54 Comments / last updated August 1, 2019

How to Write Successful Emails

Last Update December 5th, 2014.

Its not what you know, its who you know.

That’s what my father would always tell me. He was right. A lot of your blogging and online marketing success will depend on not the skills and talent that you have, but the people who promote you, partner with you and so on.

And 90% of the time the way you make those contacts is by email.

In this article I am going to show you some tips I have learned on how to write successful emails to A-List bloggers or anyone in your industry that you want to get in contact with and be noticed by.

What not to do

I thought a good place to start this article would be by telling you what not to do. These are the cardinal sins of writing emails to celebrities and industry leaders, make sure you don’t do them.

  • Don’t use the CC function to email a bunch of people
    I remember getting an email a few years ago from a guy who was trying to pitch a new website idea. The problem was that he sent out an identical email to about 50 bloggers and web entrepreneurs and put all the emails in the CC line for everyone to see. The result was pretty ugly. Don’t share people’s email addresses unless they have said you can do so. And don’t write bulk emails to people you really need the attention of.
  • Don’t talk about yourself
    One of the classic sayings in the best selling book How to Win Friends and Influence People is that people only find you interesting if you talk about them, not yourself. Unfortunately, most people do the opposite in emails. I get lots of emails from people who spend two or three paragraphs talking about who they are. And as much as I love hearing from my readers (I really do) I don’t have a lot of time so I pay more attention to the ones that are short and focused on the idea, proposition or (as selfish as it sounds) the way the email will benefit me.
  • Don’t use a free email address (if you can help it)
    If you are trying to promote yourself or your brand to someone you want to show them you are serious. One sure fire way NOT to do that is to use a Hotmail or a Gmail account. Send emails from your domain name so they immediately know where you are from and that you take yourself seriously enough to have a website.

These things seem simple but are very important. Make sure you do not do any of them when you are sending emails to people that you need to get the attention of.

How to write successful emails

Now that we have got the negatives out of the way let’s move on to how you can plan, write and send out successful emails to the bloggers or industry leaders that you want to contact. As always, if you have any other tips please drop a comment and let us know. I am always keen to hear about what other people are trying.

1. Focus on benefits, not features
A classic marketing saying is that you need to focus on the benefits, not the features of your product. For example, if you are selling a knife the features are that it is really sharp and has a nice handle but the benefits are that you will save time chopping vegetables. The same is true of sending emails.

Features: I have a guest post that is about selling eBooks and is 1,500 words long.

Benefits: Your readers will love my guest post on how to change their lives forever with simple eBook marketing strategies.

The recipient of your email wants to know what the beneficial outcomes are going to be. Don’t bore them with too many facts and figures, just show some final products.

2. Study up and get personal
One of the most important things you can do is study up on the email recipient and then get personal with the details. An email should be like meeting someone in person where you smile, shake their hand and have an informal conversation. It is not like saluting to a king or something ultra formal.

Start by following them on Twitter, reading their About page and looking to see if they have a Wiki or Facebook page. Look at:

  • Their favorite foods and music
  • Their favorite sport team
  • Any side projects they have going
  • Their past history and background
  • Where they were born
  • Etc.

The idea here is that you are going to find some common ground or a human way to connect with them. When I email Darren Rowse I try to talk about the weather in Melbourne (I live nearby) or his favorite Australian Rules Football team (who always lose). This doesn’t automatically guarantee a response but it shows that you care about them and what they are doing and that you aren’t just another email spammer.

3. Make your email look like poetry
I love reading poetry. I love the metaphors and the similes and the drama. But I also really enjoy the format. The structure is always perfect and the readability is divine. The best poets make the most complex ideas appear in the most simple forms. Take a look at this short poem by William Blake.

My Pretty Rose Tree

A flower was offered to me,
Such a flower as May never bore;
But I said “I’ve a pretty rose tree,”
And I passed the sweet flower o’er.

Then I went to my pretty rose tree,
To tend her by day and by night;
But my rose turned away with jealousy,
And her thorns were my only delight.

