Nobody wants to be ghosted. Whether in the dating world or a professional environment, it’s hard to bounce back when you don’t get a reply. Somehow, it hits harder when you’re trying to secure work.
It’s a scenario you’ll unfortunately already know well. You spent all that time building up to a pitch and… nothing. No “thanks but no thanks” email, no “we’ll be in touch” reply – just an empty inbox. As a professional, being ignored can be worse than a rejection. A polite no tells you where you stand. Silence leaves you hoping that they might respond.
This has become even more difficult over the last twelve months. Many of us have struggled to deal with job search burnout, and it’s easy to feel down when you don’t get replies.
Communication is a key part of freelancing. On average, we’ll spend around 28% of our working hours on reading and replying to emails, meaning it can be challenging when those emails go unanswered.
That said, an email doesn’t quite beat a conversation. Face-to-face talks are great ways to connect and build on a pitch. There are plenty of different ways to connect, such as with a video teleconference service. If you can arrange a call with someone you are pitching, you might have a better chance of a response.
You want to get those replies in, but to make sure you do, you’ll need to figure out why no one is responding. Here are 5 reasons why you’re being ignored by an editor. How many ring true for you?
1. Your Pitch Is Bad
We take great pride in our work. We’ll think about every part of it, crafting the product for presentation. When someone critiques it, it can be difficult to take their feedback and not become defensive. The problem is that we might forget how important feedback is.
When you get feedback, you can use it to make your pitch even better. Sometimes, we’ll take the comments too personally instead of using their comments to strengthen our ideas.
There are so many different factors when making a success of writing. Far too often, people see freelance writing as an easy gig. You’re working on your own, often remotely, and you can choose your working hours. However, it’s not as easy as it might sound. You don’t just need to be a great writer. You need a strong work ethic, lots of motivation, and the ability to sell your skills.
Your pitch needs to be impactful and to the point. Yes, you might want to tell them about how you first became interested in freelance writing, but is it relevant? Be extremely critical when looking over your email. Bored reading it? The chances are the editor will be too.
It can help to take some tips from cold calling. The most successful cold calls are short and sweet. They are direct. What is your elevator pitch? How can you help to solve the problem the business has? Make this clear in your initial email and you are more likely to get a reply. You can always have a deeper conversation later if you are successful.
2. You Haven’t Done Your Homework
When you are applying for a traditional job, you’ll look into the company. You might read through their website to learn more, or maybe you’ll check out recent news articles to see what they’ve been doing. You need to apply the same techniques when you are contacting an editor.
You need to remember that editors want a personal experience. They don’t want a generic email that could go to anyone in the business. Tailor it to the business you’re pitching to. You wouldn’t pitch an article about the best recipes on a budget to a financial advisory firm, and you wouldn’t approach a fashion brand about a blog on the benefits of using a live chatroom.
It’s the ideal opportunity to show what gap you can fill for the business. Is the recruitment ROI for hiring you worth it? You want the answer to be yes, so be clear, do your homework, and show why you are the ideal fit for them.
3. They Are Looking For Something New
Editors are inundated with pitches. The chances are that they have been pitched your idea before, or they have already released something similar. It’s frustrating to not receive a reply, but if you’ve done your research and spotted that the business has already done something like your pitch, you can turn it to your advantage.
As a freelancer, it is possible to turn a rejection into a success. Take your original idea and think about the responses you might get. Can you think of new angles to approach the pitch from? If so, why not include them in your initial pitch? It’ll show that you have versatility and can see multiple angles of approach for one idea.
As you can see, 80% of men and 55% of women from this study would suggest a new approach in response to a rejection, rather than giving up straight away. They get to stick close to their original idea while proposing something new to the business. It shows that you can come at the problem from a fresh perspective, which is appealing.
4. You Didn’t Follow Up
It’s easy to miss a notification or email in an inbox, so it could be that the editor you’ve contacted hasn’t seen your pitch. It happens. Unfortunately, that can be the difference between your email being read or dropping onto the second page of an inbox, which is never a good place to be!
There’s a very simple trick that you can use to make sure your email doesn’t go unnoticed, and that’s by following up. It’s a popular post-job interview technique for a reason. A brief email to chase will not only show that you appreciate their time and are passionate about this but also bump you back to the top of the inbox.
We all need reminders now and then. How many times have you had an email from a retailer reminding you that you forgot to check out the items in your basket? They remind you because they want you to act, so adopt this approach when pitching. Just don’t overdo it – you don’t want to become that annoying person who appears in their inbox every morning!
An excellent way to keep on top of it is to use a free online calendar to set yourself a reminder to chase. When you send a pitch, add a reminder to follow up in a few days or a week if you haven’t heard anything. You can focus on other things and let the technology do the work for you.
5. They Are Too Busy
In this virtual working world we live in, everything tends to be done via video calls or emails. We’ve all become very familiar with meeting collaboration tools and how they can help remote teams stay connected. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that the number of meetings you attend and emails in your inbox has risen drastically. It’s a common problem we all face. The issue with getting someone to respond to your pitch is that they might be bombarded with emails and not have the time to reply.
No, a brief “thank you, but this pitch isn’t for us” email doesn’t take a lot of time to send but imagine how many they might have to deal with. With the number of pitches they will get, it’s easy to see why they might not always reply.
Worst of all, the number of daily emails is set to rise by 53.7 billion by the time we reach 2022. Terrifying, right? It can be frustrating to get no response, but if someone is too busy to respond to you, sometimes it is best to move on and try again later.
Don’t let your workload and emails become too much for you. The last thing you want is to send out so many emails that you don’t have the opportunity to reply. Learn from this scenario and make sure you are managing your productivity in the right way. Project management doesn’t have to be complicated, and by choosing the right software, you can track your time and active projects in the best way for you. It will make a huge difference to your workload.
What To Do When You Succeed
How will you know that you’ve succeeded? You’ll start getting replies from editors! Instead of being ignored, you’ll find emails coming back with queries. This is exactly what we want to happen. What you need to do now is build on this success. You’ve put in the hard work and now you’ve got a strong foundation to work from.
When it comes to keeping on top of your workload, one of the best things you can do as a freelancer is manage your workload. Project management tools are excellent for keeping on top of your active projects. Whether you use one of the more popular tools or look into Basecamp alternatives, it can make a huge difference to the way that you work.
It can take time to build your own success story, and as we know, success is not automatic. It is something you’ll need to keep working on, especially as you build up those network connections.
Yes, those rejections can still become network connections for you. Just because they have said “no” to your idea now doesn’t mean they won’t say “yes” later. They might not have had room for your pitch at the time, but if something comes up further down the line, they’ll think of you. Keep talking to them and who knows, you might be working together in the future on something new.
About the Author: Elea Andrea Almazora
Elea is the SEO Content Optimization manager for RingCentral, the leader in global enterprise communication and collaboration solutions on the cloud. She has more than a decade’s worth of experience in on-page optimization, editorial production, and digital publishing. She spends her free time learning new things.Business Plan Software for Freelance Writers