Become a Writer Today

How to Find High-Paying Work as a Freelance Copywriter with Aly Goulet

August 19, 2021 Bryan Collins Season 2
Become a Writer Today
How to Find High-Paying Work as a Freelance Copywriter with Aly Goulet
Chapters
Become a Writer Today
How to Find High-Paying Work as a Freelance Copywriter with Aly Goulet
Aug 19, 2021 Season 2
Bryan Collins

If you're working as a freelance writer and want to earn a full-time wage, I recommend copywriting. Copywriting is essentially writing words that sell products and services. 

It's a great discipline to help you figure out how to condense your ideas into articles, e-mails, and stories that you will publish online. 

In this episode of the podcast, I chat with Aly Goulet. She specializes in the B2B and SaaS industries. She talks about the importance of side projects and how and why she is building a WordPress app. 

This project might seem like it's got nothing to do with copywriting, but Aly explains how she will use it to help develop her copywriting business.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How to start a career as a freelance writer with no experience
  • How to find your first client as a copywriter
  • Setting your hourly rate
  • Is it ever ok to write for free?
  • Tips for copywriters to increase their rates
  • What makes good email copy
  • Getting started with an email campaign 
  • Sending cold pitches to clients

Resources:

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/becomeawritertoday)

Show Notes Transcript

If you're working as a freelance writer and want to earn a full-time wage, I recommend copywriting. Copywriting is essentially writing words that sell products and services. 

It's a great discipline to help you figure out how to condense your ideas into articles, e-mails, and stories that you will publish online. 

In this episode of the podcast, I chat with Aly Goulet. She specializes in the B2B and SaaS industries. She talks about the importance of side projects and how and why she is building a WordPress app. 

This project might seem like it's got nothing to do with copywriting, but Aly explains how she will use it to help develop her copywriting business.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How to start a career as a freelance writer with no experience
  • How to find your first client as a copywriter
  • Setting your hourly rate
  • Is it ever ok to write for free?
  • Tips for copywriters to increase their rates
  • What makes good email copy
  • Getting started with an email campaign 
  • Sending cold pitches to clients

Resources:

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/becomeawritertoday)

Aly: The truth is, there is no one right answer to that question. You’re not gonna probably stumble upon a post on Google that’s gonna tell you exactly the next step to take in your business. I think it’s all about thinking about where you are now, the context that your business lives in or, if you’re an aspiring writer, where you’re coming from, and then educating yourself on how other people are doing things, what’s standard in the industry, and really sort of using some critical thinking to think about, “Okay, what makes the most sense for me?”

Introduction: Welcome to the Become a Writer Today Podcast with Bryan Collins. Here, you’ll find practical advice and interviews for all kinds of writers.

Bryan: How can you find high-paying work as a copywriter?

Hey, content creators, my name is Bryan Collins, and welcome to the Become a Writer Today podcast.

Now, if you want to earn a full-time living as a writer and you’re working freelance, I recommend you check out copywriting. It’s a fantastic discipline if you want to work with clients who’ve got a bit more of a budget than somebody who’s going to hire a freelance writer.

Copywriting basically involves writing words that sell products and services and I worked for years as a copywriter for the British software company, Sage. They’re a SaaS business that creates and sells accounting software, amongst other things. Now, when I was working as a copywriter, I learned a lot about how to write for the web and how to encourage people to take the next step after reading an e-mail or after reading a sales page.

Copywriting is a great discipline if you want to figure out how to condense your ideas into articles, into e-mails, and into stories that you’re going to publish online. And because it has a commercial angle to it, you’re selling a product or a service, you typically get paid higher than if you’re writing a straight-up freelance article.

Copywriting is an unusual discipline in that it’s typically not taught in college or university or in school. A lot of copywriters are self-educated, but if you wanna get started at copywriting, there’s a couple of books I recommend you check out.

