* Note – Since I want to be as detailed as I can be so I can get my point across, I’ve decided to split this guide into 2 parts. That way, the ideas on each part can be easily digested and you won’t have a case of information overload. Enjoy!
It’s 6 am and you eagerly get up to check your email for any replies on the writing projects that you applied for – you didn’t get any!
It’s frustrating – I know.
This is especially true when your bills are past due and it’s time to pay the rent. It’s in situations like these when you start questioning whether or not writing is really for you.
I know the frustration all too well. I was in the exact same spot 2 years ago and I ended up working for peanuts just to make both ends meet. Those were the trying times indeed.
But then you have to ask yourself – What exactly is the reason why your prospect clients aren’t replying? Why on earth are they ignoring your cover letters? More importantly, what can you do to stop this from happening AND increase your chances of getting hired to thrive as a freelance writer?
If that’s what you’re hoping to learn, then you’re definitely in the right place! Allow me to share with you the techniques that I applied to my cover letters that helped me land more clients.
Hold your horses!
Before we jump into that, let’s briefly talk about how NOT TO craft your cover letters first. I’ve gathered a few examples:
I hope you aren’t sending
threats cover letters like these, otherwise, it’ll take you YEARS before you get any replies from the cover letters that you’ve been sending. There’s no way you’ll succeed with this kind of cover letter.
While this one’s surely better than the first, there isn’t much reason here for the prospect client to get back to you. Simply put – this one doesn’t pack a punch!
The moment your client sees “Dear Sir / Madam”, this is what happens to them. 🙂
“Dear Sir / Madam” is a common greeting that spammers use AND someone who isn’t quite cut for the job. Instead of using that, you ought to use the prospect client’s first name. If you can’t find it (which does happen quite a lot), then simply use “Hi” or “Hello”.
This cover letter (just like the second one) doesn’t really have much in it. It’s boring and it doesn’t provide value to your prospect clients.
That’s about it for the don’ts!
Now let’s talk about the techniques that you can apply to your cover letters to get better results.
I’d like to emphasize how although there is no one-size-fits-all technique that you can use, the ones that I’ll be sharing are the techniques that I’ve personally used that got me more clients. Just be sure to tailor fit these techniques to your profile, what’s stated on the job post, and your prospect client’s background.
Always add a CTA at the end of your cover letter and use an assumptive sentence.
For those who are new to this, a CTA (Call to Action) is the instruction that you give to your audience to elicit a response from them. It could be asking them to add a comment, to email, or in our case – to hire us.
Adding your CTA at the end of your cover letter is ideal since it doesn’t get diluted by the other messages that you impart in your cover letter. That said, your instruction becomes more “sticky”!
Making your CTA an assumptive one is also a game changer! This is a technique that most salesmen use to increase their sales. AND IT WORKS!
It’s exactly because of this that a salesman whose worth his salt, DOES NOT ask whether or not you want to buy a product. Instead, he immediately assumes that you will buy and give you options.
Notice how they’ll say…
1.) “Would you like this car in white, or in black?” (if they are selling cars). They don’t ever ask “Do you want to buy a car?”
2.) “Would you like to buy a box of candies or just 2 packs of it?”. They don’t ever ask “Do you want to buy a candy?
3.) “How would you like the product delivered? Via express or regular mail?”.
I’m sure you get the gist. Now here are a couple of ways that you can use this technique in your cover letters.
1.) “Are you looking for 2 articles per month or is it three?“
2.) “Should we discuss the details via Skype or should we meet?”
3.) “Do you want the article about (niches) first? Or should I work on the (niche) piece?”
Adding the CTA at the last part of your cover letter AND using the assumptive close has a lot of psychology behind. With these two elements in your arsenal, you’ll surely increase your chances of being considered for the project.
More than just the assumptive close, another technique used above is the alternative close (since more than just assuming, we’re giving alternatives as well). Read more about the assumptive close here.
2.) Use the same exact keywords that the client used on their job post.
I gotta tell you – it’s quite common for applicants to recycle their cover letters. By recycle I mean copying and pasting the same cover letter on different job applications.
It could be because they’re (1) lazy (2) do not know how important cover letters are (3) they’re playing the numbers game or (4) they’re not really serious about wanting to get hired. Which ever the case is, know that your clients can smell a recycled cover letter even before you send ‘em. Trust me, you’ll be missing a lot of opportunities if you do this practice.
Instead of doing that, I urge you to use the exact words/phrases that the clients used in their job post. This tells them that you actually read the entire post and are serious about wanting to get hired.
If you want to take this technique a step higher, instead of just using the actual words that the client used in the job post, you can also use the lingo that’s being used in their niche and mention some reputable personalities there.
Doing this makes you look like you know exactly what you’re talking about and that you are well accustomed to their niche. With that as your advantage, chances are good that you’ll be given the job.
3.) Empathize with the client and sound very conversational.
Whatever the client says in their job post, use it to your advantage. Talk about it, and let the client know that you’re on his side.
How do you do that? Here’s an example.
Job post excerpt…
“I’m looking for an experienced writer in the real estate niche…”
You can reply with something like this.
“Hi client’s first name!
Considering how name of their business is an industry leader in the field of real estate, you hit the nail on the head by looking for experienced writers…”
Since you affirmed the client by agreeing with what he said, he’ll have a positive state of mind making him a bit more open to what you have to say. He becomes very receptive of your ideas, since you made him feel important.
He’s probably thinking, “This guy is a sensible person since he can see the reasoning behind my actions. I’ve got to checkout what else he has to say…”.
When they’re in that kind of mindset, it means that you’ve gotten past several of their defense layers putting you in a good position to pitch your services.
Great! You’re still here! Liked what you read so far huh? 🙂
Stay tuned as I publish the 2nd part of this guide. In the mean time, I urge you to let the ideas above marinate in your minds and start taking action. Be sure to tailor fit them according to your profile, the job post, and the client’s personal profile.
Please share you comments below. 🙂