Staying organized as a freelance writer can be challenging. Most freelance writers work for many clients at a time and have to pitch their ideas to editors. Keeping track of each pitch is no easy task, especially when you're sending out multiple pitches a day. This can get further complicated if you write for different industries, write multiple types of content or frequently send the same pitch to multiple editors. Find out how to properly organize and track your pitches so you can succeed as a freelance writer.
Use a Spreadsheet to Track Your Pitches
According to The Write Life, one of the easiest ways to track your pitches is with a simple spreadsheet. You can use any kind of spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, for this initiative. The key is to ensure you have the right columns that will help you organize your pitches, so be sure to customize the spreadsheet based on your needs. Column headings can include:
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- Date: The date you send out the pitch.
- Publication: The name of the publication you're pitching to.
- Editor: The name of the editor you're pitching, or whether you're pitching to a general inbox.
- Editor email: The email address of the editor.
- Pitch: The title for your pitch.
- Pitch description: A succinct description of your pitch. This is just for your own reference, so include as much detail as is valuable to you.
- Rate: If you know the average rate the publication offers, input it into your spreadsheet. This way, you will have an idea of how much the publication thinks your pitch is worth. It also provides a base from which to negotiate.
- Action: If you need to follow up on this pitch, make a note here.
- Result: Whether you hear back from the editor, and what their response is.
- Comments: If the editor provides any comments about your pitch, include them here.
One of the most important aspects of having a spreadsheet is to use color-coding to indicate next steps. For example, if you haven't heard back from an editor in one week, change the row to yellow and send a follow-up email. If you haven't heard back in two weeks, change the row to red and send a final follow-up email. Similarly, if you hear back within three days and are discussing details with the editor, change the row to green. This way, you have an at-a-glance view of all of your pitches at any given time.
Follow Project Tracking Best Practices
While setting up your spreadsheet is a good way to begin tracking your pitches, it will only be effective if you use it on a regular basis. Follow these project management best practices for your pitch tracking:
- Dedicate time each day to manage your pitches: On some days it may only take a few minutes, while on others you may spend half an hour. Set aside time in your calendar each day so that you prioritize this activity.
- Add complete and accurate information: Ensure email addresses are correct and pitch descriptions are succinct. This will ensure you have all the information you need at your fingertips while you are sending and tracking your pitches.
- Review your performance: Kissflow recommends reflecting on your performance as this is the best way to improve your efforts in project management. In terms of pitches, each quarter you can track how many pitches you sent versus how many were accepted, for example. Be sure to set goals for yourself, but try to make them attainable and realistic.
- Ask for feedback: One of the tenets of effective project management is to gain and implement feedback. Where possible, ask editors whether they have any feedback on your pitches or approach, and note it in the Comments column of the spreadsheet.