A letter of introduction (often referred to as an LOI) is a useful tool when attempting to enter into a long-term writing relationship with a trade or specialty magazine in a topic or area you are interested in or experienced in. These letters differ from pitch or query letters because that format pitches an editor only one idea for one article in a magazine. On the other hand, an LOI is a meaningful introduction to a working relationship.
Overall, trade magazines looking to add new blood to their writing cadre will advertise in freelance writing job lists, or simply poke around the web, looking for an expert. They might also seek out recommendations from those they know in the industry or use social media to get the word out.
Being Prepared Is Key
It's very likely you will encounter job postings from specialty magazines asking specifically for an LOI as a way of application. The important thing is to be ready with your LOI as soon as you see a job you qualify for that meets your salary requirements. The freelance writing world is very competitive and the slightest delay will most likely result in a lost opportunity.
The example below is an LOI sent to a targeted publication because an established editor was retiring. Note that this letter was sent to the new editor. The new editor will likely have resources, but is just as likely to want to cultivate more relationships with even more freelance writers.
Ms. Joanne Cohen, Editor
Architecture and Design Digest
1211 Front St.
New York, NY 10009
Dear Ms. Cohen,
Congratulations on your new position. I trust you've settled in by now. I'm introducing myself because I have extensive experience writing about landscape architecture, and have covered it for nearly a decade.
If you are looking to add to your roster of freelance writers and editors, please consider me for assignments in the area. I am a full-time freelancer and began my career as an in-house writer for one of the top landscape architectural firms, Field Operations. I worked on all of the company's communications, including its digital platforms.
Today, my main client is the nationally-distributed XYZ Architectural Publication, where I write about XYZ Architectural Topic. I also have a short-term contract with XYZ Regional Architectural Magazine and have been published in several adjacent trade magazines that touch on landscape architecture.
I've enclosed my resume and business card and a sample of my work. My resume showcases several references I invite you to contact. You can find more recommendations posted on my LinkedIn account.
Please let me know if you require any other information or material.
In the meantime, I wish you much success, and thank you for your time.
Ms. Gloria Kenworth
Digital Version of Freelance LOI
When responding to an advertisement for a freelance opportunity, it's likely you'll be asked to submit the information by email or through an electronic platform. So have a letter prepared that showcases your experience the same way this one does, but customize it for the specific publisher.