Knowing how to write a business thank you letter is an important skill for all businesspeople, including freelance writers! Sending a quick note thanking an editor for an assignment may help build a good working relationship and ensure those articles keep getting assigned.
And that’s what these business letter writing tips are all about….
“A meaningful note reflects the individual you’re writing to,” writes Florence Isaacs in Just a Note to Say . . .The Perfect Words for Every Occasion. “That’s why it’s important to ask, ‘Who is this person and what is the nature of our relationship?’ A good note says, ‘I know who you are.’”
You don’t need personal knowledge of a client, colleague, or editor to write a good business thank you letter. You just need to acknowledge who he or she — or, in other words, say “I see you.” Just a Note to Say . . .The Perfect Words for Every Occasion is a solid resource for writing all types of letters — despite its “frou frou” cover!
And, here are a few tips for business letter writing…
How to Write a Business Thank You Letter
Though this article is geared towards freelance writers who want to thank magazine editors for article assignments, the tips can be used for other types of business letter writing.
Mention a specific connection
Business writing is formal, but not devoid of personality or connection! When writing a thank you letter, mention something specific about the project you worked on together. For instance, I’ve written health articles that were extremely sensitive (such as how to deal with an unplanned pregnancy). If I were to write a thank you letter to that editor, I may mention how challenging and fulfilling it was to tackle such a sensitive topic and how helpful the editor was. Or, I may mention how much I learned, and how writing the article changed my perspective on the topic.
Refer to something you and the editor discussed, apart from the article
I’ve worked with one magazine editor numerous times, and she often described her heavy workload. From her comments, it seemed like her magazine wasn’t the most positive place to work. While I wouldn’t mention specific details about her job in a business thank you letter, I might encourage her to stay positive or tell her how pleasant she was to work with despite her stressful environment. Or, I might mention something else we talked about, such as a vacation or upcoming editors’ conference.
Enclose an article clipping or photo
A memorable business thank you letter isn’t just about the writing, it’s about what’s inside the envelope! A newspaper article about the magazine industry, a funny cartoon about work, or a photo of something that reminds you of the editor or the article you worked on together is a wonderful way to establish a good business relationship.
Share what you learned from working with the editor
Even if writing the magazine article wasn’t the most pleasant experience, you probably learned something from it! Knowing how to write a good business thank you letter is about putting a positive spin on negative experiences. If the article didn’t go well and you don’t want to work with this editor again, remember that the publishing industry is a small world. Since you don’t want to be the bad taste in an editor’s mouth – and you don’t want him or her talking with colleagues about how the article went down – it may be smart to write quick thank you letters even to editors you don’t wish to work with again.
Tell the editor you look forward to working together again
When editors tell me they look forward to working with me on future articles, I simultaneously melt and preen! You don’t have to kiss big editorial butt to ensure you keep getting article assignments…you need only be honest, and say that you hope you work with this editor again. If you enjoy working with a particular editor, tell him or her why.
Want more article assignments? Read Tips for Working With Magazine Editors.
Do you send business thank you letters to editors you’ve worked with? I welcome your comments below!