Category Archives: Email

Tip #201: Don’t you dare cut me off

That is what they say about YC startups, isn’t it?

Ok, maybe not so much a tip, since watching out for this all the time could drive you insane. But maybe you want to consider what your company name might look like if it gets truncated through no fault of your own.

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Tip #198: Don’t subject me to this

You know you’re competing for attention with PR reps who actually do the work, right?

If you can’t be bothered to write a subject line, why should I bother opening your email?

Check out this screen grab. All these emails are from the same firm, which specializes in infuriating me. “Helpful app?” “New Tech Trend?” Yeah, that stands out.

Bonus crime! This outfit also likes to use “Follow up” as a subject line when it’s the first message on a topic.

By the way, this is from the same PR company responsible for Pro PR Tip #178: Fool me once. The only reason I haven’t blacklisted this entire outfit is because it’s such a good source of bad PR.

See also: Pro PR Tip #98: Make it snappy, Sweetheart.

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Tip #197: Assistant Executive Superstar. Got it.

This email warmed my heart. Or would have, if I had one.

Hi Rafe,

Hope you are well! I wanted to reach out to introduce myself and let you know of a new client my agency has brought on board which I think will be of interest to you. My name is [musical girl’s name]  and I’m an Account Superstar at [whatever] Agency, based in SF. My official title is Assistant Account Executive, but I strive to be a stellar reference to my close contacts as well as tell my client’s stories as they deserve to be told – and “AAE” just doesn’t serve my goal justice!

Short Pitch… [Sorry, didn’t get this far]

Emphasis mine.

Listen, you adorable young thing, I’m a crusty old jerk who doesn’t give a damn about your hearts and unicorns. Can we just get straight to the business? Thanks.

Related Pro PR Tips:
Tip #167: Don’t bury the lead
Tip #98: Make it snappy, Sweetheart

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Tip #196: Gone and forgotten

If you get me on the phone, and you ask if I got your e-mail, which you shouldn’t, but if you do, and I say, “I don’t see it here,” then I’d like you to know a few things.

First, I’m not lying. When someone reaches me and asks me that question, I check.

Second, I also believe that you sent it. It’d be a dumb thing to fib about.

So where is it?

Deleted. And already forgotten. Sorry.

Journos get lots and lots of email pitches. We delete out of hand the ones that don’t look right for us, or anyone else we work with. When you call and I can’t find your email, it means that it was one of the messages to not make the first cut.

I don’t know how you should respond to this. You could try to pitch me on the phone. Most people do, and 99% of the time, I begin to vaguely remember the email. And why I deleted it. Awkward.

Or you could just save everyone a bunch of time and say, “I’ll re-send it,” and ring off. And not call back about it.

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Tip #194: Don’t bury the embargo

Embargoes and NDAs are bad enough. The presumptive embargo is worse: where you send embargoed information along with the embargo notice, without first making sure your recipient will agree to honor the embargo at all.

But look! Here’s a new way to screw up: Burying the presumptive embargo way down in in the email signature. And not having a time on it, either.

[Four long paragraphs of pitch…]

I look forward to hearing from you — best,
[Some PR gal]
___________________________
[SOME PR COMPANY NAME]
1.408.[phone #] office
Twitter: [deleted] Skype: [deleted] AIM: [deleted]

Please note: all information contained in this email is embargoed until Wednesday, January 25th, 2012.

Well, at least you put the critical bits in red…

Seriously, this is a recipe for a busted NDA and bunch of unhappy clients and journalists. So I’ll just sit back and watch this one explode. Thanks anyway.

Go read these tips!
Pro PR Tip #38: The Presumptive NDA
Pro PR Tip #77: Time warp
Pro PR Tip #98: Make it snappy

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Filed under Email, NDAs

Tip #191: Would it kill you to use words?

It's something about somebody exhibiting at a CES press event, I think.

I know, you think your email pitches look better if you put big, fancy graphics in them. But they don’t look so hot if your recipient has images blocked by default, or worse, is reading their messages on a smartphone with a slow data link. Or even worse, on an airplane with no connectivity.

Do you want your message to be pretty, or do want it to be read?

At the very least, put the actual content of the message in text up at the top of the message. That way, your recipient can read it regardless. Also, it’s much easier to copy and paste information from an email into a calendar or to-do list if there’s actual text to select.

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Tip #190: Oh, that’s what I’m supposed to do?

Please banish this redundancy from your email subject lines:

“Please read.”

As opposed to what?

Wait… there are answers! From Twitter:

  • “Please Read …aloud, while standing on your head.” (@MattStubbs)
  • “Please delete prior to opening” (@MrCippy)
  • “Please perform a dramatic reenactment” (@snhuxc)
  • And my favorite: “You mean I didn’t have to read all those other emails today?!” (@leebehrens)

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