Read anything by David Ogilvy, who’s kind of seen as the father of modern advertising. I’d also recommend you check out Everybody Writes by Ann Handley. It’s more about writing online but many of those disciplines will apply to copywriting. And there’s a rather expensive book, it’s over $100, but it’s probably one of the best copywriting books I’ve ever read. It’s called Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz. You can’t get it on Amazon, you need to buy directly from his website, but if you’re serious about becoming a copywriter who earns more than just a side income, who earns six figures a year, then this is a book you probably need to get. If you want to take a course in copywriting, the best course that I could recommend is the American Writers and Artists Course. 

They have a master’s in copywriting which you can take online. I took this course several years ago. It cost about $400 at the time, and it goes through everything from what copywriting is, how to find paying work, the typical copywriting formula that you should use, what to expect from clients, how to handle feedback, and it also provides examples of long-form sales letters and other types of copy that have converted over the years. There are also lots of practical exercises in the course which you can use to improve your copywriting skills.

In this week’s interview with Aly Goulet, she describes how she specialized in the B2B and SaaS industry and that’s actually what I’d recommend you do if you want to take copywriting seriously. When you’re starting out, it’s fine to try multiple niches, to take on many different clients, and to figure out what your specialism is, but once you pick one particular niche, like B2B or SaaS or it could be health or personal development or food or fitness, then you only need to keep up with trends in one specific industry. 

And what’s more, you’ll find it much easier to find referrals from one client to the next and you’ll be able to build out a portfolio as a copywriter that will help you land more paying work. My other key takeaway from this interview is the importance of side projects and Aly talks about how and why she is building a WordPress app, which might not seem like it’s got anything to do with copywriting, but Aly explains how she’s going to use it to help build her copywriting business in this week’s interview.

Now, if you enjoy the show, for just a couple of dollars a month, you can become a Patreon supporter and I’ll give you discounts on my writing courses, software, and books. And if you also really enjoy the show, please, please leave a short review on iTunes. It only takes a few minutes but your reviews and more ratings push the show up the iTunes app and it’ll help me find more listeners and get better quality guests as well. And, of course, you can share the show on Spotify, Overcast, or Stitcher if you’re listening on Android. If you just wanna say hi or let me know what you’re up to or you’ve got topic suggestions for future episodes, you can say hi on Twitter, it’s @bryanjcollins.

Now, let’s go over to this week’s interview with Aly Goulet.

Bryan: Welcome to the show, Aly. 

Aly: Thanks. Thanks so much for having me.

Bryan: So, Aly, you’ve done a much better job with something I tried to do years ago which started a career as a freelance writer. How did you start a career as a freelance writer when you had, as you described it, no connections and no experience?

Aly: Yeah. So, for me, it happened really by accident. I got my first actually content writing job on an internship site because I was in college, I was like, “Okay, I just need to make money, I need to figure out how I’m gonna pay for this,” so I started applying for a bunch of jobs and then someone paid me to write content and I was like, “Oh, my gosh, this is exciting. I can make money doing this,” and from the minute I pitched that job and they said yes, I was just like, “Okay, what else can I do? Where else can I go?” and we can get more into this, but it really just snowballed from there and I took note of who I liked working with and the work that I liked doing and it ended up being copy.

Bryan: At what point did you discover that copywriting was a different discipline to freelance writing?

Aly: I think, for me, it was at the moment when I started taking on more things that required more of a psychology element, right? So, in copywriting, you have to use a lot more psychology to convince people to take the action that the client wants them to take and that’s not really the case just with content or writing articles. Of course, we have an angle, first, we wanna be compelling, but you’re not necessarily always pushing someone to take a specific action.

Bryan: So how can somebody find their first client as a copywriter?

Aly: Okay, so this is a little bit controversial but I’m a big fan of job boards, whether you’re looking at something like ProBlogger or Upwork. I think it’s a great place to start and the reason I think that is because there are lots of different ways for you to get clients but if you have absolutely no connections like I did, I had no connections and no clue what I was doing, and the great thing about job boards is those clients need you right now and they tell you exactly what they need.

Bryan: How do you set a rate when you’re starting out with no clients and no experience?

