As an editor, I like it when I get a little note from the writer. As a matter of fact those with cover letters get first consideration around here. If your work is sent by email, the cover letter is the start of the email, it is not attached. Please don’t send me another attachment on top of the 4 attachments you are sending. My life is about attachments anyway. I mean I dream of that little paperclip symbol sometimes, and the dream isn’t pleasant. So start the email with the cover letter. Remember, editors are people. Think of it this way, if you were stopping by the office to drop off your work would you simply through a floppy disc at the editor and then leave or would you stop and have a few words with him?
Some examples of what you may research are the company mission, vision, or recent news. You’re looking for information that is relevant to the position and details that make you excited about the company.
Let’s look at Patagonia as an example. Patagonia’s mission statement is: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” If you’re applying for a Sales Internship, but you’re also passionate about protecting the environment, then it would be great to reference how you’re drawn to their mission.