When it comes to communication of all kinds, it’s paramount to know and use the names of the persons you are addressing. In person, over email, on the phone, using their name is a rule that PR professionals, customer care reps and everyone in the business world that gets into conversations with partners, customers and audiences in general live by. They respect this rule only if they want to maximize their success, of course.
Playing on both sides of the field – reaching out to the media or a company’s clients as a PR pro and covering the news here and on other news oriented websites – gives me a nice perspective on how things work and the importance of carefully using a name when approaching someone.
Herman Friedman, an entrepreneur noted, “Why would anyone think contact of any sort without a personal approach can work? Imagine someone saying hey, you and thinking it would work? Laziness wont work – naming names will.”
Every PR pro calling, tweeting or emailing a journalist or a blogger should drop the “Hi there” approach, yesterday! Names of journalists and bloggers are publicly available. Even if you only have a generic email address, you still should know who you want to reach! Use their name and show them they are more than an email address harvested for a huge list that you’ve blasted your pitch to.
Even when you use their names, it might still be a generic email, but at least show the tiniest interest into finding out who you’re addressing and taking the five minutes needed to get your email client to import names from an .xls file!
Don’t have a name? Use the nickname available! It’s still better than the impersonal “Hi there”. And let us all join hands and face it: it’s not hard to find out the name of the person you’re contacting! It usually just takes loading up a website and checking one or two pages (under five minutes on average).
If you just don’t know how to approach bloggers and journalists, please don’t worry! After reading this article, run a few searches and you’ll find tons of material written by bloggers who get impersonal emails and tweets on a daily basis, by journalists who have learned to ignore most messages from lazy PRs, by PR pros who share their knowledge with others. All you have to do is put in a little extra effort to transform yourself into a human and leave behind the spamming bot you’ve become!