When you begin to write, your mind may give you random, disjointed thoughts.
Your ideas probably won't come out logically or sequentially, but write them
down as they appear, without worrying about order or logic. Don't judge and
evaluate, simply collect them. Later you'll evaluate, sort, and organize them.
At this stage you just want to get them down on paper, on tape, or on computer
It is easier for most people to write this way, because the creative part of
your brain isn't very logical, and the logical part of your brain isn't very
creative. Don't expect your mind to perform both functions at once (although
Use the "card trick" to organize your
Sometimes it helps to put all your thoughts on individual index cards,
exactly as they come to mind. Later, you can sort the cards to get a finished
product, eliminating cards that don't fit.
This is also a beautiful way to write a magazine or journal article with very
little stress--and very little "writer's block," because nothing you write down
has to be said perfectly or accurately. Everything can be sharpened up later.
Your first goal is simply to collect your rough thoughts. Once you've
accomplished that, here's what to do next:
1. Spend time on your letter. Someone once said, "With part-time effort, you
get part-time results." This is especially true in letter writing. You can
expect to spend several hours, or even several days, on a letter.
2. Write a draft, then let it cool off overnight.
3. Rewrite if necessary.
4. Use a strong close, like these: "After you have had a chance to review
this letter, I will call you to get your reactions." "I will call your office
next week to arrange a time when we might be able to get together. If you have
any questions before that, please call me at (555) 771-4357."
5. Avoid weaker endings like these: "Please call me at your earliest
convenience." "I believe that a meeting could prove to be mutually profitable,
and ask that, if you agree, you contact me so that we can arrange a convenient
time." "Thank you for your consideration. I am available for a personal
interview at your earliest convenience and look forward to hearing from you."
"In the next week or two when your schedule permits, let's meet and discuss my
aspirations in more detail. Please give me a call." "I look forward to your
6. Ask for opinions, advice, and feedback from friends, and from sales,
marketing, and advertising experts.
7. Mail a small sample to test your letter. This is important. A consultant
friend once mailed 76,000 brochures at a cost of nearly $15,000, and only got
three responses. What a shame! The material was poorly written, badly designed,
and poorly tested. Test your letters before you roll them out on a large scale.
8. If you're getting the kind of response you want, mail larger numbers.
9. Enclose a response form to increase your response.
10. Remail the same letter to the same people two or three times. Repetition
11. Don't mark letters "Personal and Confidential," unless there's a solid
reason why they can't be opened by a secretary. If the letter is persuasive
enough, it will get through.
Give yourself time
You can't expect to produce an exceptional document overnight. Letter-writing
is actually harder than resume-writing because you're starting with a clean
slate. In resume-writing at least you have your background--which is
definite--to work with. In letter writing, you start with nothing. Letters can
be about anything. That's why they're so difficult.
I once took a class called "How to Market a Book." The class focused on
writing query letters to publishers to get a book contract. The course lasted
six weeks and met for two hours each week. I spent several hours per week on
homework--staying up all night several nights--and the end product was a
one-page sales letter to publishers. Lots of work for just one letter.
I mailed the letter to about 30 publishers and got 13 responses. No one
bought the book, but one publisher did offer to publish it for royalties only
(no advance), which I declined. That book was the forerunner of this one.
Writers often say, "I don't like writing, but I like having written." That's
how many of us feel. Writing can be hard work. Don't take it lightly, and don't
feel bad if you can't write a high-impact marketing letter in half an hour.
Neither can professional copywriters! Writing is a profession, like rocket
science. Don't expect to learn or perfect it overnight.
Don't copy someone else's letter
Take these letters as samples and modify them to fit yourself, but don't copy
them verbatim(逐字地). I've found that people who copy someone else's letter seldom
get a good response, regardless of how good the letter is. Be original.
It would be easy to take the letters in this collection and use them
word-for-word. That would be quick, but probably not effective. Your letter has
to be "you." It should sound like you, feel like you, read like you--because you
have to follow it with a phone call, or answer questions about it.
So, don't send a really "hot," aggressive letter if you're introverted and
laid-back. You'll have trouble following up on the letter and you may not come
across well. Send a letter that mirrors your style--and only you can write that
Get professional help
If you're a skilled writer, fine. The project may be easy for you. But if
you're not, you may need help. Consider hiring a professional freelance
writer(自由撰稿人) to help you compose and edit your letters, but not to do them for
Where can you begin to look? Call your local ad club for the names of direct
mail freelance writers. Read the classifieds in Writer's Digest. Check the
Yellow Pages under "Writers." Contact your local writers' guild. Check with
local advertising and PR firms. They use lots of freelancers. Newspaper and
magazine editors know writers too.
（来源： 英文荟萃 上海对外贸易学院通讯员俞敏供稿）