Thoughts on Emails

June 18, 2008 — 4 Comments

shashi_seth_email_google_cooliris.jpg

-Valleywag has a nice example of exactly how NOT to do guerrilla PR. If you have a site or deal with the press at all, you know that horrible emails are the curse of the industry. And because most people can’t step outside their own head and look at things from someone else’s perspective, they are laughably bad at cold contact emails. If you can craft something decent -and it really is a craft – you can open up all the right doors.

-I’ve had two brothers email me off and on for the last few months. Together they’ve sent me emails addressed to the wrong person, hit me with the obnoxious Tim Ferriss autoresponder, invited me to join a FB group one of them created about himself, tagged me the same blog from like four different accounts and asked me to look at a quote list they didn’t bother to give me credit for.

Its funny because as ridiculous as all those things are, at least they’ve shown some initiative. That’s great. I know who they are. I just have a sneaking suspicious that they might be retarded.

-Tim did a great post on this a few weeks ago but he’s missing one thing: Humanness. For young people, your emails need to have life. Spirit. Use the word “really” or “thank you” or “hope” or anything that makes you real. Because you are real When I see “I am grateful for your consideration” I think this isn’t someone I have going to bother giving anything back to.

-Everyone has their own their own style. There is not right or wrong way to navigate new media emails. But if I had to offer some advice…

* Be human

* Be brief

* Be personal

* Offer something in exchange

* Create a reason for a response (“getting an answer” implies something)

* If you’re going to go covert, be untraceable

Again, emails, questions, comments, views – all of those incur a cost upon the person you want something from. It’s your job to make those as low as possible.

Ryan Holiday

I'm a strategist for bestselling authors and billion dollar brands like American Apparel, Tucker Max and Robert Greene. My work has been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube and Google and has been written about in AdAge, the New York Times, Gawker and Fast Company.

4 responses to Thoughts on Emails

  1. Here is an issue I’ve been wondering about, though: How do you maximize your presence without becoming annoying? The two brothers made such an impact that you included them in your blog post… but it sounds like they’re so annoying that you’d value them more if they left you alone.

    I have a bad habit of writing an email/comment/whatever and then never sending it, because I figure it’s not worth the time of whoever I’m writing to. I might have something to say every week, but they only end up hearing from me once a month–but I can’t figure if a short email that offers little but takes up only a minute of someone’s time is making the relationship stronger or weaker. Where do you draw the line?r

  2. The brothers served their purpose of showing us how email communication shouldn’t be done. And yes, I guess they annoyed Ryan.

    That Cooliris thing looks like penis enlargement spam. Seriously, if I got something like that in my inbox, I would instinctively mark it as spam, without reading it. Someone actually thought an email that looks like THAT would work?

  3. How about, be bold? Your advice at the end there would warn off the fresh and timid, like me. I hate stepping on busy people’s toes, but I don’t want to lose my own sense of importance by over-worrying if my email/comment is a burden.

  4. Being bold is probably the worst thing you could do in emails. It rarely comes out like you hoped, is easily misinterpreted and if you’re specifically making an effort to, you’re already in a bad, bad place.

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