The days of cold calling are, in my opinion, dead and buried. We don’t use the phone like we used to. Instead, email is the king of all communication. You still find calling useful for interviews, but at the end of the day when it comes to looking for gigs and querying, it’s all about the email. This article will go over some basics of cold emailing to get freelance writing jobs.
Cold emailing is all about presenting yourself as a total package. Unlike a query submission where you are just 1/3 of the puzzle (remember it’s you, what you’re writing, and who you’re writing for), this is all about you.
It’s important to cold email because even though you can find 1,000’s of freelance opportunities online, scouring all possible outlets and creating your own opportunities is just another way to ensure freelance success and get you more money. Which, is what we all want right?
Isn’t the cover letter the same thing as a cold email? Not exactly, and this is why the cold email takes a certain amount of artistry. With a job posting or editor, they’re expecting to receive your cover letter or query.
The cold email isn’t expected, it’s not something that was asked for, it’s just you going out on a limb.
If you’re sick of endless applications to content writing jobs and getting nowhere, cold emailing is a great way to shake things up. I recommend starting locally, especially if you’re new to freelancing. You would be surprised at the opportunities that are waiting for you.
Look at your local newspapers, real-estate businesses, the chamber of commerce, and the tourist association. These kinds of outlets usually have some kind of writing component to their business, and might have opportunities for freelance writers that they aren’t advertising.
I reached out my local newspaper and tourism board and got interviews and potential jobs just through cold emailing. Another great way to get comfortable cold emailing is reaching out to another local writer, asking if they have ideas for where to look for work.
When cold emailing, research your potential client thoroughly. If you want to write for the paper make sure you have experience and expertise they could use. If you want to write for the tourism board, check out their website and social media, do they have a blog?
Don’t just find the first email address listed. More often than not you’ll find the only email address listed is info@, questions@ or advertisements@ and you won’t get a response that way. Find a real person. Preferably the editor or director.
Once you know who and what you’re emailing, now you have to make yourself sound awesome. This email is going to differ from the cover letter because you’re not talking about your skills in regard to a specific job, you’re just presenting your skills in general.
The cold email should come across as professional but also casual if that makes sense. It’s a friendly handshake. Make sure you make a point to say that you know that there might not be any openings or opportunities, but that you just wanted to introduce yourself and offer your skills. This could result in a job later on down the line even though there aren’t openings immediately.
The cold email has two parts essentially. The past and the present. In the first paragraph, you want to detail all the things that make up your freelance self. Your college education, your research skills, your writing know how, your particular interests, and what you find yourself writing about most often. The second paragraph should cover your work currently, recent clips, any jobs you’re currently doing or clients you have and links to your portfolio.
You’re also going to want to put your resume somewhere in your cold email.
Don’t send right away. Remember my Before You Send Method.
Here’s a template I use for my cold emails.
Hello So and So,
My name is [ ] and I am very interested in talking with you about any possible freelance writing opportunities in your agency/newspaper/blog/magazine/tourism department. I realize you may not have any need for a freelance writer at this time, but I wanted to take a minute and offer my skills and introduce myself. I’m a freelance writer, travel writer, and blogger. I was an English Major and have had a lot of editing and writing experience for a variety of mediums. I’ve written plays, travel articles, craft how to’s, research-based articles, news clips, and reviews. I have no qualms about doing extensive research for projects, performing interviews and finding quality sources.
I currently work as [ ] and offer my services in the local area. I have not had much experience with [ ] but I am always looking to expand my resume and I would thoroughly dive into any project given. I work well with deadlines. You can view clips of my work by looking at my online portfolio, www.—–
I have included my resume in the body of this email, and if you need anything further from me please let me know.
Thank you for your consideration,
Cold emailing is a great way to get your name out there beyond queries and job applications. It gets your resume into places you might not have even considered, and further expands your job opportunities.