The second #FreelanceUK Twitter chat took place last night, with a particular focus on pitching. We covered everything from how to pitch and who to pitch to, to debating whether pitching is necessary.

In summary, here are a few of the most interesting points:

  • Don’t be afraid to pitch over the phone. There was a great debate about the pros and cons of phone pitching vs. email pitching. It really seems to depend on your comfort levels and the industry.
  • For a lot of freelancers, a big barrier to pitching is simply confidence – fear of rejection or being laughed at. Samantha Sparrow made a good point here – “they can only say no”!
  • It’s fine to reach out to an editorial contact on social media, as long as you follow-up with a well thought out pitch afterwards.
  • A debate started over whether pitches should be long and thorough, or short and clear. Personally, I’d suggest keeping it short and clear, as there’s a danger that your pitch might be replicated in-house – and you won’t get commissioned.

I’d have loved to have explored the issue of some publications using taking pitches without commissioning freelancers more, but we ran out of time.

Have a read of some of the tweets from last night below. I’m planning another Twitter chat for early February, so I’d love to hear what you’d like to talk about next.

The #freelanceuk Twitter chat

Storified by Emma Cossey· Wed, Jan 02 2013 01:41:09

@dexdiva agree face to face not poss, but I used to have to come in at 5.30am and phone pitch to Oz law firm! #freelanceukSamantha Sparrow
@SamRSparrow just different industries, also when writing for international publications face to face not poss #freelanceukJo Gifford
RT @kaitewelsh: #freelanceuk One thing I’ve learnt – pitching articles really helped when it came to querying agents for my novel. Took the fear out of it!Freelance Lifestyle
Thanks everyone for joining in the #freelanceuk chat! Feel free to leave any useful pitch resource links on the hashtag.Freelance Lifestyle
#freelanceuk One thing I’ve learnt – pitching articles really helped when it came to querying agents for my novel. Took the fear out of it!Kaite
@Freelance_Life I keep a list of target publications (big and small) and a very vague ideas list.#freelanceukFreya Hardy
@SamRSparrow ah i see, and all prob have different approaches #freelanceukJo Gifford
@Freelance_Life I’d like to develop some branded prezzi/ppt slides, and a branded pitch doc for when I go more seriously #freelanceukSamantha Sparrow
@dexdiva for me I’m talking editorial, training and fundraising. I take freelance work in all 3 areas #freelanceukSamantha Sparrow
So, who has an action plan in place for pitching? A pitch format doc? Pitch ideas? Some targets for 2013? #freelanceukFreelance Lifestyle
Just to check though are all taking editorial/ writing pitches? It’s different for presenting design work to a client #freelanceukJo Gifford
@kaitewelsh don’t be silly, you are going to rock it! #freelanceukSamantha Sparrow
@Freelance_Life I think I’ll always have a thing for print so that’s always my first instinct. #freelanceukFreya Hardy
Discovery: participating in the #freelanceuk pitching chat is actually making me more stressed about the pitch I’m writing.Kaite
@Freelance_Life my journalism course told me to pitch at the features or commissioning editor #FreelanceUKKathryn
@Freelance_Life no not at all it tends to pay better though #freelanceukJo Gifford
Do you think there’s a certain pressure to pitch to print? Especially if you create online content? Is it always necessary? #FreelanceukFreelance Lifestyle
@kaitewelsh I was forced as part of a presentation skills course. I was then made to practise with my hands tied together! #freelanceukSamantha Sparrow
If they are being read and not replied to something ain’t working #freelanceukJo Gifford
You can track if someone has read an email using right inbox or similar #freelanceukJo Gifford
Also, i am are editors don’t want to have phone calls all day #freelanceuk I have enough for my blogs even, emails are efficientJo Gifford
@kaitewelsh try filming yourself doing a pitch. It’ll be horrible to watch back, but will teach you loads! #freelanceukSamantha Sparrow
@learice if a story is good but you have already run one on Paris, say, an email pitch can be filed and come back to #freelanceukJo Gifford
@learice disagree, editors know me and my work and store a location story on file, travel writing is diff #freelanceukJo Gifford
RT @learice: I’d like to give the spam influx on the #freelanceuk chat special recognition for being relentless this eveningFreelance Lifestyle
@learice no it’s literally that diff locations are scheduled for later in the year #freelanceukJo Gifford
@dexdiva #freelanceuk decisions made quicker this way, less time wasted and opportunity to explore the perfect angle for a news story.Leanne Rice
@dexdiva #freelanceuk Which could be avoided with a phone call, non? Sorry to be devils advocate 😉 I’m interested – My exp has seenLeanne Rice
