Image courtesy of Educated Cheese
I’ve been doing posts for Gear Diary on and off ever since Judie launched it. My niche is news items–lots and lots of companies send Judie and Dan (and the rest of us, once we post a few times or review something) lots and lots of emails trying to get a little coverage. Some of those emails are requests for reviews, and a lot of them are just requests for a mention. You know: ”We just launched this product, and would love for you to mention it!” Those are the news posts that I do. A lot of my time is spent combing through emails.
As a result, I’ve built up a bit of a mental list of “What makes a good email to Gear Diary from Company X”. And it got me thinking; while the email needs at wherever you work no doubt differ from that of a tech review and news blog, maybe some of these items will help you craft your own emails when sending them “cold” (i.e., unsolicited). It seems likely that my needs on cold emails might be similar for other companies–and sharing them with you all might be helpful!
So what is this list? Well, I’m glad you asked!
- Product Name and Description. A lot of press release/publicity companies like to get clever with email subject lines and try to catch your eye with clever intro paragraphs. Which is fine, except that then I don’t know what the heck it is you want me to be writing about. Right up front, include the name of your product and a sentence or two about what it is and does. Is it a physical object? An iOS app? An Android app? Something for your PC? Don’t make me guess–when I have to guess, it makes me not want to write about it. Be right up front! Tell us what it’s called, what it is, and what it does!
- Pictures. This is the web; people like to see what the product looks like. Send a few pictures of various sizes, from a few different angles. If you don’t send a picture, I have to go hunting for one, and not only is that annoying, but you might end up with a photo of your product that you don’t like. Make it easier for me, and better for you: send pictures!
- Links. Give us a link to the product. If it’s an iOS app, give us a link to its description on the Apple site. Ditto for Google Play for an Android app. Provide a link to the company’s web site, too. It’s okay to send links to twitter and YouTube and reviews that the product has received, but one thing that’s staggeringly unhelpful is when you sent those, but don’t send a link to the product itself! If I have to go to YouTube to find a link to your product because you forgot to include it in your email solicitation, that’s A Bad Idea™. Help us out; give us links!
- Press Release. It is very rare for us to use entire press releases–particularly the inevitable section of a press release where an executive of the product’s company is quoted about how great he or she thinks the product is. But we do like to pull key sentences and paragraphs from them; it helps “anchor” the news items with a good quote from the company about what they think is important to mention. We’ll decide on our own, of course, but having a hint from you would be great!
- The price. Our readers really like to know how much your product costs. If it’s really expensive, I can understand your reluctance to tell folks the price right up front, but all that does is force me to dig for it. The fact is, we always mention the price, so it behooves you to just tell us right there in your email. And don’t worry: even if your item if expensive, we have plenty of well-healed readers who won’t mind high-priced items so long as they like it! Tell us the price!
- Whether we can post or not. Sometimes we receive advanced notice about an item that’s “coming soon!” For those, you need to be explicit and let us know that they’re embargoed, and on what date we can post about them. Our editors are very, very careful about embargoed items, and you can trust both them and the regular contributors to respect your wishes, but you do have to tell us about it. So please let us know explicitly!
- Go easy on the attachments. Don’t put critical information in an attachment. Dealing with attachments is frequently a pain. In Evernote, which we use for our Gear Diary ToDo lists, you have to download the attachments first. Yahoo Mail requires that you send attachments through a virus filter–this means getting your information into my brain requires a virus check, a download, opening a separate file in a separate application, and then pulling it out. Not fun! Unless you absolutely have to, please just put your key information in the email itself, and please don’t attach a zip file unless absolutely necessary! Not every operating system plays well with zip files. Think twice before attaching!
So those are some of the ways it would make it easier for me–your humble Gear Diary news item poster–to transfer the information we receive in “cold” email solicitations into useable Gear Diary posts. Does some of this parallel what you need at your place of employ? What items are different, or shouldn’t be on the list? Let us know below!