What is a Letter of Introduction and How Do I Write One?

You read different freelance writing sites hoping to get the scoop on becoming a freelance writer.

But, after reading a couple posts, you come across terms you don’t know or never heard of. Clips? B2B? LOI?

What is a Letter of Introduction and How Do I Write One?

You decide this is too much and give up before really giving freelance writing a shot. Well, let’s hope that doesn’t happen to you! There are many things to learn as a new freelance writer and blogger and one of them is the Letter of Introduction.

But, after reading a couple posts, you come across terms you don’t know.

A Letter of Introduction (LOI) plays a similar role as a query letter does to an editor. A LOI is sent to a business to introduce yourself and your business and to let them know what you can do for them.

The LOI should be treated as a writing audition so it is important to create one that is direct, informative, yet friendly in tone.

Sending off LOIs is sort of like cold pitching. These businesses never heard of you and they may not even know they need a content writer. So, writing them can not only help you land clients, but regular clients.

Let’s look at how to write a LOI.

Businesses Don’t Care About You

The biggest mistake freelance writers make when writing LOIs is talking too much about themselves.

Businesses don’t care that you can create great content or are a really fast writer. They want to know what you can do for them. They want to know that you can solve their problems.

The biggest mistake freelance writers make when writing LOIs is talking too much about themselves.

It’s fine to have a section on you in your LOI about your education or past experiences, but no more than a sentence or two should be included. Remember to focus on the problems you can solve for that business.

So, instead of saying, “I’m a fast writer and will meet deadlines.” You can change the phrase a bit to make it more about them.

For example, “Your writing tasks will be expertly created and delivered to you on time, leaving you worry-free and able to complete more pressing duties.”

There, you solve the problem of worrying about deadlines and quality and you solve the problem of getting their mandatory writing projects done while still completing other important tasks.

Much like great copywriting, you need to identify their problems and offer them a solution. Doing all of this in your LOI not only lets the business know who you are, it also portrays you as the expert you are.

Don’t Be Stuffy

The second mistake that freelancers make when writing an LOI to a business is thinking that they have to write in a formal tone.

Most businesses these days are using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and have adapted their use of language to suit these platforms. Visit their website and study how they speak on their site. Most of the time, it is in a friendly, easy-going tone. Not stiff and formal like many people think.

Writing your LOI in a courteous, yet friendly manner helps the business owner or marketing director connect with you and shows that you know how to write for an audience of people instead of an audience of robots.

Do I Send Clips in My LOI?

Many freelancers wonder where their portfolio should come into the picture. Do they send an attachment of their portfolio in their LOI?

Do they put a link to it in the letter? First thing’s first – never send an attachment in a LOI. The chances of someone opening that email are slim to none and no one is going to risk a possible virus on their computer for some writing clips they didn’t ask for.

Instead, ask them in the letter if they would like to see some of your clips. If you give them a simple yes or no question, the chances of them responding to your LOI and asking to see clips are higher.

If too many steps are involved such as clicking on a link to your portfolio with other links to click on to view your online works, the business owner or marketing director probably won’t pursue it or you.

Writing a Letter of Introduction isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. Do some research and look up other LOIs that have had a great response rate and learn from them. Put your best foot forward every time and sooner or later, a business is going to see you as the expert problem solver they didn’t know they needed.

Now it’s your turn – have you ever used a LOI? Did it lead to a consistent writing gig? Tell us in the comments.

Robbyn is a freelance writer for medical and healthcare B2B companies with over 7 years of experience in the healthcare and dental industries. She received her degree in Business from the University of Phoenix and has enjoyed being part of the writing world for over 16 years. She wears many hats including wine enthusiast, foodie, belly dancer, and child tamer.

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It’s straightforward writing, I loved it. Thank you.Reply to Sreelatha
Great stuff! Personally, writing my first LOI has left me nervous and intimidated at first, especially since I had zero experience and absolutely no idea how to stand out or even get started writing it. Your tips are really helpful in reminding us what businesses look for in LOIs. In a nutshell: talk more about what you can do for the client, even if you have no experience. At least, that was how it went for me. 😛 Keep on writing!Reply to Julienne
Robyn, Thanks for your lesson on LOI! When I first started freelance writing, LOI was a term I had no clue about. What were these people talking about I would think. Great tips too and I will incorporate them in my LOI in the future!Reply to Elna
Robbyn Hodgs Thanks for including my post. It looks great!Reply to Robbyn