Fluffbusting…online and off

I thought the end of the week would be a good time to start winding down from the mania of work, take stock of what’s been achieved and what I can look forward to in the week ahead. For me this week, it’s about going back to basics and cutting through the fluff in the way we communicate.

Bust through that fluff

No matter how many times it’s been said, I still continue to come across dire examples of communications folks who seem to rapidly lose the plot after “Dear [Editor name]” or “Dear [Blogger name]“. Maybe it’s because we’ve gotten too used to pitch templates, or there’s a false sense of security that the mention of a big brand name/spokesperson equates to instant interest. Or maybe some folks simply get scared when trying to reach out to bloggers and forget how to speak to the human being at the other end of that email.

A few oldies-but-goodies that I will be closing my week off with:

Thou shalt not blast the world and their mother

It all boils down to relevance. Has the journalist/blogger written something of relevance recently that you can reference in your opener? You won’t know unless you read. Read the papers, read blogs, follow smart people on Twitter and read what they link to. Doing so makes you a smarter communicator…for yourself and for your clients. And for goodness sake, address your email recipient by name.

And your point is..?

Anyone out there a fan of The Big Wiffle Waffle? Not me. You’re reaching out for a reason right? So state what it is. Spending the first 5 lines talking about your client’s history/milestones/messages will get you nowhere fast…except maybe the “Delete” button.

The worst blogger “outreach” emails I’ve come across actually go on to tell the blogger what to do. Example: “In exchange for XYZ, you will write a weekly post about XYZ in your blog and create a YouTube video.”

Think about emails that you personally receive that get your attention. They tell you right up front in the subject line what you’re going to get, and it’s based on understanding what you like and what you want. The same principle applies.

Who said so?

Saying your product/contest/event is cool or exciting usually makes it come across as anything but. Especially if you’re fond of using exclamation points in every other sentence!

Again, go back and focus on the individual at the receiving end of your email. One size does not fit all and that’s the surest way to getting you some solid blogger backlash…online or behind your back.

Lastly AND firstly, listen

Nervousness and insecurity can drive us to be verbose, repetitive and fluffy. So I say stop talking for a minute (or more). Take a step back, look straight at whom you’re talking to and really listen to what they’re saying. Set aside your urge to sell your message and instead try to understand what THEY are looking for. You’ll be surprised how far this simple exercise gets you.

Have a great weekend. And while you’re at it, check out: