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How This Email Helped Me Land an $800 Per Month Client By on July 25, 2013

Lucrative and consistent. Nothing makes a freelance writer’s heart flutter more than hearing those two words in the same sentence. So you can just imagine how I felt when I recently discovered a goldmine for projects that fit that very description.

I was on PRWeb.com, reading a press release that I wrote for a client, when I decided to check out the site’s “News Center” to read up on what other businesses are doing. And as I was scanning through the press releases of other companies, I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of them could use some work.

As I read one article after another, I found myself making mental notes and corrections on how they can be improved. That’s when it hit me: I can help these companies.

And thus began my press release client-hunting mission.

How I Did It

Below is a step-by-step guide detailing how to I found and reached out to potential clients. Take notes, and see how you can apply it to your own writing business.

Step 1: Prospect

Most PR newswires will let you browse releases by industry. Since I do a lot of writing for tech companies, I focused my attention on articles under that category. I then scanned the headlines and excerpts for press releases that seemed interesting or looked like they needed work, and clicked through those articles.

Step 2: Read and Recommend

I thoroughly read each article, determined the areas that needed improvement and made recommendations. Some of the common mistakes that I found include:

– Lack of an engaging or persuasive headline

– Lack of direct quotes in the article

– Not including links in the body

– Lengthy paragraphs that aren’t ideal for reading content online

– Lack of a proper boiler plate

Step 3: Find the Contact Person

I located the press contact and took note of their email address and company website. (These things  can usually be found at the bottom of the release.)

Step 4: Do a Bit More Research

Before sending the pitch, I made it a point to visit the company’s website to see what the business is all about. I looked around and gathered more information so I can further personalize my pitch.

Step 5: Craft and Send a Kick-Ass Pitch

I took all the information I learned about the company and used it to craft a personalized pitch. I then added my recommendations and included links to other press releases that I’ve written to showcase my experience.

To give you a better idea of what I’m talking about, below is a screenshot of the exact email I sent to a prospect:

(Certain parts were blurred to protect the client)

pr

The Results

I sent about 15 pitches, and I spent around 15-30 minutes on each company that I reached out to, so yes, it did take quite a bit of time. It was worth it though. Less than 24 hours after sending out my pitches, I received a call from one of the companies I reached out to, and they were very interested in my services. They appreciated my recommendations and were eager to learn more.

And here’s the best part: It turns out the company issues several press releases per month, and they wanted me to take on the task of writing all of them. After some negotiations and computations, the amount of money that I stand to earn for writing all their press releases adds up to around $800 per month. Not bad at all.

Why Press Releases Can Be a Goldmine for Lucrative and Consistent Work

Publishing press releases isn’t cheap. PR distribution companies can charge anywhere from a couple hundred to over a grand just to publish a single release, so when you see a business doing it on a regular basis, you know that company a) has the budget for it; and b) sees the value in publishing press releases.

That means you won’t have to convince them to pay good money for your services. Sure, haggling and negotiations might take place, but you can be sure that any legit business that regularly issues press releases won’t end up paying you pennies per word.

Additionally, some PR newswires offer annual packages that let companies publish press releases several times a month. If you’re able to land and impress a client that has one of these packages, you can expect to be given consistent work.

It’s no piece of cake, but…

Like I said, crafting those personalized pitches takes time and it takes a lot of thought and effort as well, because you’ll need to read each article and make recommendations. Factor in the time spent learning more about the company and actually writing the pitch, and you can expect the process to take a while.

Here’s the good news though: Practice makes perfect. The more you do it, the better and faster you’ll get at identifying prospects, finding errors, and customizing your pitch.

Here’s the even better news: All that work will certainly be worth it once you land that high-paying client that sends work your way on a regular basis.

 

39 Comments

  1. Njaleruma Kigozi says:

    I have been your student since I began to read your articles. In fact, I am learning lots! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Good to know – thanks, Francesca! I get some of my gigs just from pointing out typos and structural issues in potential clients’ website content, so I can imagine how powerful a persuader one of your half-hour press release critiques must be.

