The reality about the plums is that the competition is stiff. The first order of business is to ensure our cover letter is not tossed. About 300 replies will come in. Therefore from the get-go, follow the rules.
The ad might state placing a certain phrase such as "Freelance Writer" in the subject head. Also, the first sorting could be based on keywords, either done by computer or human. In the first few sentences, use the keywords such as "seasoned speechwriter" or "based in Texas."
The next task is to differentiate ourselves from the competition. Yes, we specify that we meet the criteria such as experience covering insurance issues and clients' articles published in brandname media. But then we have to make explicit our edge or edges.
For instance, we may have a law degree which is an asset writing about financial topics. And/or we may have actually worked full time in the office of a state insurance regulator.
Part of the pitch is to offer something. That could be a complimentary consultation on the prospect's opportunities and pain points. Or we can offer a brief analysis of how we predict the trends in insurance regulation in TX.
Next, proofread. Yes, print out the cover letter to pick up on typos and grammatical mistakes.