Aly: I’m gonna say do as I say, not as I did. At the time, I was a college kid so I was like, “Cool, if I’m just making minimum wage for my area, that works for me.” Don’t do that. Do a little bit of research. There are lots of copywriting sort of rate studies out there about what people make at certain experience levels. Start there and consider the experience you have first and, also, if you’re using places like Upwork or other job boards, look at what other people are charging and sort of use a mixture of those two things to figure out what might be the right rate for you.

Bryan: Should you write for free at any point?

Aly: I don’t think so, no. I do not think that that’s necessary. The first client I ever got, I actually had written for free, I wish that I hadn’t, but prior to getting my first client, I had done a lot of writing for free except that client — or not that client because they weren’t even paying me, but that site had completely redone their content strategy and took a whole bunch of content off so my content wasn’t even live anymore. I still sent one of my samples over in a Google Doc and it was okay.

Bryan: Yeah, I guess writing for free is probably more if you want to write for a big publication who are actually going to keep the content live on the site and you can use it to find future work. But I know we talked about rates, copywriting can actually pay very well once you get going. So, would you have any tips for offering new copywriters how they can increase their rates and what type of income they could expect if they keep going?

Aly: Yeah, I mean, you can reach six figures as a copywriter, definitely. I think the key to raising your rate is just like getting in the habit of doing it frequently because there was a period of my career where I was making huge jumps because I was like, “Look, I’ve been doing this for another six months, let’s try raising my rate by 10 or 15 bucks an hour, 20 bucks an hour and just see where we go from there.” I think it’s about recognizing the skill that you have and continuing to invest in your own development and getting in the habit of saying, “Hey, I’m worth more,” and, again, looking back at those surveys or any research that you can find about what copywriters at your new experience level are charging.

Bryan: You mentioned investing in your skills and building them up over time. Copywriting is unusual because there’s not that many courses that you can take in copywriting apart from a couple of online courses, which we’ll talk about in a moment, but how did you learn the basics of copywriting or figure out what to use when you’re writing for a client?

Aly: Yeah. So, for me, Google was my best friend in the beginning. Anything I didn’t know how to do, turn to Google, find a blog post, and that was the answer. And then I actually later on found a lot of value through podcasts and joining different Facebook communities to sort of be in the same room, virtually, as some other copywriters and get to know sort of what they’re talking about, what they’re interested in, and learn from the community leaders who run those groups.

Bryan: Do any of those communities or podcasts or even articles or blogs that you read come to mind if somebody’s listening and they wanted to find a resource?

Aly: Oh, totally. My favorite, if I can give them a shout-out, is The Copywriter Club. They have a podcast and also a big group on Facebook that even still today is my favorite resource for copy things.

Bryan: Great, great. So, copywriting often relies on using hooks or formula. Do you use any of those in your work?

Aly: I do but I try not to get stuck into any one formula because, while I appreciate constraints, I think that every market is different, every product is different. Of course, there’s some basic formulas that you can follow — pain, agitation, solution — and things like that are valuable to keep in the back of your mind, especially when you’re starting, but I think it’s all about knowing the client and their market and that will lead you to the correct sort of format or formula.

Bryan: So, Aly, I worked as a copywriter in the B2B industry as well for the British software company, Sage. I guess I figured out somewhere along the line that it would make more sense to specialize. And you also work with B2B clients and SaaS clients. So, at what point did you say to yourself, “You know what, I’m just gonna focus on this particular industry or this particular type of client”?

Aly: Yeah, it took a while for me and I still don’t think that when you are first starting out that you need to niche down. I know there are a lot of people who say like the niche is the secret, right? But, for me, I didn’t niche down for about three years and it was because I wanted to figure out who I liked working with the best first and, let me tell you, B2B would not have been my first choice because, at the time that I started, I didn’t know what B2B meant.

Bryan: Yeah, business to business can seem a bit off putting when you’re new to working as a copywriter.

Aly: Totally.

Bryan: I also found that B2B can pay a lot more than B2C. Is that something you found in your experience as well?

Aly: Yeah, I found that as well. I still will occasionally take on a B2C client if it’s an interesting project but B2B, generally speaking, they have a lot bigger budget to work with.

