Creative analysis, Marketing and PR

Indies: Time to ditch “To whom it may concern” and a few other bits and bobs

Last week, the Nerds Assemble mailbox was sent a review enquiry by a small comics publisher. And, unfortunately, it rubbed me the wrong way. Not because they were asking for us to review their comics: it was the way they were asking for reviews.

First up: the subject line read “Inquiry”. It didn’t say anything more about the content of the email. Considering that this email turned out to be asking whether we could review comics published by the sender, I would have gone for at least “Review Inquiry”. At least then I’d know that the email probably wasn’t a piece of generic spam. I’m not asking for something salesy here.

Tip: Use the subject line to tell us what the email is about.

Second: the email opened with the dated and impersonal, “To whom it may concern”. Now, I’m pretty sure most comics brands don’t present themselves in such an archaic tone of voice elsewhere, so don’t do it in emails either. “Hello” is a far better opening.

Tip: Use a tone of voice that fits your brand.

Third: What would have made the email even nicer was either giving the name of the podcast in the opening greeting or (even better) the names of the presenters. All of that information is available on our website, on the main page in fact. Without using either, the email really was impersonal and like you weren’t really giving us the time of day, seemingly doing no research… so why should we give your creations the time of day?

Tip: Research who you’re emailing and personalise the email as appropriate.

Fourth: If your website has terrible load times and isn’t fully functioning when you send out the email, which also doesn’t contain any samples/screens or direct links to samples/screens… Don’t send the email. Get the site in working order first. Thankfully the indie that inspired this post now has a working web site, but there was at least a day when I couldn’t access it properly.

Tip: Make sure your links are all working.

Fifth: Don’t email “media” such as Nerds Assemble if you’re planning on controlling everything we say and do with your product. This again comes under research. The show notes on the site show that we’re pretty critical of a lot of media, (and on our sister site a.k.a. Hex Dimenion we are also critical where it’s needed). Don’t tell me that you hope to “develop a beneficial working relationship” with us: we’re not your mouthpiece.

Tip: Don’t ask sites to see you in a non-critical light.

So, please, for the love of your own marketing plan, follow these tips as much as you can, because I love getting nicely worded review enquiry emails from indie creators and publishers.

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