I came across this article by Josh Bernoff and it struck me that this is advice all PR pros can use –it will just take a minute to share.  I was especially interested because while a handful of bloggers and journalists have called out members of our profession for bad email practices, very few have given us constructive advice for staying off the blacklist.  That’s advice we can all use.  Thanks, Josh!  

As I was reading through the tips, I also noticed that while this is good advice for emails from PR pros to journalists, it’s also great advice for general professional communication.  So, before you hit send, keep Josh’s tips in mind:

  • Relevance: Make sure that you pay attention to who you are e-mailing. Many reporters often complain that they receive e-mails on topics that they use to cover or just random news that has no value to them. Bernoff urges all PR pros to do their homework before pressing “send.”  I urge you to double-check the relevance factor before hitting “reply all.”

  • Sources: It’s best to e-mail reporters directly and avoid wire services or e-mailing services like Constant Contact, this shows respect and dedication to the reporter.  Individual emails are important regardless of who’s on the other end of the pipe.

  • Timing: PR pros should send pitches every day of the week as reporters are always looking for content. Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean that reporters aren’t writing and in need of ideas.

  • Personal Touches: Bernoff explains that he is much more likely to click “reply” when PR professionals take time to make reference on his latest piece and show that they took time to research what he actually writes about and is interested in. Marking an e-mail as high importance is a waste of time.  

  • Getting off the List: Bernoff encourages PR e-mails to include a message such as “if these sorts of e-mails aren’t relevant to you, email me back and let me know.” This way if your e-mail is not relevant to a reporter, you have at least shown that you respect their time.

  • Format: Always stay away from newsletters as a way to pitch reporters. It’s best to send informal notes that are personal, interesting to read and are likely to spark his interest. Never send a release on its own as most releases have so little news content in proportion to the number of words.

Bernoff’s motto is to channel your energy into targeted, personal outreach to a few people whom you care about and know about, and you’ll do much better.  Do you have others to add?

– Contributed by Emily Buehrens