Email Critique: Six Things You Should Know


We've had a tough couple of years while here in Indiana and my time here with Art of Eloquence has suffered in the transition.  This included the year we inadvertently subscribed to the Catastrophe of the Month Club and this past year and a half where my husband was a casualty of the "Over Qualified" job hunting variety. Due to the fact that I only have two hands and fading brain foggery has set in, I took a month or two (I can't remember...or count) hiatus from my blogs.  

I'm reinstating them post haste, but at a slower interval.  Having to keep up with three blogs, three Facebook fan pages, a teenager who is in his final years of homeschooling, and my ever increasing owies, has given me pause to consider a more realistic approach.  Instead of writing three blogs every week, I'm going to write each blog once a month (on the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month) and share a link back to that month's article on each of the other blogs.  Each one of my blogs are related (communication, family issues, and chronic issues) so my readers will get better content that offers more for the families I serve.  

This month, I've decided to share an in-depth article on the value of effective communication that hits home for all of my readers.  While some of you may not give speeches, suffer from shyness, need conflict resolution or debate on a regular basis, you DO communicate with people via email and text.  This article will help you do that with a precision of language that yields a more positive result.  

This month, I'm taking my purple feather quill and doing a critique of an email I just received.  Now, this is not a typical SPAM email from BuyMyStuff @ gmail .com that tells me they know why I'm fat.  This is a serious email from a real person (whose name has been changed for this critique) who made some mistakes I felt you all could learn from.  

Here is the original email with the name and address changed: 

Hi Jo,

My name is Will U. Help, Author of Best Seller: How To Do Something. I just came across artofeloquence.com and was very impressed. Great job!

The reason I'm writing you today is to ask if you would be interested in publishing a 100% unique article that I provide exclusively for artofeloquence.com? I would only ask for a single link in a short, "about the author" section at the end of the article.

I'm offering this to build my online portfolio, while getting a few links to my site at the same time.

If you look at my site at you'll see I'm focused on only quality content!

Though I specialize in that field, I can write on just about any topic.

If you're interested just respond and I'll get an article over to you ASAP. If not, I appreciate your time nonetheless!

Best Regards,
Will U. Help
123 Main Street Anywhere USA

 

This is actually not too badly written. It's friendly, complimentary, gracious, and respectful.  Further, it's personal and obviously written by a real human being.  It could be a form letter, but appears well suited to the circumstances and my website.  Great job there!  However, there are some issues that, if changed, would make this a MUCH better first contact email. 

* First, NEVER address someone by anything other than exactly how they referred to him/herself.  My name is JoJo. It's not Jo and it's not Jo Jo.  It's JoJo.  In fact, a stranger might make an even better impression if he were to address me as Mrs. Tabares.  However, if you've read any of my articles, you would notice that I'm pretty informal and I wouldn't take offense to an email addressing me by my first name (JoJo; definitely NOT Jo!).  

* The next problem I have with this email is the punctuation and word choice errors.  There is a question mark at the end of a statement, a comma missing further down and a word choice here and there that I'd change if it were my email.  If you are asking a website owner to publish your "quality" content, it should be free of these kinds of errors.  

* Another problem I see with this email is exaggeration.  The author purports to be able to write on ANY subject.  This sounds a bit unrealistic and rather grandiose.  It would be better to state the various topics that would apply to my website for two reasons.  The first is that it wouldn't sound like he was overstating his qualifications.  Nobody can competently write on ALL topics.  The second is that it would get me thinking about why I should take the time to check into his proposal further.  

I write ALL my own content partially because I have control over the content to make sure it is accurate and helpful.  Additionally, it's because I'm in the business of selling my own materials and not spending my time and money to promote someone else's.  HOWEVER, I do occasionally have guest authors when I feel their content would be beneficial to my readers and wouldn't conflict with my own materials.  Mine are best!  :D 

The author's book title is only slightly related to my focus, but I might consider it if he had stated what specific topics he would be willing and able to address that might be a different area of expertise from my own.  It DOES happen!  LOL  

* The last GLARING mistake he made was not including his contact information.  While he did include his mailing address and I do have his email address (though it is a gmail address), I don't have his website or phone number.  ANY good business email should include your full name, website, and email address (if you aren't using your business email address for this email) as well as a phone number.  Even though I might be interested in having him guest post for me, I don't want to have to take the time to research his name and book title to try to find his website and contact information.  

When you are contacting someone via email (for business or otherwise), you will get  better results if you do the following: 

1. Address the person more formally if you don't know them and use the proper spelling of their name.

2. Be cordial or friendly--even if you are upset about something.

3. Be clear about who you are and what you want. Don't make them wonder, guess or scratch their head and give up trying to make out what you want or need. 

4. Don't exaggerate your point or qualifications. It makes you sound less credible.

5. Include your contact information so that the other person doesn't need to jump through Google hoops to find you.  

6. Look over your email before you hit send for any errors that may make you appear less educated, less sincere, less clear or even rude. 

That's all from JoJo's purple feather quill of correction.  I hope this helps. Please share your thoughts and experiences below!  And if you liked this post, please share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.  


9 comments


  • Stephanie Glen

    Just wanted to let you know that’s not a “real” person sending you that email. I also have received that same letter from various people…different names, always the same form letter. I suspect it’s a black hat SEO company trying to get some backlinks. Beware!


  • JoJo Tabares

    Thank you, Lisa. It’s the little things.


  • Lisa (BadMammy.com)

    This is a great how to guide – some little things that are so important to remember but can be really quickly overlooked. The punctuation and grammar is definitely one which irks me when it has clearly not been proof read properly. The name being incorrect is unforgivable! Fab post.


  • JoJo Tabares

    You’re welcome, Abbey. Thanks for commenting.


  • ABbey

    Thank you for this! It drives me crazy to see these errors and omissions and oversights in email!


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