So simple, so basic… but at the same time expressing so much. Your emails need to be like this. They need to have an easily digestible structure with not too many words bunched together. Don’t ramble on but don’t be too flippant. Keep ideas and topics separate but then join in all together in an engaging way. An excellent email is just like poetry.

4. Give more than you ask for
Remember the saying that you have to give before you receive? Well it is true of contacting A-List bloggers and industry leaders. You need to craft your email in a way that looks like you are giving something more than you are asking for.

Now, I don’t mean this to sound deceptive. I do not mean lie to people. Rather, I mean you need to offers something to these people in order for them to feel like they are not just doing you a favor. They get asked for favors all the time. If you want to get their attention you need to show why this is good for them, and then talk a little bit about why it is good for you.

5. Use their name, politely
People love hearing their name and they love it even more when you use it politely. I could be wrong about this but I never use titles like Mr. or Sir or Webmaster. I always use their first name and I always place it around pleasant words like “thanks [name]” and “enjoying all the rain [name]?”.

This goes a long way to personalizing the experience and making it seem more intimate than email really is. If you are too formal you run the risk of losing this human touch. And the human touch is extremely important when dealing with people who get bombarded with material all day long. They just might respond to you if you seem like a friendly person to relate to.

6. Pick the right time
The time that you send your email is absolutely crucial. If you get this wrong all your good work will be undone. Let me explain.

Monday mornings these guys come in to the office, open their emails and see literally hundreds of unread emails. You will probably get filed into the “too hard” basket. Friday afternoons they are probably having knock off drinks or totally worn out by the big week.

You need to find their window. The time when they are relaxing a little bit, working but not working too hard. And the best way to do that is to look on Twitter. Wait until they make an update that isn’t entirely work related. They might just have a minute to read something new.

What’s your experience?

I would like to open up the comments to your own ideas and stories. What has worked for you? What hasn’t? Have you ever sent an email to an industry leader and got an excellent response because of the way the email was written? Please leave a comment and let me know, I would be very interested to learn.

54 Comments

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  1. Tyrant this is pretty awesome. I am still a little shocked you are just giving this stuff away. But, in the same spirit, and to say “thanks, and keep it coming!”; something i have read elsewhere which i think is bad advice, is to pick apart the blog or website of the person you are hoping to connect with, highlighting all the things you think they are doing wrong. i think this just annoys most people. unless you have something really insightful to share, and even still it comes across way more professional if you are respectful and polite in your tone.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 25, 2010

      Hey JB.

      That does sound kind of annoying.

      Don’t you think I should be giving this stuff away for free?

      Tyrant

  2. Ryan Renfrew on October 25, 2010

    Great post, I will definatly be sharpening up my email communication skills after reading this.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 25, 2010

      Thanks Ryan. Any experiences to share?

      1. Ryan Renfrew on November 3, 2010

        Yes, Since reading you article I have contaced a number of successful people with in my industry (personal training) asking for email mentorship. I was very surprised by the positive responses I was getting.

  3. Mayi Carles @ Heartmade on October 25, 2010

    Right on target Tyrant! I personally love beautiful e-mails, so I like to send mine with a pretty header + signature. This not only helps to make you look very professional, but also distinguishes you from the zillion other people writing. Plus it’s great for branding purposes. I also activate my header so it links back to my webpage + include my social media button in my signature. This has worked fantastic because A-list bloggers have no time to waist. The easier you make it for them to see you, the more likely they’ll pay attention + respond + heart you!

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 25, 2010

      Good to hear from you Mayi.

      What do you mean by activate your header? Sounds interesting.

      Tyrant

  4. Mayi Carles @ Heartmade on October 25, 2010

    I use MadMimi to send all my professional e-mails + they have an super sweet option to ad a header to all e-mails. I use my brand header + then you have the option of adding an URL to this header so people can just click it (similar to a blog sponsor badge) + it takes them to my website or where ever I want. Pretty neat right?

