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.

5 thoughts on “You’re More Than Just a Form Letter”

  1. Ugh, those form letters remind me of the messages I get from guys doing online dating. I know that this is the experience for most girls, so please don’t think I’m bragging or anything, but I get inundated with messages all day that only have one line like, “Hey beautiful” or “I really like your profile” or “You seem like a great person.”

    Dudes, until you can send me a coherent message that makes it obvious that you have actually read my profile, don’t bother. Maybe sending 200 girls the same one line is quick, easy, and makes you think that you are increasing your chances of getting a reply. But I bet you’d actually get more responses with a few targeted and well-thought out messages. I always try to take the time to read a guy’s profile and pick one or two things to ask him about or express a shared interest in. It’s not that hard, and it makes a big difference! It’s much easier to get a conversation kicked off too. I don’t even know how to respond to the one-liners, so I just don’t.

    —–

    Another vote for The BFG. I LOVED that book when I was younger and can’t wait to read it with Charlotte!

    Reply
    • I’m delighted that everyone has named a different book so far! And I must admit that I’ve never read The Magic Finger before. That sounds like adult fiction…

      Katie–That’s a great comparison to online dating. I think the people who send out those e-mails probably aren’t looking for a deep, fulfilling relationship. And they probably don’t appreciate The BFG in the way that you do.

      Reply

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