So, if you’ve read Part 1 of this guide, you’d have hopefully used the techniques that we talked about and have gotten a better response rate from the cover letters that you’ve sent. But if for whatever reason none of the tips are working for you, then you can add these tips in your arsenal.
Use an elevator pitch
Mark Evans of www.markevanstech.com gives us a clear idea of why an elevator pitch is important…
“A tight and powerful elevator pitch is ultra-important because it’s the marketing vehicle that sparks conversations, generates questions and gets your foot in the door either directly or indirectly.”
An elevator pitch is used in different scenarios and in different opportunities – and you can bet your family jewels that writing a cover letter is one of them!
Can you imagine what kind of results your cover letter will give you if it does in fact “sparks conversations, generates questions and gets your foot in the door either directly or indirectly.” just like what Mark said?
I know. It’s a real goldmine!
So how exactly do you craft a powerful elevator pitch? I won’t be going into details on this as I feel that an entire blog post should be dedicated to this topic. But here are 3 things that you need to remember when crafting one.
1.) Be concise.
The elevator pitch in your cover letter should be found within the first 15 seconds of you cover letter. If it isn’t an effective one, chances are the prospect client won’t even read through your entire post. But if the opposite is true, then he’ll surely read your entire cover letter and quite possibly hire you.
2.) Mention what you do and how you can solve his problem.
This is pretty much the meat of your 15 second pitch. Make the “you” part short but make the “them” part and how you can solve their problem longer.
It’s important that you use words that create mental pictures that would help them imagine themselves using your service and actually benefit from it.
3.) Ask if the kind of benefit that they can get from you is something that their company is looking for. Ask in an assumptive way.
Use this to seal the deal. Once you’ve already gone through step 1 and 2, they should already have a good idea of what you do and how you can help them. All you have to do right now is to reinforce/solidify their urge of wanting to know more about you or to downright hire you.
How do you do that? You ask questions -assumptive ones at that.
Here’s sample question that I use.
“Getting an article that can influence your readers to buy is something that you’re looking for, isn’t it?”
“Not having to worry about getting poorly written articles way past deadline is what you need, isn’t it?”
At this point, they’ll be hooked at what you can do for them and will want to know more about you. That or – they’re 100% sold on your services and will immediately hire you.
Use conversational copy when crafting your cover letter
Conversational copies are perfect if you want to engage your readers. Of course, that’s exactly what you need to do if you are to elicit a response from the hiring manager whom you submitted your cover letter to.
This type of writing creates a connection between the readers and the writers since you’ll be using “you” and “me” in this method of writing.
Basically, you’ll just have to write the way you talk if the audience is in front of you. This makes your cover letter more direct making your ideas more impactful to the readers since they feel that you are talking DIRECTLY to them.
Another strategy to craft a conversational cover letter is to imagine yourself, writing an email to one of your closest friends (minus the over familiarity). If you do this, your ideas will flow as if you’re simply conversing with the readers making your message personal yet professional at the same time.
Use the client’s name
This tip can outright spell the difference between the client taking the time to read your cover letter or not. That’s how important this is.
I’ve already talked about this on one of my posts here in the Guild of Bloggers.You can check it out here.12 Proven and Tested Actionable Tips to Help You Thrive as a Non-Native English Writer
Don’t exceed 4 sentences per paragraph
This ensures that the hiring manager isn’t turned off by how seemingly overwhelming your cover letter is because of the huge block of text in it.
Staying within 3 – 4 sentences per paragraph is a good figure to remember. While this rule is made to be broken, just try to stay within its bounds and you’ll see how your cover letter will look a lot more readable.
Focus on the benefit vs the features.
A common mistake that other writers make when creating a cover letter is how they emphasize on how qualified and skilled they are. While showcasing that is true to some extent, you need to realize that the client doesn’t really care about what you’ve done in the past or how smart you are – they just want their problems solved. Period!
It doesn’t matter whether you are an undergraduate, a dropout or a cum-laude in your class. If you can convey to the client’s mind that you are the best person to solve their problems, then chances good that you’ll be hired for the project.
Always add a sample write-up. Unless the client mentions not to otherwise.
You would think that this tip is within the realm of common sense, so everybody must already be doing this, right? Wrong!
A lot of writers surprisingly aren’t sending in samples together with their cover letters. I hope you aren’t one of them. But if you are, then know that it’s high time that you change. Since you’re vying to become a writer for the client, it makes absolutely no sense for you not to do this.
It’s also important to note that it is highly preferred if you share a URL vs. attachments. We may never know what kind of device the client is using, if the client has a slow internet connection, or if they are paranoid about downloading anything from the web (just like me :)). Sharing a URL is a safer and more convenient solution.
Give the client ALL the information that he needs to make a decision.
This is about completeness or how much value your cover letter is providing. The more value it adds, the easier and faster it is for the client to make a decision.
Think about it. Would you rather email back and forth with the client just to answer each questions that they ask? Or would you rather provide a cover letter that contains ALL the info that they might be need, then immediately get hired after they go through your cover letter?
You’d like to be on the second scenario, don’t you?
That said, give them your quote for the project, the workload you can manage, and your specialization (tailor fit the sequence on the information that you provide based on what the client is asking for). Add your sample article to the list and you would’ve most likely given them all the information that they need. Should they need anymore information, they’ll be sure to message you about it.
While it may take some time before you see a significant result in your cover letter’s response rate, don’t let it put you down. There can be several reasons at play as to why this is happening and it may not be about you or even your cover letter to begin with. Just keep on testing and use different variations in your cover letters to see which one will work the best (I usually test per 100 tries before I switch it up).
Words of inspiration:
If you want to succeed as a freelance writer, you need to be prepared so you can deal with rejections. Remember that nothing easy is worth conquering so don’t back down on the challenges that you’re facing as a writer. Instead, remember how great writers have gone through the same exact challenges that you’re facing right now yet they remained victorious!
I urge you to persevere, endure, and remain passionate about writing!
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
– Henry Ford
Please let us know what you think in the comments section below. We’ll also appreciate it if you share this guide. Thanks! :)