Bryan: Have you acquired any secondary skills along the way? For example, using analytics or AB testing or conversion rate optimization.

Aly: Yeah, I do a lot of e-mails so I run AB tests for a lot of my clients and I love digging into e-mail analytics. I think that, especially now, I hate to use the word “data driven,” but I think being data driven, especially as a copywriter, is one of the best traits you can have, one of the best skills that you can pick up because, of course, that’s the point, right? We want our copy to get results.

Bryan: So, if I understand you correctly, you write a lot of e-mail copy.

Aly: I do.

Bryan: What makes for a good e-mail campaign for one of your clients?

Aly: What makes a very good e-mail campaign? That’s a good question. I think one thing that makes a very good e-mail campaign is knowing the audience very, very well because you have to do this for all types of copy but especially for e-mail. You’re reaching them directly in their inbox. You’re often personalizing it, you know, it starts with their name. You can’t start a piece of content or an e-mail with someone’s name and then send them something that is not relevant to what they’re looking to do so I think, first and foremost, you have to know the audience really, really well. 

And then, with e-mail, I think it’s all about keeping it simple. You have to tell your story and you have to get your point across but I’ve seen some very, very long e-mails and e-mail sequences and like the fact is nobody wants that in their inbox. So, you have to find a way to convince people while still also being able to get to the point.

Bryan: When you’re working on an e-mail sequence, do you storyboard them all out or do you have them all mapped so that they’re all related or how do you consider what goes into each one of the e-mails?

Aly: Yeah, so, generally speaking, I start by figuring out what the goal of the e-mail sequence is, right? Is it just a welcome sequence where you’re really focusing on nurturing people? Or is it a sequence where the goal is to get a customer, for example, to book a demo? That is where you have to start. 

And then, from there, I figure out how many sort of touches we want the sequence to have. So, what is the number of e-mails that we’re gonna include in the sequence? And then, we go into, okay, now, what is the content of these e-mails gonna be? What content might we need to support, along the way do a little bit of nurturing, and then really sell that demo, for example? If we are doing a sequence that’s focusing on demo.

Bryan: When you’re working with clients, like I imagine they have messaging they want to get through about their product or their service or their software, it can be difficult to turn that sometimes into everyday language for the person opening the e-mail. So, how would you go about turning features into benefits?

Aly: Yeah, so I think my favorite thing when it comes to that is I get clients to send me all of that great messaging that they have but, instead of taking it from there, I actually like to jump on a call with a client. I always have a kickoff call and I always record it and I ask them the question, “Okay, these are the features. These are how you wanna position them. How do you describe the benefit to your audience?” I like to get it from their perspective in spoken words, specifically, because we don’t always speak the same way that we write, right? So I kind of like to get it from their mouths and then, from there, I’ll take that and figure out how you can make it more persuasive and conversational.

Bryan: I can imagine with your clients, there’s multiple rounds of reviews, lots of feedback. How do you handle conflicting feedback and how do you decide when, “Look, we’ve gone through enough feedback, we need to send the campaign”?

Aly: Yeah, so I offer two rounds of revisions on everything that I do. That’s in my contract. Clients know that that is the number of revisions that they get. So, if, for example, they’re going to have a number of people commenting on a document, that’s okay but we sort of pick a day of like, okay, everyone has commented for round one by this day and then we go through and we say, “Okay, well, which —” Sometimes, people will leave comments, especially if it’s a group of people and not everybody agrees so everybody has to kind of come to some form of agreement and that’s sort of the process we work through two times. And then, after two times, it goes out.

Bryan: The campaign’s gone out, probably takes a few days, maybe even a few weeks, to get the data back, do you find your clients come back and say, “We need to change copy in the campaign,” or do they give you the information and then you make a recommendation about what to change?

Aly: Yeah, so, most often, especially with e-mail, I find that, as long as the campaign performs close to as expected, which usually happens, at least for my clients, there will be one e-mail that maybe underperformed in comparison to the rest of them or maybe a couple are suffering with a low open rate. I typically have to wait for my clients to give me that data and then I will make a recommendation for them, yeah.