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 25, 2010

      I like it a lot. Is it some kind of email campaign software?
      Costs?

  5. Mars Dorian on October 25, 2010

    This is sound advice, and following it will earn you good results.

    I have also learned that you should make your email very unique. Your subject, your writing style, the way you close the mail – it must own your style.

    Most mails feels like robotic copies – they may seem efficient, but they lack style and character.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 25, 2010

      So true about the robotic copies. Thanks for stopping by Mars!

  6. Mayi Carles @ Heartmade on October 25, 2010

    it’s absolutely free if you have less than 100 e-mail subscribers, 500 e-mail subscribers is $8 a month and so on. The software is pretty sweet + so easy to use. I personally recommend it because it makes my newsletters look like a million bucks.

    here’s the link in case you’re interested:

    http://madmimi.com/r/ca0aee8d24699d933cb9591f30df8ed1

    (i’m sending you my affiliate link, yep.. i love it that much lol)

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 25, 2010

      Very nice Mayi. I’ll check it out.

  7. Shivam Vaid on October 26, 2010

    Before writing the email, a good idea would be to build a rapport with the blog owner eg by commenting on his blog posts. These comments should not be just for sake of commenting but should provide a useful input/perspective. If one is really serious about the collaboration and identifies himself with the other blogger, doing the above in a sincere fashion should not be a difficult job.

    This will have a two fold effect. One is that you would be able to build a rapport and showcase your thoughts. Second is that if you have your own blog ( the URL of which you might provide as part of commenting )- that would be visited by the blogger and if the content there is useful/creative – you have already won half the battle.

    This way, whenever you email this blogger – there is much greater probability that your email would be treated seriously and get the expected output.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 26, 2010

      That is very true Shivam. Getting your face in front of them as often as you can is important.

  8. Hey BT

    Really useful post and it has me thinking … so you have done your job Mentor san.

    As you know I’m in the beginning phases of setting up my online business and my blog is but a baby [a happy baby with a nice number of people cooing at it!].

    My brother and I are doing the million and seven things to now build a site and my gorgeous online LD Expedition.

    And in between writing 2 posts a week and developing Expedition content and registering the company and reading fab blogs like yours … and and … I take a few minutes to ponder guest blogging.

    I agree that it is a fab way to broaden reach and gain some traffic and maybe even some loyal readers [I came here as a result of a guest post of yours] … and … I’ve decided that I need to prioritise where I place my time and attention.

    My sense [and please correct me if I’m out of kilter] is that guest blogging for me might be more useful in a few months when I have a lot of other things sorted … built a foundation of readers through good content sent out regularly … and can find a space to breathe.

    I’m also not sure where the best blogs are for me to contact … and that’s on my long long list of things to do.

    I’m still digesting all the info from your last 2 posts and trying to get my Aussie head around keywords and SEO … blek.

    Boring is soooo not a word I’d use to describe the madness and fun of setting up an online business.

    It’s all about taking action on a whole pile of different areas … small steps … lots of action.

    So … my next step re: guest blogging is to choose some key bloggers in my niche and get to know them.

    Thanks again for giving such practical advice … good mentor tyrant.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 26, 2010

      Hey Liz.

      I would start guest blogging yesterday, not tomorrow.

      Thoughts?

      1. Really?

        I guess I feel like there’s so much on my plate setting everything up that going out and finding the blogs and building relationships is just too much.

        And yeh … I’ll also own up that I’m a little nervous about getting out there and actually pitching an idea [which is daft as I write cool stuff].

        Having said that … I do have a blogger friend who wants me to guest post [and she never has guest bloggers] on her blog and she gets a few thousand visitors a day.

        OK … you talked me into it BT … I’ll approach her and sort out to do a guest post within the next 2 weeks.

        Your zen mentoring and gentle nudging works. Thanks mate.

        1. the Blog Tyrant on October 26, 2010

          Perfect conclusion.

