How to undermine your lobbying effort in one (cut-and-paste) step

You are passionate about an issue. You inspire and organize others who are likewise passionate. To spark change, you need to persuade someone else—an individual or a group of people—to see things your way.

What do you next?

If you confuse “like-minded” with “carbon copy,” you may make the mistake of committing cut-and-paste activism. That’s where you tell all your followers: “Do exactly as I do, communicate precisely as I communicate. There’s power in flooding e-mail in boxes with the same message!”

Alas, there is far more impact in personalization, as when each supporter takes the time to put their own “signature” on the communication. They customize it with.

*A detail about what life experiences bring them to the issue;
*A recent event that prompted their action;

*Something as simple as an opening line that acknowledges the individuality of the message’s recipient.

If all anyone does is cut-and-paste a template, then they will be demonstrating only one thing for certain: their ability to cut-and-paste. Might they may have much more insight and passion and, thereby, value to bring to the lobbying effort? Sure thing. However, there’s no evidence of it.

How is the object of your lobbying to know that you have sufficient knowledge about the issue so that they can take your input seriously? The recipients of your cut-and-paste communication won’t confidently draw that conclusion. And to the extent that your campaign appears to be a cut-and-paste, impersonal assault on someone’s in-box, that’s the degree to which you jeopardize undermining your own cause.

“If all anyone does is cut-and-paste a template, then they will be demonstrating only one thing for certain: their ability to cut-and-paste.”

E-mails are easy to send. Then again, deleting them is even easier.

If you want to wage a more effective lobbying campaign via e-mail, whether your outreach is to a corporate leader, someone in elected office, or anyone else, then make your message tougher to delete. Don’t treat them as a “target.”

On a platform that so easily lends itself to impersonal tactics, take a few moments to provide the personal touch that only you can offer.

Related Posts:
Don’t Let Sour News Linger in the Wake of Negative News
Be a Person, Not a Bot: Don’t Cheapen Your Social Media Network With Garbage-Like Invites

Keeping Your PR Eye On The Calendar

Of all the similarities between being a journalist and being a publicist, one of the most prominent ones is the need to keep your eye on the calendar.

Mine says that today is Jan. 16th, which means, among other things, that it’s well past time to start thinking about Valentine’s Day-related story ideas, whether you represent a client or toil in a newsroom.

I touched on this timing truth in an Inside Edge PR post two weeks ago.

On another front, if you don’t have a Super Bowl-related pitch ready to roll, it’s time to go into the two-minute drill. Yesterday, as I was speaking with Don Riley, the new fitness director at Five Seasons Sports Club in Burr Ridge, a thought popped into my head–how can we tie in his expertise with the big football game on February 1st?

The answer came quickly, and simply: offer simple fitness and nutrition tips that TV spectators (aka “couch potatoes”) can implement as they “watch 22 players desperately in need of rest,” as the late, great football coach Bud Wilkinson has been quoted.

More to come in a future Inside Edge PR post.

An FYI You Want To Apply ASAP: Use BCC!

Growing up, I learned early on about A.D. and B.C.
Around the same time, I discovered ABC, NBC and CBS, and how those three channels dominated images that emanated from something called a TV.

Along the way, I’ve encountered other acronyms, be they musical groups (BTO, for Backhman-Turner Overdrive; and CSNY, for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) or Internet-induced abbreviations, like LOL (laughing out loud) and ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing).

And BCC, too. That stands for “blind carbon copy” and it’s a magical e-mail function that all too many otherwise-intelligent individuals have yet to discover or continue to refuse to apply. By using the BCC address field, you conceal the identities of those to whom you are sending the e-mail.

Amazingly, sadly, among this group of BCC boycotters is the occasional publicist.

The second word in “public relations” offers a hint that (positive, fruitful) relationships are central to a publicist’s success. Yet just a few minutes ago, a publicist from a decent-sized Chicago-based company (self-dubbed as “Specialists in Mission-Driven Marketing”) just sent an e-mail to me and 60 others whose last name begins with “B.”

I recognize one other person’s name on the list, but the rest are strangers to me. Strangers who now have my e-mail address and, fortunately, will use much better sense than to spam me as this publicist did. I suspect that right now, he’s blazing through the alphabet, onto the letter “R” by now, and sending his hastily created emails to upwards of 1,000 people.

Driven, for sure. But the mission and marketing are sorely lacking.

And he really ought to delete “FW:” from the prior mass e-mail that he sent and come up with something more creative than “thought you might like to see our newsletter.”

Moral of the story: if you are ever in a position of sending e-mails to a large group of people who are not connected to one another beyond simply being in your e-mail address book, then use BCC.