Remember the old saying “you’ll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar”? I’m sure everyone has heard this a time or two along life’s path. Obviously, everyone loves sweets and kindness.

But, there’s more to this wise old saying than just being nice to others. It goes deeper as we must be willing to listen and take the time to be interested in others. This is especially important for marketing communications professionals. Our career and personal wellbeing are based on this very simple principle. It always surprises me when others don’t practice this. If we expect to earn someone’s business we should be expected to learn something about them or take the time to make them feel special.

Recently, I have been made aware of just how many people in our profession don’t take the time to “personalize” things. Yes, it is time consuming but the payoff (earning their business or getting your client’s story placed) is well worth the effort. Notice, I didn’t say “extra effort”? That’s because it should not be considered “extra”.

So, now why is mail merge the scourge of our existence? Because it breeds laziness. It wasn’t intended for this when it was created by that’s what it has become.

What do I mean by that? I have been witness to many bad and mostly lazy PR pitches this past week as publicists and marketers around the Globe are trying to get their clients stories placed for Comic-Con International in San Diego. Many of these pitches lack even the simplest form of personalization. Many begin with “Hi” – no name follows. I get that we are all busy, but when your pitch starts off like that you’re doing everyone, including your paying client, a huge disservice.

Now, I am not advocating that you write a sweet love letter to the intended member of the press, but you should at least try to include their name in the merge. You might want to try a little tenderness and make the effort to learn their name and maybe compliment them on one of their most recent stories. You might be surprised how this approach leads to a more successful pitch percentage. And, who knows maybe your client will hire you for another project.

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