Email: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

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Good self-promotion takes a lot more than a shout-out and a link to your MySpace page. One of the biggest mistakes we see artists making time and time again is how they approach media professionals via email. The next time you send an email to a booker, record label, promoter, venue, magazine, blog, or even a fan, keep in mind that practicing smart email etiquette can be the difference between getting a killer gig and a cold shoulder.

Remember, the average Radio DJ, music editor, or publicist doesn’t have time to decipher or wade through a long or poorly written email – but neither do they enjoy the cryptic one liner: “check out my music!” So it’s important that your email says just enough and not too much. In order to help you send better emails that produce more favorable results, we pulled together some of CD Baby’s DIY experts to lay out the following guidelines to help you send emails that work.

There’s no perfect answer of course, but hopefully these tips will help you avoid the dreaded “delete” button and see some results.

Tips for writing successful emails that will bring you success

1. Know who you are e-mailing – Address them by name. Demonstrate appreciation and understanding of their role in the company they work for.

2. Keep it brief – If you answer emails all day (like us), you know that an email that spans more than a few paragraphs will immediately cause a gag reflex. Reading an email from a stranger is much different than reading a letter from a friend, so don’t bother talking about the weather or your last gig. It’s better to hit them hard and fast and leave them wanting more. Imagine you are an opening act: Play your five best numbers and get the heck off the stage, lest you make enemies instead of fans.

3. Use links that are direct and simple – Create a simple signature in your mail program, no longer than four lines and include one or two of your best links. If you have your own website, use that. People who work in the music business are not fond of wading through websites to find sound clips and neither are they fans of waiting for MySpace pages to load. So make sure the links take them to your music quickly.

4. Never use ALL Caps – It is the email equivalent of yelling.

5. Use spell check and correct grammar – or you will not be taken seriously.

6. Include the thread of your correspondence in every email – Keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for someone in the music industry to get a hundred emails a day. So always give them the benefit of what has been discussed in previous emails by including that text.

7. Have a plan – If they’re interested, you better be prepared to follow through with what is needed.

8. Be real – Don’t puff yourself up. Don’t put yourself down. Be kind, honest, and humble, even if you don’t get what you want. If anything, your attitude will be remembered.

Here are a few of the classic email mistakes artists make over and over again:

1. The “what’s up!” approach
This email normally sounds more like a text message to a friend than an email to a business professional. It’s usually hard to tell the point of the email and what the artist was hoping for from the recipient.

2. The casual compliment
Better than the “What’s Up!” approach, but this email type still leaves a lot to be desired. It usually reads something like, “You guys rock! Let us know if you need an interview!” Chances are the recipient is too busy to figure out how you fit in to what they are doing.

3. The “Too Much information” (TMI) approach
This email starts to look more like a ramble and not like a relevant introduction. If you’re heading into a third paragraph, you’ve gone way too far. Just include the important highlights that would be of use to the recipient.

Have any email tips to share? Please weigh in by leaving a comment below.

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