Bryan: Does that usually involve changing the subject line or would you also overhaul some of the messaging in the e-mail?

Aly: A lot of times, the subject line can make a huge difference but it depends. If one of the issues that we found is that someone makes it all the way to the end of the sequence and they’re still not clicking on that demo or they’re not interested, then, yeah, you do have to go back and say, “Okay, where was this not a fit? Why is this lower than we expected?”

Bryan: If I’m listening to this and I’m thinking, “I don’t have an e-mail campaign ready and I should really set one up from my own site or for my own even freelancing business,” what tips would you offer me to get that started?

Aly: Well, I think the first thing you need is a reason for people to sign up to get e-mails from you. So, I mean, for me, I have lead magnets all over my freelancing blog and for anything that I launch or maybe it’s just you’re making a promise of, “Hey, you’re gonna get exclusive content here that either you are the only person who’s gonna see it or you’re gonna get it first,” right? Think about what your promise is because, otherwise, you’re not gonna get anybody to sign up. 

And then, from there, I think it’s just a matter of treating e-mails sort of as that individualized conversation. Again, there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re on an e-mail list and you’re just a number. And I know that that’s hard to do when you want to reach a big audience but you really have to think about the people you wanna serve and who you’re writing it for and not just, “Oh, I’m gonna write a welcome sequence for my site or to try to nurture clients to eventually work with me,” because if you’re writing it for anybody, it’s not gonna work.

Bryan: I guess that’s why writers and anybody who’s running their own business has an advantage because they can be at the front of the e-mail campaign whereas with a B2B business, it’s much harder to bring a human or personal touch to those e-mails.

Aly: Yeah, yeah, totally. It’s really hard so that’s an advantage that we have as small business owners that we can really bring more of our personality into it whereas, with B2B, you really have to think about like what is the brand personality, which can be a little challenging.

Bryan: You brought up an interesting point there, Aly, you’re not just a freelance writer and a copywriter, you’ve done something which I’d recommend any writer do if they want to earn a full-time living and you treat it like a business. So, could you tell us about the Freelancing Flow?

Aly: Yeah, so Freelancing Flow is my blog for freelancers and it was really born out of just wanting to help people build a business that works for them because I think there’s a lot of things that we can get caught up in as writers, the right thing to do, the best move to make next, and I think the truth is, there is no one right answer to that question. You’re not gonna probably stumble upon a post on Google that’s gonna tell you exactly the next step to take in your business. I think it’s all about thinking about where you are now, the company context that your business lives in or, if you’re an aspiring writer, where you’re coming from, and then educating yourself on how other people are doing things, what’s standard in the industry, and really sort of using some critical thinking to think about, “Okay, what makes the most sense for me?”

Bryan: What type of clients are you working with at the moment for your business?

Aly: For the copywriting business or —

Bryan: For Freelancing Flow.

Aly: Oh, so, right now, I work with a lot of writers. I have a portfolio course for building your portfolio and I also am working on a WordPress plugin, which I’m super excited about —

Bryan: Oh, wow. That’s quite a different approach to building up a list of writing clients. Tell us about the WordPress plugin.

Aly: Yeah, the WordPress plugin, it’s called Genius Portfolio for WordPress and, I mean, you might be catching a theme here but —

Bryan: Yeah.

Aly: — it was built out of my frustration for why is it so hard to display a portfolio and to like get all your work in one place in a way that doesn’t send clients like fleeing in the opposite direction. So, we’re really working to build a portfolio plugin that’s easy for people to use and has all the features that you might need as a freelancer, because I know that when I was trying to put a portfolio on my site, it was not fun. I was just left wishing for hours of my life back.

Bryan: Yeah, when I was using a portfolio, I just had a list of links that linked that out to all the external places I had published articles. Didn’t really have a great way of bringing them all into one place. You mentioned “we” so are you working with a developer on the plugin?

Aly: Yeah, I’m working with a team of developers. You wouldn’t want something developed just by me. Absolutely not. So, we are partnering together. They are doing the development and I’m doing all of the marketing for the plugin.

