I was wandering around IG last Friday. I follow several hashtags. I came across one that essentially said the only way anyone can become a successful freelance writer is to master cold emails. That threw me off because I’ve been freelancing for almost six years now (full time) and I’ve never once sent a cold email. I said as much and the OP stated that I had to do it or risk failure. Well, I guess I missed that memo because I make the amount she mentioned in her post on a fairly regular basis.
Of course, she never responded to my next comment about how I’ve done this for six years and been the main income of my family. I did recently hire my husband, but that’s because it makes more sense to be home with us than out working in the BS weather or watching home repair / construction contractors overshoot their bid and then bitch they don’t have any work.
I went and looked at a few other of her posts and four things were clear to me almost immediately:
- She’s peddling her “course” on sending cold emails. Generally, I don’t care how people make their money.
- It doesn’t appear, based on her posts and some of her content, that she’s making much money as an actual writer. Maybe she is and she’s looking to add another stream of income. Hell, I don’t know her so I don’t know. I do know that I use my social media to showcase what I do. I do this for two reasons: it brings more readers like you to my blog (which is currently monetized) and potential clients can see what I do and research me from there.
- She may not know the difference between a cold market and a warm market. A cold market is someone you don’t know and they don’t know you. If they follow you on social media, if they like your stuff, if they leave comments…congratulations – you have a warm market.
- I’m not entirely sure she knows the importance of qualified leads. Cold emails and follow ups are an awful lot of work for an entity that likely really isn’t a qualified lead for what you have to offer. And when it doesn’t pan out, you get frustrated and turn into the person that says, “No one can really make money as a freelance writer!” And you’re saying that because you did not succeed. I deal with those people on the fucking regular. Those people are tiresome.
Your Most Burning Question: Is It Necessary to Send a Cold Email as a Freelance Writer?
The short answer is no. It is not necessary to send a cold email as a freelance writer.
There are four main problems with suggesting freelancers should focus on cold emails.
- Most new freelance writers have zero experience with email marketing. Because that is what sending cold emails essentially is. The kicker is that many email marketing campaigns (the good ones, anyway) focus on warm markets – people on their mailing list. Whereas, a cold email is literally a shot in the fucking dark. You don’t know them. You don’t actually know their needs. You don’t know what may get them to respond. And, yes, you can do the research and get lucky once in a while. Just consider if that’s a risk you really want to take. If you do, that’s cool. Go for it.
- Freelance writers without previous sales experience will struggle and give up with cold emails. Cold emailing involves a sales pitch. And follow up. If you don’t have experience in sales or if you hated doing sales, you will fucking hate cold emailing. It will make you hate your life and your new profession. Just say no to cold emails.
- If you don’t know the entity, how in the hell will you address their pain points? Good email campaigns address pain points. They turn the sender into the magical unicorn solution that paints rainbows and butterflies. You honestly have no way of knowing exactly what they need from a writer.
- You have no guarantee they’ll even open it, let alone read it. I mean, you guys know why people desire the inbox zero concept, right?
Focus on Sending Good Proposals to Open Writing Positions
Instead of sending cold emails, focus on sending good proposals to open writing positions. You can learn my strategy (for free, no email sign up required or anything else; although it would be very cool if you subscribed to my blog here and if you like podcasts, GITcast is on Spotify and Stitcher and other places) by clicking here.
So, where in the hell are all the freelance writing jobs? Well, you’re in luck because they are easier to find today than ever before. You can start here on this site by visiting the work from home writing jobs page. The page is free. There’s no subscription or sign up required (again, though, if you want to share the page or subscribe here to the blog, that would be great). You can also use Indeed.com by typing in any of the following or a combination thereof:
- Freelance writer
- Freelance writing
- Content writer
- Remote content writer
- SEO writer
- Article writer
Just read carefully on important things like money. Thoughts and prayers won’t pay your bills.
There are a lot of other great, legitimate, and free sites out there, too. Freelancewritinggigs.com, Freelancewriting.com, and Jobs.problogger.net are just a few places to start.
You can, of course, consider using places like Upwork. I use Upwork quite a bit, but I also have around half of my client base that I did not get on Upwork…they are what I refer to as “private clients.”
Treat Open Writing Positions as a Warm Market
When you find an open writing position that you’re interested in, treat it as a warm market. You have information about their needs right there from the description. If it’s a business, you can look them up online to learn more about them. You are no longer going in without a clue about what they need. From there, you just write your proposal according to their needs.
Oh, and before you go, please subscribe to the blog and check out one of my most popular posts: Invaluable Tips for New Freelancers.