Monday, April 4, 2016

Email Etiquette for Writers

by Molly Jo Realy @RealMoJo68

Welcome to The Right Conversation. I’m one of your social media ninjas, navigating you through the cyber-world with all its twists, turns and rabbit holes.

This month’s topic: Email Etiquette.

In today’s world of instant gratification for questions and answers, it’s important to pause before you hit send. Whether you’re initiating or replying to an email, here are few guidelines to help you maintain a respected and respectable email reputation:

For Starters
Keep your login name and password simple enough to
remember, and unique enough to protect your account.
  • MAKE IT MEMORABLE: The joy of email is the easy access (almost) no matter where you are. Keep your login name and password simple enough to remember, and unique enough to protect your account.
  • WHAT’S IN A NAME?: Your email address will be how people contact you online. You’ll want to convey who you are and what you do in a professional manner. Wubbydubbybabydaddy may be a cute nickname for your husband, but do you want him putting that on a credit application or job resume? A good rule of thumb is to avoid any mention of current trends. Stick with your name or a reference that will never change.
  • HIDE THE NUMBERS: Don’t reveal too much about yourself. Many people add numbers to their email names, but in doing so, they could reveal a significant date like an anniversary or child’s birth. This is information often used as answers to security questions for online accounts. Choose your name and numbers carefully.

The Bulk of It
Choose your audience.
  • CHOOSE YOUR AUDIENCE: Don’t send bulk emails. When you’re new to email, it’s easy and exciting to share your world with, well, the world. But let’s be real: Do you really need everyone knowing all of your business? Email should enhance your personal communications, not become a public forum.
  • RESPECT THEIR PRIVACY: If you are sending bulk emails (a note to all your friends or maybe an update on your work in progress to your Swarm), use the “BCC” option. It’s the email equivalent of “Blind Carbon Copy” and it means everyone will see the same email, but they won’t see who else has received it. You can access this by clicking “To:” in the address bar. This lowers the risk of information going to strangers.
  • BRING OTHERS IN: Sometimes you want the main reader to know that others are reading the same email. Access “CC:” to send a carbon copy to those who need the information, but aren’t directly affected by the email.
  • AVOID FORWARDS: Sending a forwarded email (jokes, memes, political ramblings) is okay if you know your audience. But most forwards are equivalent to the ads in Tuesday’s mailers that usually end up in the trash. They’re not specific to the reader and sometimes not relevant. Sending too many forwards can have the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” affect – your audience will start to gloss over your emails and could miss something important. If you do forward an email you received from someone else, make sure to delete their contact information so it’s not in the hands of a stranger. You don’t need your information going to your sister’s best friend’s cousin’s hairdresser’s dog walker, do you? I didn’t think so.

Less is More
Less is more.
  • DON’T RAMBLE: It’s easy to start those rabbit trails, but you’re not having conversation over a Starbucks. Respect your reader’s time and attention by getting to the point. As with all great writing, trust your reader to know what you’re saying. You can close with giving them the option to contact you with any questions.
  • COLOR INSIDE THE LINES: Enhancing the font size, color, and even adding a background image can not only distract from your message, it can cause your email to be sent to the reader’s spam or “junk” folder. Keep it simple. A few touches here and there keep the focus on the email.
  • SIGN OFF: If you use an email signature, include links to your social media and marketing sites but don’t have so many links and photos that your signature is longer than your email.

And now I send you into the cyber world with a happy face emoticon and best wishes for good emails.

With some sweet tea and a big smile,
~ Happy writing,
Molly Jo


Email has etiquette too - tips for writers from @RealMojo68 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Molly Jo is a writer, editor, social media ninja, and producer of the weekly Firsts in Fiction podcast. She has been featured in children’s magazines, on blogs and devotional websites, and her short stories have earned her awards and scholarships from nationally acclaimed writing programs. She is the founder of New Inklings Press and author of The Unemployment Cookbook: Ideas for Feeding Families One Meal at a Timeand other books available through her website and on Amazon.
Her current work in progress, NOLA, is a location mystery set in New Orleans and is scheduled for publication in late 2016.

You can find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and her blog, Frankly, My Dear . . .