How to Always Get a Response From a Pitch

For new freelance writers, the thought of putting yourself out there only to be faced with rejection letters or worse – a non-response – can cripple your chance at succeeding.

Well, what if there was a way to get a response on every pitch you send? How great would that be?

Before I give you the secret email that can revive a pitch you sent, let’s go over some facts about responses and why you don’t often get a response.

Facts About Pitch Responses

  1. Solopreneurs and Start-Up Companies often respond to your email pitch within 24 – 72 hours. This depends on when you send your pitch. If you were one of the first few, most likely you’ll get a response, but if the client found a writer within the three-day window, you won’t always hear back from them.
  2. Magazines and Editors typically have a much longer time frame when responding to a pitch. It can be as little as four weeks or as long as three months.
  3. Big businesses and companies can take months to respond. These establishments are big and they are often busy. You may end up getting a generic, “we’ve received your application and will be reviewing it shortly,” response. But then you wait. You could apply in April and not hear back until September.

Why You Don’t Always Get a Response From Your Pitch

Often the number one reason why you don’t hear from a pitch you sent is because they found a writer.

Better luck next time. Chalk up this rejection to a learning experience and grow from it.

Here are some other common reasons why you don’t hear back from a pitch you sent out:

  • The person in charge of hiring is overwhelmed. All of a sudden they have 200 emails from hopefuls wanting to write for them. Sometimes they just need a week or two to sort through the emails and figure out who they want to contact.
  • Your portfolio doesn’t give the prospect enough confidence in your ability. If you’re new and you don’t have a lot of publications under your belt, you may not be qualified for the gig. Maybe this prospect wants someone highly knowledgeable with a strong social media presence.
  • Your pitch was mistaken for spam. Editors, solopreneurs, and companies get marketing emails and pitches all the time. So if your pitch is too generic and has no personality to it, they may think it’s spam. So mention a name and relate to the company the best you can (and never attach your pitch to your email. Doing this will put your pitch in the automatic trash since businesses treat attachments as potential viruses.)
  • The editor or person in charge is just busy.
  • You sent your cold pitch to the wrong person. Make sure you find the right target person to send your cold pitches to: chief marketing officer (CMO), executive vice president (EVP), head of content, etc.

Now that you have an idea of why you may not get a response let’s look at how you can turn your non-responses into potential gigs.

Crafting Your Follow-Up

One thing I make sure to do is keep track of when I send off a pitch. I give myself a time frame before I loop back and email a prospect again. It’s usually a week before I email a prospect back.

Here are some follow-up email subject line ideas:

  • Follow-up: Writing for (company)
  • Following up on my pitch: Writing for (company)
  • Freelance writer following up: Writing for (company)

In your follow-up email, you can say something like,

Hi Bob,
A few days I sent you [this pitch idea] and I wanted to followup and see if you are interested in pursuing it further. I’d be happy to talk about it in more detail with you.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Sometimes the prospect is just too busy and that reminder followup is enough to start the ball rolling. You can send another follow up email (around 3-5 days later) and then use my "secret weapon" email OR you can go straight into the secret weapon email.

My Secret Weapon

But, what happens if they did open your email, or for some reason didn’t get back to you after a while? If you honestly feel you are perfect for the gig and showed your value in your pitch, you use my secret weapon.

It’s a short and to the point email that can tip the scales in your favor.

Here’s what I typically say,

Hi Bob,
I’m just circling back as I haven’t heard back from you about your digital marketing writing position.
I’m going to assume you went in a different direction and no longer need me.

Short, right?

But, this secret weapon email really works. It basically tells them, eh, I moved on and I don’t need you.

When you take the opportunity – the writing position – off the table, it makes the recipient feel like you’re taking something away from them.

Give it a try! You never know, you’ll probably get a response and perhaps a writing gig out of it!

Keep Their Info

If you use my secret weapon and it doesn't result in a gig, that's fine. Save the contact details in a file and return to these "pass" jobs 2-3 months later and re-pitch your services.

This can help you land some work.

Take Action: After you send your pitches, give yourself a week before you send your follow-up email.


Waiting for a response to a pitch you sent out a week ago can be nerve wrecking. To calm your nerves, loop back a week or so after sending your pitch and see if they want to pursue this further or move on.

Give it a try!