name of the person doing the hiring is typically not listed. So, once you do find out that name, make sure you list it. Or do a little digging to find out the name of the person. If you can speak to someone directly by name in your pitch, your pitch will be exponentially more powerful. Do whatever you can to fill in that NAME column.
Keeping track of where you found a contact is crucial too. It’s so much easier to make a connection to someone this way rather than coming at them out of left field. Plus, it’s something you’ll add to your pitch letter: “Hey, I saw your request on the [fill in blank] job board for a content marketing specialist.”
Funny story, I found one particular fitness personality after perusing the #BettyWhite trending hashtag on the actress’s birthday (such a sneaky little tactic to get followers). It was an incredible attention getter in my pitch letter. And I can’t tell you how many times I go back to look at that column wondering, where did I find this person again?
This “how found” column also helps when I need to brainstorm where to find new leads. I can look back and see “oh hey, I found quite a few people in this entrepreneur group on Facebook, I’ll look there again.”
You also need a quick at-a-glance reference like this tracker to remember who you’re working with, who said “no,” and everyone in between. You might even want to refresh your memory to see if you’ve already pitched a place in the past (this happens!). You don’t want to look like a fool sending a business the same pitch multiple times. The freelance tracker spreadsheet is so much more searchable than the heap of content that lies buried in your email.
I also like to keep a list of guest post submissions I’ve sent out as well so I can cross-submit. What that means is, if I have a great idea for an article, I might want to pitch it to another media site after the first one rejected it instead of letting it die.
The last thing I’d like to say about why you need one of these trackers is the infinite possibilities that lie therein. It’s validating and satisfying to see the tracker fill up and change color and become more vast every day. And I want the same for you!
To Wrap Up
Well, that’s about it. If you have any questions about what the columns or for or how to use this tracker, just hit me up with a comment or an email. I filled in one example for you so you can see what it’s like. Happy pitching!
Cool, so if you haven’t already: