>Working freelance writers all know landing an assignment isn’t the path to success and financial gain. Instead, it’s the query letter that really counts. But most aspiring writers get this first crucial step wrong.
They think the query letter is just an introduction or a brief pitch to their idea instead of an audition piece. You’re being judged by your ability to not just write, but show that you know what the client really wants from their copy.
Query Your Way to $1k Monthly Earnings
If you really want to be a freelance writer, you need to look at your query letter as the direct path to growing your income. Figure out how to make it convert, and you’ve just created a sales funnel for yourself. And once you nail the query letter process, it’s relatively easy to earn an extra $1,000 a month by working on:
- Magazine articles ($200 to $1,000)
- Circulars ($50)
- Blog posts ($50 to $125)
- Content marketing services ($100 to $200)
- White papers ($500 or more)
- Sales copy ($500 or more)
You can also scale up and onward. Not every client or project is going to be lucrative, but it’s also not a stretch to make $1k a month from a single client. I always recommend keeping at least three clients in your back pocket to keep your income where you want it while growing your writing experience.
Meanwhile, a bad query letter is essentially just spam that falls flat. You don’t know this person. So you’re showing up in a potential client’s inbox without any real value or consideration to what they need or want. Or you’re giving a round-up of your experience, every paragraph starts with “I” and there’s never mention to what you can actually do for the client.
The person you’ve just sent a generic query letter to is probably just going to delete it or put it in their Spam.
That radio silence and inconsistency is where writers end up giving up before they see any real traction. Instead of treating their query letters like a piece of self-marketing that they should A/B test and refine, they give up before seeing measurable results.
Writing isn’t really what you do.
Instead, your writing is a business tool that impacts your client’s bottom line. They don’t care about you. They care about how your writing services will affect them. Show them how you can do that with amazing copy, clips and ideas tailored to their needs.
Query Letter Writing is Your Sales Funnel
Here’s one of the amazing things about query letters no one really talks about. You can skip expensive and time-consuming marketing and sales funnels and solely rely on query letter writing.
You really don’t need to advertise your services, conquer social media, or attend expensive conferences. All of those things can give your writing career a big boost but aren’t necessary to see fast results. Instead, you can spend a little time researching your ideal client and their pain points, figure out what they need and how you can help. Next, you develop a crystal clear offering in your query letter.
When I started out, I had no writer’s website or clips. Instead, I had to beat my head against the wall until I figured out how to write a query letter that actually converted to paid assignments. But it paid off. Now clients come to me. And when I need new work, I just send out a fresh batch of query letters and find new clients.
Query Letter Writing Leads to Lifestyle Perks
It took me awhile to realize I was earning a decent income as a part-time freelance writer and staying home with my kids but was also slowly building up a lifestyle content career.
When I took inventory of what I was actually earning over the years, it wasn’t just money. It was also free press trips, free products, and attraction tickets. I “earned” all of these perks by writing for my own blog, local publications and for my freelance clients. If I added up all of those perks, it was thousands of dollars.
Of course, those “perks” still require work, but it’s work I love. Press trips require a lot of running around, going to presentations and crafting a story. For me, that’s bliss. Instead, you may love reviewing toys or software products, apps or new technology. With the right strategy and query letters, you could build up your own lifestyle perks in tandem with a paycheck.
Where to Send Query Letters
There’s no one place to send a query letter, and it can take some time to narrow down prospects. Start by identifying managing editors of magazines and websites. It also helps if you can figure out the contact for individual departments. For example, a travel editor wants to see completely different content than a business editor.
One way to find the right names is to plug in the search terms of the publication into LinkedIN to see who works for the publication. This can help narrow your search and yield more accurate results.
Whatever your goals are as a writer, focus on getting your query letters nailed down to open the doors to new opportunities. Who knows where it will take you!
Need a hand with query letters and figuring out how to break into the business? Read Gina’s post on the exact 7 step process to becoming a freelance writer and start earning right away.