          As a side note, I normally find guest posts work best on sites with the most subscribers, not necessarily traffic.

  9. Hey Tyrant,
    Fantastic post, just what I need since I am planning a series of guest posts (already have 10 written).

    I love the new logo btw, looks much better!!!

    Keep up the awesome work!
    Diggy

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 26, 2010

      Where are your guest posts going Dig?

  10. Always such helpful advice!

    I agree about CC’ing people in email- looks shoddy & lazy.

    @Mayi Carles- thanks for the link. I will check it out & recommend it to new clients if money is an issue when it comes time for the “mailing list”

    @liz- be right over!

    1. look forward to your visit Carolee … drop me a note when you’re there and I’ll say hi.

    2. the Blog Tyrant on October 26, 2010

      Thanks Carolee!

  11. Lydia Alegria on October 26, 2010

    I am not sure what the purpose of your site is suppose to be. It is kind of here and there.

    My job is with a big company based out of So. Florida which I cannot share due to my employment with them. It is a chain of stores throughout the US, but our marketing is within So. FL.

    You NEED to introduce yourself to a company. If you just approach them, you will not be able to sell what you want if you cannot introduce yourself properly. Businesses do not want anonymity. My company has sponsored a couple dozen bloggers and we throw out proposals that do not seem to be by people who will truly represent us or cannot provide a legal means for us to pay them. In the US, it is required for our citizens to claim taxes of all monies earned.

    This post needs reworking, especially when based on the fact none of these suggestions would be seriously considered.

    Businesses are looking for transparency, not poetry. And you can use a yahoo or gmail address any day. There are a lot of executives that do not use a business email unless contacted through the business.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 26, 2010

      Thanks for the (constructive?) criticism Lydia.

      I’m sorry you feel like the post needs to be re-worked. The suggestions here all work for me. I am in contact with many high profile bloggers and professionals in other industries on a daily basis. One of them re-tweeted this post today.

      I’m not sure what relevance the tax statement has? I don’t live in the US.

      Lastly, who said I don’t use my real identity when contacting people by email?

      Sorry I couldn’t give you something more inspiring Lydia. I’m trying my best though.

      Tyrant

      1. Hey Lydia

        I like the idea of poetry and creativity in the way we approach people. I read BT’s stuff on poetry as a metaphor for simplicity.

        Different strokes for different businesses I suppose.

        As a blogger I’m probably more interested in getting links into other blogs and not into one particular business.

        I am always intriqued by how a piece of communication [be it a post or a whole blog] is interpreted by all its readers.

        I personally and professionally am getting a lot from this blog and it’s clear to me that BT knows what he’s talking about.

        BT is giving me excellent value for the money I’m not giving him!

        Good luck in your business.

    2. there is a whole different culture to approaching people online. what you write might hold true in corporate life. but, online you have to find ways to cut through a lot of noise, and the fact of the matter is that people that work online are ALOT more accessible and therefore experience a whole lot more noise on a daily basis, than self important exec’s that secretly enjoy protecting the notion of ivory towers, and gate keepers, that so often require and often discourages, many bright and entrepreneurial people to jump through hoops to pitch them. web people are less obsessed with the “right way” or the “way its done” and MUCH more impressed with actual talent and creativity. the issue is whether you can cut through, and show it…

  12. Cherbydarl Jimenez on October 26, 2010

    7 months ago, I don’t have any knowledge about making a website, much more on what content I will put in.
    As I am now gaining more knowledge and confidence on making it to the online world, this post about the best ways of how to email A-list bloggers is right on time.
    Thanks so much for your great help BT!
    @Mayi: Thanks for the additional info. I will also check it out.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 26, 2010

      Glad to hear you are getting something from it Cherbydarl.

      Thanks for thanking Mayi as well! I love seeing the community grow here.

      Tyrant

  13. Juuso Palander on October 26, 2010

    Hello from Finland!

