Letter Writing for Copywriters

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Letter Writing for Copywriters

writing a cover letter
Writing a cover letter, a business letter, or similar letters is not as intuitive as it may seem. The idea is to make a great first impression on your prospective buyers, clients, customers, employers, or bankers. Yet, engaging letters for your business or occupation must follow rules. If somebody that works reading letters in a business reads your letter, and you did not format and write it the standard way, he or she will see through it right away.

Believe it or not, there’s a school of thought that touts a persuasion-based approach to letter writing. If you never thought that advertising techniques could be used in letters, bear with me because I didn’t either. A copywriter can always streamline a given sales letter format in any letter, but knowing how to write regular letters is a must.

Knowing how to write letters can make a great difference. A letter that does not follow standard letter rules may not achieve its objective, even if you work a sales letter format into a letter that is not an actual sales letter.

Some Types of Letter Writing

    Cover Letter
    Letter of inquiry
    Pitch Letter
    Letter of Introduction
    Letter of Interest
    Letter of Intent
    Letter of Recommendation
    Reference Letter
    Letter of Resignation

Cover Letter Writing

A cover letter is a way to postulate yourself for an open job or project call. A cover letter works conveniently when you have the opportunity to convince your prospective employer from the get-go. Opening yourself to them and relating to their industry to show how you’re a perfect fit for the position available.

You may confuse the cover letter with a pitch letter and vice-versa. Cover letters are generally longer than pitches, but it’s not a rule.

The standard size of the cover letter is from 100 to around 200 words, distributed in less than ten paragraphs, no more than that.

It has to have:

    Where you did find the call for postulations for the job or project
    Social proof and skills
    Close with contact info and linkage

For those with copywriting, design, and typesetting skills there’s the possibility of impressing the reader with elaborate cover letters. This kind of cover letter is known as “t cover letter” and features an element of layout that traditional cover letters don’t have.

The t cover letter has more or less the same structure as the standard cover letter, but the heart of it is a table layout that has two columns. In the first column, you list the job requirements of the prospective employer. In the second column, you list the skills that make you a good fit for the job or project.

T Cover Letter Writing: Template

A) Top right of the page

    First line: your address
    Second line: your city, state, and zip code
    Third line: your telephone number
    Fourth line: your email address

B) Top left of the page

    First line: name of the person you are writing the t cover letter to
    Second line: the person’s title
    Third line: the company’s name
    Fourth line: the company’s mailing address
    Fifth line: the company’s city, state, and zip code

C) Greeting

D) One paragraph of at most three-four lines stating your interest in the company’s open position. Tell them that you have attached your resume. Give at least one reference of previous work. State that you have extensive experience in several of the skills the position requires.

E) Create a table with two columns. In the first column list all their job requirements. In the second column list all your qualifications.

F) Closing paragraph. Tell them that you are open to discussing the requirements of the job with them and that you will follow up in a few days if you don’t receive a response.

G) Close with a greeting.

H) Sign the t cover letter with your name.

Investment Proposal

Writing an investment proposal is very different from writing a cover letter. An investment proposal is a document that communicates all the aspects of a business project yet to be implemented. It is another of the tools that are used to attract capital for a new product or service. All the aspects of the business must be included, even if in seed form only.

Elements that a proposal must have include:

    Problem: what is the unsolved problem or unfulfilled need of your target market?
    Solution: how is your product or service going to solve the problem or meet the need of the target market?
    Profit Estimates: how much do you think the product or service is going to make per month, minus the cost of doing business?
    Costs: how much it will cost to do business on a day-to-day or monthly basis?

The investment proposal doesn’t have a set length, but it should have at the very least 500-700 words.

An investment proposal is a business instrument to interest investors in a business opportunity. It carries hard data and facts pertaining to the vision, mission, and business model of a business project. It can carry additional (optional) information, like ROI rough guesses and the like.

An investment proposal should have all the useful business information that will show the potential investor every aspect of the business, product, or service, and how you are going to operate the business on a day-to-day basis.

Another content that goes into an investment proposal is the estimated lump amount of funding you want, which includes everything you will need to start doing business. On top of these numbers, you must also send a projection of your monthly cost of doing business, profit estimations, ROI approximation, and how long you estimate it will take the business to break even.

Letter of Intent

You send a letter of intent when you intend to do business with someone. 1st

Letter of Resignation

A letter of resignation, also known as a “two-week notice” letter is a letter you must send your employer when you decide to quit a job.

Pitch Letter Writing

There’s no consensus on a template for a pitch letter but some sources suggest one page. To say something general as one page needs a few observations. What kind of page, and what font and size of font? Let’s suppose the page is a standard A4, and the font is Times New Roman 12pt, which would make it an old-fashioned, film-industry-inspired pitch in length. 

Enter the cold pitch letter. It’s a meaner and leaner version of the pitch letter. The cold pitch letter is up to 100 words and must convey the whole pitch in 5-7 short paragraphs that include everything, from the greeting at the start to the signature. The cold pitch letter can be equated to the film industry’s so-called elevator pitch, which is the pitching of a story to a potential buyer in 30 seconds or less.

Letter of Inquiry

When you want to send a letter to someone to do sell them something or to do business with them you have to be tactful. It is always a good idea to ask for permission first. Be it a pitch, a business proposal, or a cover letter your letter is more likely to reach the correct person if you send a letter of inquiry first. This adds a second step to the process of contacting a business but still may save you time.

Some of the things that make a letter of inquiry useful:

    Asking if whoever receives it is the right person in the company for the kind of letter you want to send
    In case the person who receives it is not the right person, he or she can give you the address of the correct department
    It will let you know if it is the right time for your pitch, cover letter or business proposal
    If it is not the right time, they may tell you when you could send them the more important letter

General Letter Writing Style Guide

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Each type of letter will be discussed in dedicated articles in this section. These rules are general and apply to most letters.

Letter Formats

The two most common letter formats, for any kind of letter, are blocked letter style and indented letter style.

Blocked Letter Format

All the text of the letter, except for the sender’s address at the top, and in some cases the date, goes flush to the left margin. There has to be an empty line between paragraphs.

Indented Letter Format

Each paragraph is indented. No blank lines between paragraphs. The sender's address at the top right of the letter must be indented too. If the letter has headings you must center them.

These are a few rules about letter writing that apply to most types of letters.

    Try not to change the subject or tense in sentences
    Try not to divide infinitives: sentences that have a verb (with -ed suffix) + to are always trailed by a direct object, and any adverb goes last
    Take care of not making the sentences difficult to read or just plain wrong while utilizing collective nouns and distributive pronouns and adjectives
    Do not divide subject and predicate internally in a sentence
    Stay away from doublespeak, buzzwords, uncommon words, slang, and shoptalk
    Be civil and polite, never even insinuate defamation in a letter
    The main idea of the letter must be understood after the first reading
    Convey a solitary point or thought per paragraph
    If the fundamental point of the letter is vital, deliver it in the first paragraph
    If you are going to write a letter for a client, ask if they have a corporate style manual and if they do tell them to send you a copy

Image Credits

Image: Sabrina

© Martin Wensley, 2022 — Letter Writing for Copywriters