When asking a potential client for a writing job, for example to represent or purchase a book you have authored, you tell them about your story and why you are the one to tell it. This is true of everything from magazine articles to employee misconduct documentation and certainly includes blogs.
We recently posted some ads to copywriters looking for a few people to write some blogs about some aspect of copywriting from their point-of-view. We asked respondents to send us a query letter. None did, even though we received an overwhelming number of responses. So it made it very hard to know who would be right for the job without a few lines of a succinct synopsis of what their article would be about.
We were amazed at the caliber of the responses. Every one of the many writers seemed qualified, if we took the time – lots of time – to look through all the information they sent. Frankly, if our committee had the time to wade through some of the individual responses, the members could have each written a blog of their own. Some went on to twenty pages, with links to the respondent’s life’s work. One was in the third person although they still signed their own name.
It was Too Much Information, in fact, an overload.
We were just looking for an interesting idea for a blog about some aspect of advertising, written from a copywriter’s perspective by a person who could tell that story in an interesting way.
One should put just as much effort and care into crafting and polishing a query as they would into their work. For an example of a query for an actual blog we have listed one here as a guide:
Dear John Smith;
I am responding to your ad for a blog article from a copywriter’s perspective. With nearly 30 years in the advertising business as a copywriter and account manager I am uniquely qualified to develop this blog for you.
Entitled: “These Steps Will Make Your Print Ads Convey, Convince and Close,” the article will be approximately 500 words with statistics on ad effectiveness, and quotes from David Oglivy’s “Confessions of an Adman” (which I know well because I made it required reading when I taught advertising copywriting college courses as an adjunct). All quotes and stats will be backed up by research pulled from the internet. I can have the completed article to you three days after I receive the go-ahead to begin.
Thank you for considering me for this project.
Do not forget to thank the prospect for their time and to offer a pertinent writing sample.
That doesn’t mean a variety of samples that aren’t the same type of project. And while you may keep award-winning tropical fish tanks and play the concert tuba, there is no need to mention these features if it is not pertinent to the current project.
Keep your query simple.
Tell them who you are, as it relates to the project. Let them know what you are going to write, give a sample of a similar piece you have done. (If you have no sample piece and you still want to apply for the job, then invest in your career. Write a short sample and include it to show what you can do.) And don’t forget to thank them for their time. Time you have conserved with your simple, direct query.