@kaitewelsh @SamRSparrow @dexdiva @learice Maybe it’s what you feel comfortable with – I feel like I’m clearer on paper. #freelanceukEmma Cossey
#freelanceuk as a designer I dont pitch but as a writer I do, very diff industriesJo Gifford
Obvs not for tech or trend based content #freelanceukJo Gifford
@Freelance_Life yeah I think this would definitely help me get my foot in the door more. Getting an introduction if poss! #freelanceukFran Swaine
Also sometimes in travel writing a pitch is picked up months later #freelanceukJo Gifford
I’d like to give the spam influx on the #freelanceuk chat special recognition for being relentless this eveningLeanne Rice
@kaitewelsh @learice @samrsparrow @freelance_life thank you! Thought was talking to a void then! 😉 #freelanceukJo Gifford
RT @dexdiva: @UrsulaGlitch @bangsandabun @freelance_life I usually send a bio, intro, first para and bullet pointed story #freelanceukFreelance Lifestyle
@UrsulaGlitch @bangsandabun @freelance_life I usually send a bio, intro, first para and bullet pointed story #freelanceukJo Gifford
@SamRSparrow @freelance_life Agree! Great to cross check online database/directory listenings against social media profiles #freelanceukNatalie Baker
RT @dexdiva: @cateca @freelance_life i read a really good book on this which helped when i started called the freelance writers handbook #freelanceukOccasionalAssistants
@cateca @freelance_life pleasure, Igot commissioned straight away after reading it 😉 #freelanceukJo Gifford
@Freelance_Life Slightly late to the party but just reading through the chat now. #freelanceukNatalie Baker
@Freelance_Life research, news wires, gorkana #freelanceukJo Gifford
@Freelance_Life research research! Social media is great for this now, but company websites also help. Gorkana database too #freelanceukSamantha Sparrow
@learice @samrsparrow @freelance_life just my experience tho! #freelanceukJo Gifford
@learice @samrsparrow @freelance_life I disagree have written for big publishers from email pitches #freelanceukJo Gifford
@dexdiva @freelance_life @bangsandabun agree #freelanceukADBeauty
How do you find out the best person to pitch to? #FreelanceukFreelance Lifestyle
@natalietrice @freelance_life ask some writer colleagues to send our example pitches that have worked recently maybe #freelanceukJo Gifford
@dexdiva @SamRSparrow @Freelance_Life For large companies and press though, phone is almost always best #freelanceukLeanne Rice
@SamRSparrow @Freelance_Life It takes quite some horribly awkward calls to learn slick pitching, but a great skill to pick up #freelanceukLeanne Rice
@Freelance_Life I think so too. I can’t wait to do my course as the pitching is holding me back and I think eds would laugh #FreelanceUKNatalie Trice
@natalietrice @hollieanneb you don’t always need it, honestly #freelanceukJo Gifford
@SamRSparrow @learice @freelance_life yes but emails areAlso really effective have had many commissions that way #freelanceukJo Gifford
@Freelance_Life I’ve gotten some terrific stuff via social media presence, but only b/c I can follow up with a good pitch. #freelanceukKaite
@AnishaDBeauty @freelance_life @bangsandabun but even if they haven’t and story is strong it can work #freelanceukJo Gifford
@HollieAnneB I am the other way, hate face to face or phone #FreelanceUKNatalie Trice
@Freelance_Life sorry not as vocal as usual – trying to cook at same time! #freelanceukFran Swaine
@learice @freelance_life agree with this entirely, particularly for editorial #freelanceukSamantha Sparrow
@Freelance_Life @bangsandabun def still relevant for editorial work. #freelanceukJo Gifford
@Freelance_Life @dexdiva @bangsandabun pitchings still relevant – if theyve heard of you/your brand before its always a plus #freelanceukADBeauty
@AnishaDBeauty @freelance_life that’s a good tip. Keep it light! #freelanceukcateca
@kaitewelsh @Freelance_Life No way at all! It really stops me hitting send sometimes #freelanceukHollie-Anne Brooks
@emma_cossey I hate that feeling of rejection! Is it better to call or email? #FreelanceUKNatalie Trice
@franswaine @freelance_life agree, depends on client and editors preference some take pitches on twitter! #freelanceukJo Gifford
@dexdiva @freelance_life thanks. I’ll definitely give it a read 🙂 #freelanceukcateca
#freelanceuk Practice pitching by phone & make yourself easy to warm to. If you can, it’s much easier to succeed by calling @Freelance_LifeLeanne Rice
RT @dexdiva: @cateca @freelance_life i read a really good book on this which helped when i started called the freelance writers handbook #freelanceukFreelance Lifestyle
@Freelance_Life know your audience and do your research!! #freelanceukFran Swaine
@dexdiva @BangsandaBun Ah, is pitching still relevant? Or is it smarter to attract work from referrals/website/social media? #freelanceukFreelance Lifestyle
@HollieAnneB exactly – totally agree #freelanceukADBeauty
