Public Relations is all about communication, which is why those who intend to pursue PR careers study and take an in-depth look at people’s behavior and interactions with others. In the growing age of technology, we still engage in the same behavior and interactions, just in different ways. Email is one of the main forms of communication that has proven to be trustworthy overtime.
An email is a classic way to introduce an individual to a reporter, potential employer, brand ambassador, or onboarding client. Many take a step further by calling or meeting in person after initial contact. For now, review these tips and tricks to ensure your emails are successful and professional:
- Be friendly: When opening or closing an email, it takes an extra few seconds to type “I hope you’re doing well!” or “Enjoy your weekend!”. These brief statements are an easy way to leave the reader in a more amicable mood. “Please” and “thank you” are also valuable assets, but don’t overdo it. Even in thank-you notes, don’t use the phrase “thank you” more than twice. Once at the beginning and once at the end is enough.
- Be transparent: In the subject line and email, be clear about what you are emailing about. This makes it easier on both parties, so no one has to wade through inarticulate language or send more emails back and forth to clarify. Especially when sending pitches, subjects lines and emails need to be coherent and consistent to save time and to develop the relationship between you and the client (which hopefully ends with your pitch used as a press release).
- Be succinct: PR is typically time sensitive and, chances are, if you have a pitch, there are a plethora of competing pitches already sitting in your recipient’s inbox. Don’t drag out your emails; a few short paragraphs will typically suffice. People will appreciate your brevity, so long as you hit all the points you need to cover. Quality over quantity every time!
- Use the right signoff: Did you just say “thank you”? Then don’t sign off with “thanks”. “Best”, “sincerely”, or sometimes just your name can work just as well. If you’re sending a more casual email to coworkers about an upcoming event, feel free to be more casual and go with a hearty “cheers”. Read your audience, and understand boundaries.
- Include your signature: A default signature is a great way to cut down on your email content, and eliminates the need to write out your phone number out every time there is a follow-up email. A signature with your position, company, phone number, and even a link to your LinkedIn profile are great resources for other individuals. It also adds that extra bit of professionalism and ethos to your email.
- Check your spelling and grammar: Use spell check, read your email out loud and use outside apps to check your writing. With so many options to check your work, it’s easy to take a minute to ensure your work is correct. Another thing to look out for: how often you use exclamation points. Unless you just accepted a job offer (and sometimes even then), limit your exclamation points to sentences that really need that extra boost.
- Check your attachments: Yes, naturally check your spelling and grammar, but also check your attachments. Are they confidential? Is your sender correct? Does the hyperlink work? Many companies have switched over to using cloud backups, and now send important files by way of Dropbox to ensure user privacy. This way, the links can be timed, and access can be revoked at any time.
- Put the sender in last: By typing in your recipient after you type the email, you can avoid accidentally sending your message before it is finished. However, even if you do, Google has up to a 30 second “undo send” option in its settings. For those using templates through HubSpot or similar software, that require you to input a sender before constructing the email, consider putting in your own email. This way, even if the email is prematurely sent , it won’t do any harm.
- Follow-up: Speaking of HubSpot, many tech services offer tracking and monitoring for emails sent and opened. This is helpful when constructing follow-up emails, as it allows you to tailor the email to the amount of information the recipients need. And, if the recipient gets back to you, make sure to respond as soon as possible, typically within 24 hours.
Emails can be annoying to send, but they are crucial when initiating potential relationships and have the ability to reach a large audience with just a few clicks. Knowing how to confidently and successfully send a professional email will help make your life easier in the long run, especially for students going on co-op.