Break down the letter into short, but specific, paragraphs. Don’t ramble, but do flesh out your key points. Try to keep it at one page, covering the various aspects of their recommendation in brief, specific detail.
Inform yourself about the person you are recommending. Spend some time talking to them about their goals and the position they are applying for. Gather together their current resume, any memos or notes you may have on them, and any other information that will help you as you write the letter. The best recommendations are thorough and specific, and having all the information at hand will make the process much easier.