@HollieAnneB @ursulaglitch true, but so many editors don’t have time for face to face so a well pitched email is good too #freelanceukJo Gifford
@franswaine I think I have the mind set of "Right, let’s wow your socks off and do something you don’t expect".#freelanceukHollie-Anne Brooks
@cateca @freelance_life i read a really good book on this which helped when i started called the freelance writers handbook #freelanceukJo Gifford
@AnishaDBeauty At least in person you can use tone of voice, gestures etc #freelanceukHollie-Anne Brooks
@UrsulaGlitch definitely!! #freelanceukFran Swaine
RT @AnishaDBeauty: @cateca @freelance_life i think keeping it conversational rather than too salesy is always key – know your customer #freelanceukFreelance Lifestyle
@HollieAnneB yes me too actually. Once I’ve got that initial meeting I’m confident Ican deliver #freelanceukFran Swaine
@Freelance_Life yes, be well prepared and pitch right for the magazine/ site #freelanceuk and be bold! XJo Gifford
@cateca @freelance_life i think keeping it conversational rather than too salesy is always key – know your customer #freelanceukADBeauty
I try and get into the mindset of pitching on behalf of my freelance brand rather than myself. It feels less personal then. #freelanceukEmma Cossey
#freelanceuk the very first paid travel writing pieces I did were a cold pitch to an editor sometimes it just worksJo Gifford
@Freelance_Life definitely format – do you email or phone. I think each client should be treated uniquely and often in phases! #freelanceukFran Swaine
@UrsulaGlitch I think most people are like you. But god, the buzz I get from pitching face to face is the best feeling ever #freelanceukHollie-Anne Brooks
@HollieAnneB feel the same, i think with email and txt based promo its the way that your messages are being perceived #freelanceukADBeauty
@BangsandaBun @freelance_life I have found that pitching editorial takes a lot of time and energy. #freelanceukJo Gifford
@Freelance_Life as a newbie, I wouldn’t know where to start with pitching! What do you say? How? What’s ok & what’s not? #freelanceukcateca
Fear of rejection and format seem to be the biggest fears. Does anyone have any advice to help get over these fears? #FreelanceukFreelance Lifestyle
@HollieAnneB I’m the other way around. I find email much less scary than face to face. Brave woman. #freelanceukFreya Hardy
RT @UrsulaGlitch: Nobody likes the thought of being rejected, but it’s such a buzz when someone says yes. I’m addicted, but I do want to improve. #FreelanceUKFreelance Lifestyle
RT @kaitewelsh: The #freelanceuk chat tonight is about pitching – just what I need when I’m having writer’s block with this one!he cavanagh
Nobody likes the thought of being rejected, but it’s such a buzz when someone says yes. I’m addicted, but I do want to improve. #FreelanceUKFreya Hardy
The #freelanceuk chat tonight is about pitching – just what I need when I’m having writer’s block with this one!Kaite
#freelanceuk It’s funny because I LOVE pitching face to face, I always feel confident and do well. It’s just over email etc where I’m scaredHollie-Anne Brooks
@Freelance_Life for me format is an issue – how to introduce myself in interesting way. I’m not good at bigging myself up. #freelanceukFreya Hardy
@Freelance_Life I think it is fear of rejection really – which is silly because they can only say no! #freelanceukSamantha Sparrow
@Freelance_Life For me I think it’s what to pitch & also I guess I wonder if anybody ever reads them #freelanceukBangs and a Bun
@Freelance_Life Hitting send, I think. I worry I’m going to be laughed at by the person receiving it #freelanceukHollie-Anne Brooks
A lot of people are nervous about pitching – what do you think is most intimidating? Format? Who to pitch to? Hitting send? #freelanceukFreelance Lifestyle
@Freelance_Life Not yet! But I will #freelanceukHollie-Anne Brooks
@Freelance_Life hello!! Ready and raring #freelanceukFran Swaine
RT @learice: Totally checking out @emma_cossey’s #freelanceuk chat while I wee. Don’t want to miss anything. I mean that in several ways…Samantha Sparrow
@Freelance_Life yes and even taking a course #FreelanceUKNatalie Trice
So, let’s kick things off – how many of you have added ‘send a pitch’ to your list of resolutions this year? #FreelanceukFreelance Lifestyle
Welcome to the second #Freelanceuk chat! This time, we’re talking about a topic a lot of you requested – pitching.Freelance Lifestyle
RT @Freelance_Life: 15 mins to go! Go grab yourself a cup of tea (and the last of those xmas chocolates. Resolutions start tomorrow, obviously) #freelanceukSamantha Sparrow
@SamRSparrow @emma_cossey I’ll second that 🙂 #freelanceukkerry
@emma_cossey everything?! 😉 #freelanceukSamantha Sparrow
Excited about the #freelanceuk Twitter chat tonight at 6.30pm. It’s all about pitching, anything you’d like to know about it?Emma Cossey

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