  3. Kevin Lull says:

    Fantastic advice, thanks for sharing! For years I felt like my natural talent for noticing flaws in corporate literature without looking was more curse than blessing. It’s like learning to spot bad kerning. It’s annoying enough in itself, and at times it seems that no one else cares, which makes it doubly annoying. Looks like I should have taken that as a sign that this was my calling.

    • It’s definitely a gift, Kevin. Attention to detail, especially when it comes to content can be scarce, so your natural ability to notice flaws will come in handy in marketing, consultations, and in reeling in clients. I can’t way to hear about how you’ll use it! 🙂

      • Kevin Lull says:

        I can’t wait either. Right now I have a lot more ideas than I have time to pursue them all, but spotting problems and offering to help seems a good place to start.

  4. Dexter Camba says:

    Hi Francesca,

    Am learning lots from your write ups and pitches. If you recall, I emailed you once and thanked you for replying with your suggestions. Am still trying to get out of the content mill rut, but with your writing tips I’ll be able to land those decently-paid, non-content mill gigs in no time.

    Thanks for helping your kababayans, like me, earn a decent living in writing. To borrow another forum poster’s words, perhaps the worst indictment of content mills…. ‘” I don’t work for pennies and I don’t work for free.”

    Cheers,

    Dexter Camba

    • Of course I remember, Dexter! Like I said, I’m pulling for you. Be sure to use the strategy in this blog post, as well as the tips that I send out in my emails to help you land more high-paying clients. 🙂

  5. Consistent marketing efforts are the key to keeping busy. I’ve been sending a similar e-mail out to business owners that aren’t updating their blogs. I hope I will be posting exciting results like yours on my website soon.

    • Consistent marketing efforts = consistent clients. I hope you land one soon, Chrislyn! It’s going to be pretty sweet when you do, because blogging clients can also be a gold mine for regular work.

  6. Thanks for the detailed and meaty article. Love your process of giving good value first. Also lets you select the perfect customer.

    When you use this technique, are there any types of clients you avoid?

    Thanks,

    Mark

    • Glad you like it, Regarding clients to avoid, I suggest getting a feel of the company while reading their press release. Press releases should have a “newsy” tone, so if a release seems too hyped up or promotional, it’s usually a bad sign.

      I would also steer clear of clients who ask that you write “samples” for them (your portfolio pieces should be enough for them to determine if you have the right skills or voice for their company).

  7. Jeremy says:

    Interesting article. So simple but not sure many people are doing it. Certainly didn’t occur to me.

    Out of interest, how much time do you spend pitching clients/looking for work vs time you bill?

    • It varies. There are times when I have my hands full, and I have no time to prospect, but there are slow months or weeks for me as well, so I spend more time marketing during these periods.

      Lately though, I’ve been spending about 20-30% of my time prospecting.

      Hope this helps!

  8. Brad Boyes says:

    Francesca,

    You must have read my mind. I was going to write to you and ask for some advise on cold calling clients. You beat me to it. This is exactly what I was looking for. Any chance of more articles like this coming up?

  9. Ann Haldon says:

    Great article Francesca – I think that personalising the pitch by getting to know the company first is a good idea, otherwise there’s a risk of simply annoying them and being ignored.

    • Right on, Ann. In this day and age people are bombarded with information from every direction, so sending out tailored pitches is a must if you want to stand out.

      Thanks for the comment!

  10. Charity Everett says:

    Hi Francesca,

    Thank you for posting this. Your website is full of invaluable information, and I am setting aside time every day to read a little of your blogs.

    My question: How many press releases are you writing for $800 a month and how long does it take you?

    • You’re welcome, Charity! For this particular client, I agreed to write 20 press releases a month. Note that I gave them a discounted rate because they’re ordering in bulk. The articles are pretty short–around 300 to 400 words, so it takes me around 45 minutes to an hour to finish each one.

