I don’t know how many of you are fans of Monty Python, but there’s a scene in Life of Brian when Brian unwillingly addresses his followers from the balcony.
“You don’t need to follow anybody,” he cries. “You’ve got to think for yourselves. You’re all individuals.”
“Yes, we’re all individuals!” they chorus back.
Brian tries again: “You’re all different!” .
“Yes, we are all different!” they reply in unison.
Apart from Dennis. “I’m not,” he pipes up.
This week’s column is a call to find your inner Dennis.
You know we all get hundreds of emails a day, and equally we know that you send out the same email to hundreds of other journalists, so there’s not a whole load of tailored communication going on.
That’s a shame because, as I’ve said before, that’s the best way to stand out from the crowd. But if you are going to stick with sending a generic, round robin email, you’ve got to up your game if you want it to be noticed.
My email inbox displays your subject line plus the first 15 or so words of your message. Don’t waste them on platitudes everyone else will be filling them with too. Be individual!
Perhaps it was the weather making me extra tetchy last week, but being on the receiving end of at least 50 emails a day that all began “Hi Tony, Hope you’re surviving the heatwave OK” had me reaching straight for delete button.
Just how you use those precious first few words, I’m afraid I can’t tell you. As Brian says to his followers in the next line: “You’ve got to work it out for yourselves.”