Category Archives: Email

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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Filed under Email, Phone

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]
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


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.


Filed under Email

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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Tip #186: I am not 14 years old

And you’re not, either. So try not to send press e-mails that start like this:

OMFG. We are so excited. Today, Hulu and The CW announced a new five-year licensing agreement…

There’s actually a real story here, but I think my point stands.

See also:
Don’t let a 6-year-old address your envelopes
Don’t let your toddler name your company

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Tip #184: Piggyback

If your news can’t stand on its own, trying to attach it to another passing story won’t help.

Hi Rafe,

The new Siri app for the iPhone 4S does almost everything… almost. That’s where [[company’s]] newest [[clever name]] case comes in. Designed for the iPhone 4 (but a perfect fit for the 4S too), the slim smartphone case that includes space for cards and cash… So after Siri reminds you to stop at the bank, you’ll have somewhere to stash your cash.

This very typical example takes a hot news item and over-leverages it to pitch something that seems, at least to this jaded writer, completely unrelated. The announcement of a new voice-control technology for the iPhone cannot reasonably be used to pitch an iPhone case, unless you’re writing Sky Mall catalog copy. Just send us the product news, if there is any. Leave the sophomore analysis to us; it’s what we’re paid for.


Filed under Email

Tip #178: Fool me once

This one pains me.

When you say you’re going to do something, like send a review unit, do it.

If you forget you said you were going to send a unit, and you pitch me again a month later, and I remind you of our conversation, and you say, sorry, I’ll really send it this time, then really send it.

If, a month after that, having neither sent the product nor checked in, you pitch me again as if we’ve never spoken, you do not get to say, when I remind you of our first and second conversations, “I requested a sample and am sorry to hear it did not arrive.”

There is no recovery from this.

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Filed under Common sense, Email, Relationships

Tip #177: When they say, “viral marketing,” this is not what they mean

A new classic from the Dept. of Emails We Never Finished Reading:

Did you know that touchscreen devices actually hold just as much germs as a toilet seat handle in a men’s restroom?!


Good to know. Actually, not really.

Related tips:
Tip #161: Don’t gross yourself out
Tip #168: There is a right answer and a wrong answer

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Filed under Email

Tip #176: There’s only one of me

Get a grip on your email autoblaster, please.


Filed under Email

Tip #175: Save the stalking for Facebook

Just wondering: Did Constant Contact also tell that I opened your email and deleted it already?

Hi Rafe,

I am the PR Coordinator for [[company]]. I was able to see through Constant Contact that you opened my e-mail yesterday (creepy, right?) that contained our newest press release, and I wanted to follow up with you.

Also did it tell you that when I clicked on the URL in your email pitch (before I deleted it), what I got was, “Your search did not return an exact match. Please try another search?”


So, to answer your question: Yes, it’s creepy. I don’t think that’s what you want. Unless you’re pitching a horror film.

Further reading:
Tip #82: Nag
Tip #105: One last check

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Filed under Common sense, Email