Bryan: That’s impressive and how did you do find transitioning from copywriting freelance writing to I suppose project management and QA’ing an app?

Aly: Yeah, that’s — we’re going through that right now and that’s been very challenging. What I will say about that is expect the unexpected. You don’t know what you don’t know, right? We had an issue that we thought we were good to go on something and then we tested it and we’re like, “Oh, that’s broken.” So, what I would say is I don’t work in dev, I don’t have a ton of expertise in that area but I’m really relying on my devs and saying, “Hey, you tell me, what are the processes we have to go through to make sure that this is right?” and build in extra time because, with any new project that you jump into that you’ve never done before, I promise you, it is going to take you longer than you think it will. You’re going to hit roadblocks that you didn’t even know existed. So, it’s been a little challenging but we’re getting through it.

Bryan: Where did you find the developers for your app? Did you use Upwork or some other service?

Aly: So, I have to tell you that I had a little bit of a hack here because my significant other is a developer so —

Bryan: Oh, that helps.

Aly: Yeah, that helps. I work with him and then he brought in two people that he knows really well to work on it with me so I would say reach out into your personal network first, if that is something that is comfortable for you. I know that not everyone wants to work with friends or family but it’s been a good experience for me so far.

Bryan: You mentioned that the app is in testing at the moment. Have you got any feedback from any potential customers or clients yet?

Aly: That’s what we’re doing in a couple of weeks, yeah. So, by the time this episode goes live, the plugin will be available so, hopefully, you know, everything goes well between now and then but we’re actually going into beta in a couple of weeks at the time that we’re recording this, which is really exciting.

Bryan: Okay, okay. Where are you gonna sell the plugin? Is it gonna be on somewhere like ThemeForest or some plugin marketplace —

Aly: Yes, so —

Bryan: — or on your website?

Aly: — we’re gonna have a free version and a premium version so you’ll just be able to search inside WordPress plugins to find the free version on the backend of your WordPress site or you can go to geniusportfolio.com.

Bryan: Okay, fantastic. Fantastic. I guess I should ask you what goes into a good portfolio for a writer or a copywriter?

Aly: What goes into —

Bryan: Do I put everything in?

Aly: No, no, no, no. You do not put everything in. I think something that’s really important, especially for writers, is to think about what is the type of work that you actually really want to do with clients because, if you, for example, because this was me, right? If you are a person who’s done a lot of content and you want to move into copy, well, the most prominent samples for clients to see shouldn’t be all content because they’re not gonna believe necessarily that you can meet their needs. 

So, you should always try to prioritize the work that you want to do the most and make sure that that’s the most prominent thing in your portfolio and don’t overwhelm people with 500 portfolio pieces unless you can categorize and tag your pieces really, really well and make it easy to navigate, which is something that the plugin will do, then, you know, you can add a few more pieces. But, for me, right now, I have six samples on my website. That’s it.

Bryan: Okay, yeah, that’s a good approach. When you’re considering articles for your portfolio, does the client matter much, as in, if they’re well known versus a smaller client?

Aly: I think if you have a well-known client, absolutely, put that in your portfolio, if it’s relevant for the audience that you’re trying to reach now. If it’s not necessarily relevant to them or just because it’s a big name, the new market you’re trying to reach wouldn’t know who that is, then it doesn’t matter, but I would say any name that has some sort of brand recognition, definitely leverage that, and then it doesn’t really matter, otherwise. If it’s a really good piece, it’s a really good piece and a small name is okay in your portfolio too.

Bryan: Do you have plans for what direction you want to take your business in over the next few years? Are you gonna focus on copywriting and the app or are you going to branch out into other types of freelance writing?

Aly: Yeah, so, for me, I’m definitely gonna stick to copywriting and I’m always gonna be a copywriter, I think, at least a freelancer in some capacity because I really want to focus on helping people create this business. I feel like I’m living a dream that I didn’t even know that I had. This all kind of happened by accident and I just wanna help other people do the same thing. But, for me, it’s important to continue working with clients and to sort of be in the know and not teach from a place of like not really knowing. So, yeah, definitely continuing to work with my copy clients and then just building more resources for freelancers.