  11. MG says:

    Good article. Just trying to be constructive by pointing out something:

    “Below is a step-by-step guide detailing how to I found” – I believe you need to edit that “how to I”

    Congrats on landing the gig!

  12. Rachel says:

    Love how you gave all the details that made this work for you, Francesca! It really does help to spend the time getting to know the company, and craft a personalized pitch.

    I sent a personalized query similar to yours to a company I was interested in blogging for. I actually heard back from them within 15 minutes of sending the e-mail! So it definitely works- and sending an e-mail is a lot less intimidating than cold-calling (and probably more effective to.)

    One tip: I seem to have more success getting hold of someone at big companies by sending a query directly to the owner or the CEO. Seems strange, but they answer right away, and are ready to get down to business. Never done it for a huge business, but for medium-sized ones, it seems to work well. Worse case scenario: they don’t answer back, and I move on.

  13. […] How This Email Helped Me Land an $800 Per Month Client (Post Joint) […]

  14. Angela says:

    Not a bad gig – $800 per month. Do you do this with any other types of
    writing besides press releases?

  15. Jim Clark says:

    Good Stuff! Thanks so much.

  16. Matthew says:

    Hi, use press release sites to submit releases and occasionally visit it for reading what others submitting, your idea seems that we can get potential clients from PR sites by this ways.

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful way of getting business.

  17. Jennifer says:

    Hey there! Nice article Francesca! Spot on! This is pretty much EXACTLY how I go about prospecting and pitching and it landed me an editing gig worth over $3000. Still working on converting this one-timer into a regular client but it’s thanks to this brave and bold approach that I have the opportunity 🙂

  18. Absolutely killer article, Francesca. You’ve found a gateway to
    new clients that is very often overlooked by most writers.

    I do have a question: As awesome as an $800/month press release
    gig is, do you feel like you underquoted your services to your client?
    Or is this an opening salvo to a larger strategy that leads you to more
    lucrative work down the road?

    I ask because the average press release runs about $500. At 20 per
    month, we’re talking at least $10,000. Don’t get me wrong: $800 every
    single month pays a LOT of bills. But besides “buying in bulk”, I’d love to
    learn more insight into how you arrived at that number.

    Congratulations again on your success, Francesca. At a time when a
    lot of writers are looking to score $10,000 long-form sales copy deals
    plus royalties, your simple approach is a great way to get your foot in
    the door and build credibility with your client. Looking forward to reading
    more of your work in the future. Very well done!!! 🙂

  19. […] in point: a couple of months ago, I published an article about how I landed an $800 per month client through direct marketing. I laid out the process step-by-step, including the exact email I’d sent to potential […]

  20. Erin says:

    Another great how-to article, Francesca! Filled with heart and a genuine desire to help those of us who write in the trenches.

  21. Max says:

    Francesca, really great article, BTW, how many press Releases for $800/Month?

  22. […] share it with the world. So I wrote about my experience, pitched the article to another site, and my post went live a few days […]

  23. Nice hustle story, very inspiring. I’d love to hear some more of these if you have them. There seems to be a disconnect between the “real hustle” stories, and the overnight success.

    Thanks for playing a role in re-balancing that out!

    cheers,
    Karl S

  24. I love reading stuff like this, with lots of good actionable tips. I probably would’ve never thought about doing this, because I don’t know much about Press Releases.

    However, I always find little mistakes and typos that I want to point out. But I worry that people will think I’m being arrogant. This is a good way to be able to do it in a professional manner. Really great tip, thanks.

  25. […] they need a freelance writer. (For a quick example of what I’m talking about, you can read this blog post about how I landed an $800 per month client using this […]

  26. Amar Ilindra says:

    Very interesting move. Learned lot of things from this article. Hope even i can manage to get few $$ after this. Thanks for sharing. Keep posting such informative articles

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