“Hey, this is Claude Thompson from Brand Ninja. I’m just emailing you to follow up on that voicemail I left you regarding that direct message I sent you about my smoke signal?”
It isn’t a major exaggeration to say I get one form or another of this email at least once a day. At least. And it really needs to stop.
“But David, you should just be responding to every one of these emails posthaste!,” is the likely response.
This is a slightly different post than one my homey JD Gershbein did late last year, a treatise on being “crazy-busy,” and why that’s a copout excuse for being tardy to the email party.
My thinking is that we are forgetting all about the lost art of the follow-up. As a PR person, slapping a bunch of emails in your program, and then doing it again a few days later, this is akin to robo-calling or telemarketing to someone’s house when they’re sitting down to dinner. I’m just getting my workday started, and you want a quick and snappy response to what I’m doing when you can’t be expected to give a personal touch or even keep track of what I told you the last time we touched base?
There are many PR agencies who are even sloppier at this -- they have multiple people blasting the same writers, influencers and tastemakers about the same project they’re hustling, sometimes even within the same hour.
This needs to stop.
It won’t happen overnight, and maybe it doesn’t need to. Last night, over drinks with a colleague, I was talking about how it’s good and bad that there are wannabes and folks who don’t know what they’re doing in every field. It makes it easier for those of us who work hard and try to stand out, to, well, stand out.
I can only speak to my experience, but the folks I get back to quicker are the people who exhibit the following:
Andy Rooney out.
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.