Bryan: I wish I’d known about copywriting years ago when I was looking for work but do you think there’s more paying work now for copywriters than maybe even a few years ago? Like five or six years ago.

Aly: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think the thing to remember with any type of writing really, copywriting wrapped up in this, is that, honestly, you have to be able to market yourself. As long as you can market yourself and find the marketing methods that you’re comfortable with and that works for you, there’s work out there. You just have to, yeah, like I said, find the methods that work for you but I — you know, I’ve heard a lot of that, like, “Oh, well how many writers can there be? How much work is there to go around?” and it’s really important too to make friends in the business. I think that people are afraid of that because they see them as competition but, the truth is, it can only help you.

Bryan: Is that how you moved off or moved up to B2B clients? Because, typically, they’re much harder to approach and less likely to use some jobs boards.

Aly: Yeah, so, initially, when I switched over to B2B clients is when I started cold pitching really, really heavily actually —

Bryan: That’s hard.

Aly: It is hard. It was a grind. I was doing 25 cold pitches a week every single week so that means I was sending out 100 pitches a month and it was tough but I built up my business from there and got a few clients to say yes and that’s when it really snowballed and I thought, “Okay, well, I can’t continue to send out 100 pitches a month.” This worked but it’s not sustainable. You can’t send out 100 pitches a month for the rest of your life and so that’s when the networking piece came in for me.

Bryan: Yeah, pitches are certainly hard work and the ones that have the most success tend to be more personalized. Do you have any other tips that you could use for somebody who’s sending out cold pitches?

Aly: Yeah. So, I think, again, keep it relatively short. People don’t want to read a novel but, with that being said, you do really have to personalize it and think about why is it that you’re interested in working with this client. Not just because, okay, you can see that their landing pages could use a little bit of work or something like that but what is it about them and what they’re doing now that is interesting to you specifically? Because they get pitches all day long but if you can show them that you have a genuine interest in what they’re doing, you’re gonna stand out from other people.

Bryan: The other part of the pitch is knowing who to send it to. Are you using LinkedIn or do you have some other way of figuring out who’s the right person to pitch?

Aly: Yes, I love LinkedIn. I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn. And, prior to that, it’s a little less efficient but I would often go on leadership pages to see who the leaders were in the company and then usually someone in marketing, a director of marketing, is someone that I would reach out to and then I would use a tool called Hunter, hunter.io, to verify their e-mail address.

Bryan: That’s a good approach. And are you keeping track of your pitches, how many you’ve sent and if you followed up, in a spreadsheet?

Aly: Yeah. So, I actually do something or I don’t pitch as much anymore, but when I was pitching a lot, I used the HubSpot CRM which is free and then I have an automation set up so that every time I track an e-mail in that CRM because you get an option to set up for tracking to see when they opened it, it will automatically send it to a spreadsheet for me to keep track of who opened my pitches and it also actually keeps track of even ones that sent that didn’t get replies.

Bryan: Okay, interesting. And do you find the HubSpot CRM is quite helpful compared to using a manual spreadsheet?

Aly: I think so, yeah, just because, especially if you’re in a place where you’re wanting to pick up work relatively quickly, which cold pitching is something I recommend if that’s the spot you’re in, it’s really helpful to be able to see in closer to real time when people are opening and interacting with your e-mails as opposed to having to review all of that manually yourself and then getting it all in a spreadsheet.

Bryan: Yeah, it can be hard to keep track of as well. So, Aly, if people wanted to work with you or learn more about the app that you have in development, where should they go?

Aly: Sure. So, my copywriting business is at copyoncue.com for copywriting purposes, and then my blog is freelancingflow.com, that’s for all things freelance, and then the plugin is getgeniusportfolio.com.

Bryan: I’ll put the link in the show notes but it was great to talk to you today.

Aly: Yeah, it was great to talk to you as well. Thanks again for having me.

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