I was a bit taken aback by David Spark’s post on PR Daily today, titled ‘Why faux friendliness gets emails deleted.’ David suggests cutting the sugarcoating out of your email correspondence. No “I hope the week is going well.” No generic “love your blog and all of the great social media marketing tools that you share.”
I find David’s suggestions in general a bit curt. I have no issues with starting an email with “I hope this finds you well.” That is in no way me trying to be your best buddy. Rather, I’m trying to extend common courtesy.
What we should learn from David’s post is the skill of personalizing and targeting individual email outreach.
- If you actually read (which you should always do) and liked one of the reporter’s latest articles, say it. What harm does it do if you specify why you liked it, and how your pitch fits because of what you liked? We all know the best practice of reading the work of who we’re pitching. Who doesn’t like hearing that the pitcher also happened to like it for legitimate reasons and why that fits our reasoning for being in touch?
- PR is about relationship building. While it’s important to get to the point and be as succinct as possible, I’m a fan of warmth and friendly inflection. More often I find myself referring to and connecting most often with those I know have a pleasant personality. Robotic communication just leaves something to be desired in my opinion (and I’m not saying David suggests such a thing).
- For the love of all the PR gods – do not mass email!
- An apology is fine, but you should mean it. I honestly am sorry to pester people, and I say so when I send a follow-up email. I don’t like to be pestered, but sometimes need a reminder or a poke here and there. Just don’t use it ad nauseam, especially where there’s really no need.
David ends with calling faux engagement a hideous, obnoxious trend. He also calls any of us who send what he deems “faux,” a-holes. David has a lot of cordiality and empathy, doesn’t he? My two cents: The definition of faux is in the eye of the beholder. Be polite, courteous, considerate, genuine and targeted in all correspondence. It shouldn’t take a post like David’s or mine to teach you that.