As kids, we learned the value the value of saying, “Please,” “Thank you,” “You're welcome,” and “Excuse me.” We were forced to sometimes “play nice” and share when we did not particularly want to. As adults, we hopefully have these manners and etiquette instilled in us, and hopefully exercise them willingly, without the watchful gaze of our parents shadowing over us. I do believe that politeness can still go a long way, yet, for some reason, or another, doesn't seem to be represented in a balanced way in the digital space.
Perhaps when so much of what we do becomes visible to the public via a blog and social media, we lose a bit of that gusto for pleasantries, and to be quite honest, sometimes it's hard to keep up with, due to the sheer amount of online interaction possibilities.
At the end of the day, getting back in touch with being courteous can leave a lasting impression as well as one rife with professionalism.
Last week I wrote about how to politely say, “No.” in the blogging arena, and with this post, I'm sharing some tips on fostering relationships with brands by merely executing some of the subtleties of that etiquette that mom taught you.
Thank You For…
Whatever it may be! If someone invites you to an event, sends you samples of a new product, or considers you for a campaign or any promotion, it's never a bad idea to start off with “Thank you so much for thinking of me/considering me” in your reply.
In talking to some of my publicist friends, getting no response, or even relatively rude ones, seems more common than overtly polite ones.
Anytime I am sent something in the mail from a brand, solicited or not, I always email the contact there and thank them for sending it. If it's something I'm going to feature, I will mention that, and a date estimate as to when it may run as well. Communication is key, even if you are turning something down, and throwing in a “thanks” or two helps the person on the receiving end to read between the lines a bit further and foster the impression that you're a considerate, and possibly even responsible, person.
You've Been Featured
I've always made a point to let brands know when they are featured on the blog, even if I don't have a direct contact there. I prefer to send an email and drop in the link, but sometimes I send a tweet with the link to the post and be sure to grab their official handle on Twitter and/or Instagram. Sure, brands should be monitoring their activity online, but it's even nicer to reach out to them individually and express how much you like said brand, or product, or to keep in touch because you'd like to work with them in the future. It's just one more easy step toward personalizing your interactions with a brand or person behind the brand, and building the relationship in an organic way.
From “Gimme Gimme!” to “May I?”
Sometimes I need to request product for a feature I may be working on for my blog or for one of my freelance gigs. Again, from speaking to publicist friends, they scoff at and disregard the requests that come in that are more akin to demands, is someone obviously being greedy and wanting free shoes, or makeup, etc., and not explaining why they need these things at all. In order to not perpetuate the “gimme gimme” culture, choose your words carefully and explain the reason for your needs. As someone on the receiving end will have to put time and energy toward fulfilling your request, they may have to explain it to upper level management at the brand, and the bottom line is that every request costs the brand money.
Using language such as “May I,” ” I would like to please request,” explaining what you plan to do with the item, in what kind of feature category, where, and when the brand can expect to see it live increases your chances of a positive response. It also cuts down on all of the back and forth, and can be a more effective win-win for both parties at the end of the day. If it's a brand that you've never worked with before, you may want to include some of your site or social media stats as well. If this scenario was equated to an in-person encounter, you wouldn't walk right up to someone you've never met before and say “hand me three shades of that lipstick for free, now.” So when your email lands in someone's inbox, it's a good rule of thumb to approach the request with the same sense of decorum.
Please share how you use your manners in the digital space!
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