By Kara-Marie Hall BSN RN
Senior Reporter
January 17, 2022

10–12 minutes to read

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    Avoid These 11 LOI Mistakes

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    When it comes to letters of introduction (LOIs), freelance nurse writers sometimes find themselves in a rut. They’re not sure what to say. They don’t want to come across as “too salesy.” And just the overall thought of sending an email to a stranger intimidates them.

    If this is you, rest assured that sending LOIs does get easier with time. But it’s also important to spend that time avoiding common mistakes that can reduce your chances of getting new clients.

    Below are 11 of the most common LOI blunders:

    Sending an LOI to Anyone in the Company

    Let’s start with what happens before you start writing your LOI: Prospect research.

    During this time, you need to find out who is most likely in charge of dealing with freelance writers. In journalism, this could be an editor. In content marketing, this could be a marketing manager or director.

    Undoubtedly, looking for the right contact can take some creativity. But it’s well worth it because you’ll feel more confident that you’re reaching out to the right person.

    Writing Long LOI Subject Lines

    You’ve most likely received sales newsletters with catchy subject lines. After all, they’re trying to entice you to buy something. But in the freelance writing world, the LOI subject line should get straight to the point.

    In the LOI subject line, let your prospect know why you’re contacting them. For example, you could say “Nurse Writer Introduction.” Or, you could use a LOI subject line that highlights something specific to your prospect’s needs like “Experienced Cardiac Nurse Writer.”

    Not Researching Your Prospect

    Have you ever felt misunderstood? That’s how some prospects feel when they receive emails that don’t resonate with their brand. By taking the time to research their website and social media, you can gain key insights into their existing content. You can also use your LOI to compliment the prospect on their existing content and/or share ideas on how you can further enhance it.

    Not Giving Clear Benefits

    It’s crucial to remember that when prospects open your email, they’re looking for that one reason they should work with you.

    They need to believe that you can alleviate their pain points, or those areas in which they are struggling. Perhaps they’re overwhelmed with the amount of content they have to produce. Maybe they need a more reliable writer or one with a specific skill set. Whatever the case, your LOI needs to clearly address their hypothetical problem, which you can uncover through research. Then, you can offer your content writing services as the solution.

    Sending Impersonal LOIs

    It’s true: Sending LOIs is a numbers game. At the same time, be mindful of sending generic, automatic emails to hundreds of prospects. They can tell if they’re just another number in your email marketing efforts, or if you’re truly interested in partnering with them.

    Ensure every LOI refers to the contact by their name. Also, consider adding a salutation that exudes gratitude to them for reading your email (such as, “Kindly,” “Many thanks,” or “Thanks for your time”).

    Last but not least, make sure your LOI addresses the correct company!

    Not Providing Evidence

    Humans are naturally skeptical. They often want cold, hard proof that a service or product works. For freelance nurse writers, your LOI gives you the chance to show off your credentials (RN or LVN, for example) that qualify you to write about health topics. 

    If you’ve written for any major brands or have a mutual colleague with the prospect, mention it to boost your credibility. And don’t forget to add a link to your portfolio or a few relevant samples for prospects to check out.

    Being Too Timid

    An LOI is similar to an elevator pitch, meaning you need to demonstrate the best version of yourself to increase your likelihood of earning a conversation with the prospect.

    If you’ve worked in a certain specialty, say so. If you’ve worked on projects that relate to the prospect, say so. And if you hold a value proposition that other writers may not have, say so!

    Remember: Your LOI is your time to shine.

    Leaving Out a Call-To-Action

    Many conversations end with some sort of proposed action. For example, when you finish chatting with a friend, you may say “We’ll talk later.” As a nurse, after speaking with a patient, you may tell them, “I’ll be back in around an hour to check on you.”

    Therefore, when prospects get to the end of your LOI, they likely want to know where the conversation will go from there. If you don’t propose a next step, it may go nowhere. So, be sure to end your LOI with a compelling CTA, or call-to-action, that asks prospects to respond.

    Here are a few CTA suggestions:

    Should we connect? I’m available any day and time next week for a phone call (link to booking calendar).

    Book a free consultation with me (link to booking calendar).

    Review my portfolio (link to portfolio) and book a complimentary consultation (link to booking calendar).

    Not Checking Spelling and Grammar

    Although this may seem like a no-brainer, it’s easy to forget. But first impressions do count. An LOI with misspelled words (especially if it’s the name of the contact or company) and poor grammar could get your email mistaken as spam.

    Fortunately, with tools like Grammarly and ProWritingAid, you can ensure your LOIs are in tip-top shape before you send them to prospective clients. You could also try some quick tactics to check your work, such as reading the sentences backwards or out-loud.

    Writing Unnecessarily Long LOIs 

    So far, we’ve covered several strategies that you can use in your LOI. But don’t be mistaken. A highly effective LOI doesn’t need to be lengthy. In fact, you can create a concise LOI that incorporates all of these tips and helps you land clients. Need proof? Check out this post on how to write a stellar 5-sentence LOI.

    Not Following-Up

    You’ve finished and sent your LOI. Congratulations on your progress! But don’t forget to follow up if you don’t hear back from the prospect within a reasonable timeframe. Life happens and emails like yours can get lost in the shuffle. Or maybe they didn’t need your services before, but now do.

    Follow-up emails are just a friendly reminder that you’re still interested in assisting the prospect with their content needs. For best results, come up with a realistic follow-up schedule — such as every 2 weeks up to a max of 3 attempts.

    Have you committed one of these LOI mistakes? How do you plan to ramp up your LOI strategy going forward? Shout it out on our social media channels!

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    Kara-Marie Hall BSN RN

    Kara-Marie Hall is a healthcare writer and registered nurse who writes B2B & B2C copy for various niches, including pharma, digital health, consumer health, and healthcare economics. She also specializes in content targeted to clinicians, including nurses. Kara-Marie is a member of the Association of Healthcare Journalists (AHCJ) and enjoys collaborating with others to improve the healthcare experience for all.