The first words that a visitor reads when she arrives at your profile will go a long way toward making a solid first impression. Commonly referred to as a dear birthmother letter, on Adoptimist we prefer the term ‘intro letter’ or simply ‘introduction’. Naming conventions aside, it is a vital piece of your adoption profile and you’ll want yours to be as lean and effective as possible. Even if you like your current intro, there are several good reasons for an occasional tuneup. Maybe it is too wordy or it sounds like everyone else’s. Or perhaps it just doesn’t capture who you really are as a family. Here are six suggestions we offer if you are having trouble getting your introduction letter going.
1. Keep it short.
Save the specific details about your family for the About / bio section. Generally our visitors don’t have the time or patience to read through many paragraphs of text. Especially long ones. So if your letter is longer than a few paragraphs, it likely won’t be read and may even turn off some potential readers due to its length. If so, it just might be time to trim your letter down.
2. Start with a good headline.
Here is a blog all about writing effective Adoptimist headlines. The idea is simple: get your viewer’s attention and keep it. Think of your intro letter as an extension of your headline. Use it to keep your letter tight, focused, and on track. Establish a nice a rhythm with your words and don’t get bogged down with too many extra details about your life.
3. Be different.
Your family is unique. So focus on what makes yours so special - hobbies, careers, pets, special family traditions. This is one easy way to instantly help your family stand out from others.
4. Be direct.
Tell your viewers precisely and succinctly who you are and what you can offer. You don’t have to sound overly self-assured or cocky. But if your family can offer a child specific opportunities, she should know that. If, for example, your family is very open to open adoption, older children, or a child with special needs, this should be made known as well. Conversely if your family has very specific desires - such as adopting a girl only - your intro letter is a great place to make this fact known.
Don’t just say you can offer a child a wonderful life. Try offering specific examples of how you will do just that. For example, ‘We enjoy apple picking in the autumn’ is much more descriptive and personal than ‘We like to spend time together as a family’.
6. Choose your lead photo carefully.
Make sure the quality is nice and try to pick a photo that shows the warmth and uniqueness of your family. Keep in mind we live in a visual world. For better or worse, your lead photo will probably say more to your visitors than anything you can possibly write. So pick one with care. Or take a new one if yours isn’t just right. An effective photo should fit nicely with the things you say in your intro letter.
Good luck. Don’t forget to share your letter with others to get some valuable feedback.