PR Advice #3 – Email Checklist
This is, unfortunately, something I have fallen victim to in my career and something I see on a weekly basis working as a blogger.
When I am putting together an important email I have a checklist that I go through before I send anything. I’m not even joking, it might seem like a very long-winded process but I would rather take an extra five minutes ticking off the below than looking a fool to whoever I’m speaking to.
In a world where PR time is endless, we would love (I can’t stress this enough) to send a pitch email tailored to every single person we are speaking to. However, sometimes that list can be 2/300 people long, and do you have any idea how much time that would take? Especially if you’re on your own and not part of a team. I’ll give you a hint – it’s a damn long time.
Therefore, to save time, a ‘template’ email is often used, whether it’s for a pitch, an invite, a follow up or an announcement. The body of the email remains the same, with the greeting and opening line changing.
However, the amount of times I have seen ‘FW:’, ‘Hey Amy’, ‘I’ve been reading your blog at www.notmyblog.co.uk and I love it’, is unbelievable. They’re such simple mistakes to make but they can also be the difference between someone bothering to read your email and someone not. It really is that fine a line.
I’ve pulled together a checklist of all the things I do before I fire out a bunch of emails, you don’t have to follow these- they’re just a bit of advice for you.
- Before anything happens, remove any email address in the ‘To’ or ‘CC’ section, on occasions I have double clicked enter when holding shift and BOOM, email sent halfway through writing
- Copy and paste the bulk of your email into your message
- If you’re working to a list, pull this up and have them (if you can) on adjacent screens, alternatively, shut all other work down and leave these two parts open
- For the bulk message, check for spelling and grammar mistakes, a simple spell check does wonders
- Write your greeting and your sign off. Personalise it whenever you can and make a note of what fields are personalised – name, publication, date, time etc
- Send a test email to yourself, if you’ve included images of graphics there’s always a chance these won’t format correctly so you need to check they’re ok
- If you’re happy with the test, send away
- DO NOT BCC a bunch of people in if you can help it, I think this is a really terrible way to email someone, it takes a tiny amount of effort to personalise an email, even a little bit
Here comes the next bit, which is where I think people go wrong.
- Go into your sent items, and click ‘Forward’ on your email
- FIRST THING, REMOVE ANY EMAIL ADDRESSES, I can’t actually stress this enough. Now I’m going to work my way down the email
- Remove the ‘FW’ or ‘RE’ from your Subject Line, you don’t want to make them feel like they’re one of multiple
- Change the name. I’m assuming you’re emailing to more than one person so you’re going to have to do this
- Change the publication. Again, I’m assuming you’ve included this to show you actually read the publication you’re trying to work with
- Date/ time. If this is for an event or a press tour, make sure these are correct whenever you send an email. I know there aren’t email fairies that change numbers when an email is sent but the whole point of this post is to show it’s better to be safe than sorry
- Change all other personalised fields. This is all on you now. As mentioned above, if you’ve kept a note of everything you’ve changed, it’s simply a case of ticking them off when you’ve amended them
- Add new email address and send!
This checklist should avoid any silly email mistakes that you could make. I can’t magic up a way to check that the bulk of the message is fine but if you’ve read it, reread it and got someone else to read it, it’s not going to suddenly change.
I always have minor heart palpitations (dramaaaa) when I send out bulk emails that I’m going to get something wrong and it never (touch wood) happens anymore thanks to this baby.
I hope this helps!
Thanks for reading,