The humble email signature is one of the overlooked workhorses of your marketing efforts as a freelance writer. You are more likely focusing on the brilliant idea you're developing and pitching, but the contact details you provide give you an opportunity to come across as thoughtful and professional--or not.
In the worst-case scenario, your signature could actually trigger a client's spam filter and prevent your email from being read at all. (Skip to the bottom of this post to see if you are making this mistake in the section on what to avoid including in your email signature.)
It should only take you a few minutes to read through this list and add or remove a few items. And, unlike most makeovers, you're not going to wind up with a new look that you can't replicate yourself. Once you make these changes, everyone will see the new, improved version. Let's get started!
First Name and Last Name
You might be thinking that if editors want to get in touch with you, they can find you. One overarching piece of advice: Don't make any extra work for your editors. If they forwarded your email and people are discussing it in the office, they want to easily be able to contact you. Put the email address in plain text to ensure that people can easily reply to it or refer you on.
Choose a professional sounding email address. Yourname@yourwebsite.com is a safe way to go. If you don't have your own website yet, then email@example.com is okay too. If your email is something like firstname.lastname@example.org, get another one for freelance work.
Skype or other contact
Link to a recent story
Snail mail address or fax
More than one or two social media accounts
List of all your professional organizations, clubs, degrees, etc.
But I promise you, people out there on older computers or operating systems are seeing something like this:
... and you look like a luddite. Keep your email signature plain text.
The other thing that can happen when you send an attachment is it can trigger the spam filter. If you are sending a cold first email that hits the spam filter, and then every other email as a consequence also hits the spam filter, you're never going to get through to your dream editor.
That's it! If you do nothing else, make sure you write out your email address in plain text, and ditch any attachments.
Want a blueprint for pitching your story ideas that editors find irresistible? Download a copy of my free eguide for freelance writers, "5 Proven Steps to Writing Queries that Sell."