You’re More Than Just a Form Letter

spamDid you know that today is Roald Dahl Day?

I didn’t even know this, and I’m a huge Roald Dahl fan, as I wrote about earlier this year. I only know this because I recently got an e-mail from someone asking if they could write a guest post on my blog about Roald Dahl Day.

I didn’t respond.

You see, I’ve been getting a lot of guest post solicitations recently. They all follow the same ubiquitous format that we associate with form letters and spam:

Dear    jameystegmaier.com,

I’ve been reading your blog, and I love the entries you’ve written about    Roald Dahl.     Did you know that September 13 is Roald Dahl Day? I would like to write a guest entry for your blog,     jameystegmaier.com. Our team of professional writers can write an entry at no cost to you that is sure to expand your audience and save you time and money. Please contact me if your interested.

Sincerely,

Kandi Princeton

And yes, I purposely misspelled “you’re.”

The problem with these form letters isn’t so much this idea of a “team of professional writers.” It’s moreso that these people haven’t taken the 60 seconds to even pretend like they actually read my blog. Or the additional 60 seconds it would take to comment on my blog even once.

Now, these people aren’t you and me. Surely you and I never solicit anything without doing proper research in advance.

But honestly, we all do this sometimes. We walk into a job interview without looking up the interviewer on LinkedIn. We interview a candidate without checking their references. We ask someone to read our manuscript even though we’re way too busy to read anything of theirs–or if we do, we’ll skim it, at best. We never ask our friends where they want to go to eat without a pre-established agenda of the restaurant where we want to go.

So it’s always a good reminder when I get these form e-mails that I don’t want to live a form life. I want to create real connections with people, even if they’re primarily online. I want to reciprocate when people give their time and talent to me. I want to listen to those who listen to me.

Maybe it’s a good reminder for you too. Or maybe you can just tell me your favorite Roald Dahl book in the comments. Mine’s The BFG.