I’ve been mental busy lately (sorry for not writing so often on Lifehack. I’m working on that). My inbox has shot from around 50 new mails a day to 250. Of these, about 200 require that I read fully, and/or take action. The others might be groups I’m not fully giving my attention, alerts and reminders from Google Calendar that I ignore at my peril. In those 200 emails, I’ve learned something very important:

I respond well when the information is “shaped” to be easy for me to read and use.

Press Release Format

In thinking about this, I have to give credit to Geo, my new friend and co-conspirator. He sent me some information on how to write in the press release style as a way to be helpful to all the emails I’ve been sending the new boss (who, by the way, gets well over 500 emails a day). So, here’s what I learned from his sources.

  • Make the subject line catchy- people want to be excited to open the mail
  • Put the date of the information’s value in the subject line and again in the first part of the body. — This makes sense if you think about it. If you’ve got something really important coming up on Tuesday the 11th, you need to call that out, so that the recipients of the email know if the information is past-use. It’s like mayonnaise at that point.
  • Put the what, where, who in SUPER SHORT DETAIL early on, to help them parse.
  • Break up the body with headlines (like I do with this post), to help them skim.
  • Add links, if what you’re discussing has links. If you’re talking about Something to Be Desired, then put the link. It’s easier for everyone.

Resources

Geo also gave me a big link list. I’ll make these “cold” links not hot, but feel free to check them all out:

  • http://www.toosmarttostart.samhsa.gov/html/tsts-impl/appendixG.html
  • http://www.marketingsource.com/pressrelease/releaseformat.html
  • http://www.xpresspress.com/PRnotes.html
  • http://blog.prleap.com/archives/sample-press-release-format/
  • http://www.webwire.com/FormatGuidelines.asp

Do you have other thoughts on this? What are your killer tips to make sure people read your emails?

–Chris Brogan is Community Developer for Video On the Net. He’s been working with Network2 on a guide for the best in TV shows available only on the internet. He keeps a blog at [chrisbrogan.com].

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