After years of working with journalists and writing myself, the challenge of composing emails that stand out in the right way has become something of an obsession.
But I wonder, could you design an email client for journalists that did smart things with the messages to make their life easier and the process smoother? And could that help them get to the crux of each message faster — the story it had to offer?
A few ideas to get things started, let me know what you think or if you have suggestions:
Autohide the greeting/ salutation
Firstly, it takes up space with something already known, secondly it would halt the distraction of when/ if the name has inaccuracies.
Given the number of PR interactions that take place every day, mistakes happen, it’s the story that should matter. If you claim it shows a lack of care all round, again - the story will tell you that.
Autohide “I hope you’re well”
Another formality just taking up space.
Identify keywords and group together messages with similar topics
Would make it easier to quickly find content related to your beat — and also clearly irrelevant stories. Also allows setting up rules to forward messages to colleagues.
Hides from/signature info
Does it matter if the message came from the biggest agency or the smallest? Again, an opportunity to make it all about the story.
Automated “no thankyou” button
Sitting as close to hand as delete, you could press this button to send an automated response to one/ a group of messages saying “thanks for your message, unfortunately this isn’t one for me. My beat current covers X, Y, Z.” or similar.
This can be customised and will provide feedback to the people who send you stories, helping everyone from the best to the worst PRs out there equally. Without the journalist having to radically alter their habits.
All mod cons
Priority Inbox, Mailbox/ Boomerang features to delay messages for another day, combined inbox — these should be standard features in pro messaging clients today.
Would you find these features useful? Could it streamline, soften and improve the relationship between journalists and PRs? Let me know what you think.