One of the most exciting things you can experience as a new writer is landing your first client. They send over a contract, submission guidelines, and a template. You’re ready to research, outline, and write your first draft. Once that is complete, you polish the final draft and send it to the client.
Then, you can move on to targeting your next lead. You may do a little victory dance first or congratulate yourself in some other way. After all, this is a significant achievement. The confidence you’re feeling is enough to provide momentum toward securing another contract.
However, there’s a glitch. Twenty-four hours after you submit your content, the client returns it stating they’re rejecting your piece. Instead of asking for revisions, they’re moving forward with a different writer. That’s it, no further communication.
Your confidence is deflated.
Is there a way to deal with this kind of freelance writing rejection positively?
Strategies for Dealing with Freelance Writing Rejection Positively
Strategy #1: Don’t Throw in the Towel
Under these circumstances, any freelance writer would want to give up. Don’t do that! Instead, fight harder. When you’re a solopreneur, rejections like that one sting. However, they happen, and you must prepare yourself for them. It’s within the client’s rights to change their mind. You can give yourself protections in the contract with a “kill fee.” Crunch has an excellent article outlining everything you need to know about kill fees here.
Strategy #2: Why Did the Work Receive a Rejection?
Take a step back and assess why the work received a rejection. Don’t listen to your inner-critic. It’s going to say things like, “the client didn’t like you,” or “that the work wasn’t written well.” The client isn’t thinking on a personal level. Instead, they’re looking at things from a business perspective.
There are many reasons why your work may have received a rejection, including:
- Not adequately reflecting the business’s message or brand.
- Your writing quality didn’t represent their message or brand.
- The overall content you presented (facts, ideas, statistics, tips, etc.) didn’t represent their audience.
Many other reasons could be the culprit as well. For example, did you make the client question your credibility by asking too many questions? Did you turn the project in late? Or, sometimes the client isn’t a good one and is looking for a free sample.
Always go back and look at the client’s website if they hired you to write a blog post. Are they hiring other writers? If so, how do those writers differ from your writing style? Make a note of the discrepancies and see where you can make improvements.
Strategy #3: Move on Quickly
Learn from this freelance writing rejection fast, and then move on to securing new leads. Instead of dwelling on what could have been, research who you can work with next. Use this as a learning experience. You can build from it, write about it on your website’s blog, and develop methods for finding clients who will value your writing.
Turn That Rejection Into a Freelance Writing Job
Instead of deleting that piece the client rejected, it can be repurposed. So, all is not lost! Go through it with editing tools like Grammarly, the Hemingway App, and CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to give it a final polish.
After that, you’re ready to implement the following strategies:
Strategy #1: Sell it On a Content Publishing Platform
Now that your piece is polished, you know its value. There are thousands of companies out there thirsty for high-quality content. Position yourself as a writer who is selling the content they’re seeking. Use content publishing platforms like nDash and ContentGather to sell content. Publishing on these sites allows you to pick topics, load your content, add images, and set rates.
Strategy #2: Pitch the Piece to Another Target
The piece is ready to go. That means the prospective client won’t have to wait. That’s a win-win for both of you. It can be pitched to companies, magazines, or another freelance writing job. Here’s an example where cold-pitching to businesses comes into play. Use the piece you’ve written as the base of your query letter, and send it to as many leads as you can. I wrote about cold-pitching here.
Strategy #3: Use it as a Pitching and Portfolio Sample
When you’re sending out pitches, many clients request a sample. Convert the piece into a .pdf document. Add headings, images, your byline, and author biography at the bottom. Then, each time a client requests a sample of your writing, and it matches their niche, send it along. Upload this document to your portfolio, as well. That way, prospective clients have many opportunities to see examples of your writing.
Being a freelance writer means our words are representative of our business and our brand. Therefore, it’s difficult to separate personal feelings from business sometimes. However, it’s critical to do so when dealing with rejection positively. In doing so, you’ll be able to turn those rejections into freelance writing jobs!