    You filled my silent request about this kind of post, thanks a lot for that! We’re in progress of developing a premium wordpress plugin that would probably be a good addition to A-list bloggers also. So now I have some more extra confidence to actually contact them successfully 🙂

    I’m following four top blogging blogs and your blog has climbed up the ladder in that list from fourth place to top two. I think you’re doing great job and if we ever get that plugin out of the oven, I’ll give it to you for free as a donation for these excellent insights!

    Greetings,

    Juuso

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 26, 2010

      Hey Juuso.

      The plugin sounds fantastic. Let me know if you need any help getting it off the ground.

      Tyrant

  14. Regarding, “Don’t use CC function”

    I learned this the hard way. Recently I needed extra support so I called upon my loyal starter group. The handful of friends who have encouraged and nurtured my blogging efforts from the beginning. I began the email with a sincere and rather mushy appreciation for their support.

    Big mistake to send it as a group mail. One friend called me on it, “There’s nothing like getting a form love letter,” she said.

    The friend was only teasing me and she wasn’t terribly damaged by this, but I was mortified when I realized what I had done. To the people I count on most!

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 26, 2010

      T.Lee that sounds like it could have been worse. There was one a few years ago where this guy emailed all the top SEOs in the industry and shared everyone’s email. They were not very happy and as such they all made fun of him for about a week.

      The transcript is online somewhere.

  15. George Field on October 26, 2010

    Definitely useful information. Really didn’t have an idea about the whole email deal. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to post a comment relevant to the blog instead of an email?

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 27, 2010

      Thanks George. Comments are a good starting place but I don’t think you can get too far with them alone.

  16. I enjoyed the post as I enjoy them all (well maybe not the strange comment from Lydia, which just seemed, well, strange!

    What I’m not clear on is why I want to contact these A list bloggers? Is it primarily to pitch a guest post or are there others reasons to do this?

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 27, 2010

      Hi Lesley. Like Lisa said, guest posts are one thing but also pitching other things like new product launches, etc. Shoemoney and Rowse and all those guys always promote the heck out of each other.

  17. Lisa Angelettie on October 26, 2010

    @Lesley – I am assuming that BT is speaking in reference to guest blogging, but you could probably adopt the same approach when seeking a JV – except you would probably need to be a little less poetic and just get straight to the “what you can do for them and vice-versa pitch”.

    If we are talking about guest blogging, I think it is also always a great idea to reference work written by the A-lister. So in keeping with point #2 (getting personal), it’s a good idea to reference a previous post written by them and pitch them an idea of something that would be a nice “continuation” of that topic.

    Thanks for the article BT:) But seriously – when r u going to post a pic!!!

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 27, 2010

      One day you will see my face Lisa. But only when YOU are ready. Ha ha.

  18. Marcus Sheridan, The Sales lion on October 26, 2010

    Tyrant, tremendous read dude, one of the most original I’ve seen on guest posting for quite some time. Some great ‘think outside the box’ approaches here.

    Thanks for the constant value…

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 27, 2010

      Glad you liked it Marcus.

  19. Wow. Amazing post! Contacting and getting to know A-List bloggers is one of the most, if not the most, important thing in blogging. This post really helped me in knowing how to contact them and get a response. I am really, really impressed with your blog. One of the best out there.

    Thanks

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 27, 2010

      Thanks Ryan. Means a lot. Hope to see you around some more.

  20. Moon Hussain on October 27, 2010

    Tyrant!

    Another amazing post full of awesome goodies. No, I haven’t contacted a ‘big’ blogger yet. I’m in the process of writing guest posts first so I’m ready to deliver if I get the go ahead.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 27, 2010

      Let us know how you go Moon.

  21. Hey BT
    Took your advice to get off my arse and just ask for a guest post.

    Got one!

    It’s with a blogger who has become a friend over the last few years. Will be posting in a novel way in a few weeks.

    She wants to be the guinea pig for a few of the Life Dreaming Morsels [tasty little treats] I create … she’ll try them and let me know what she thinks. All on her big blog.

    And she said she’d help me brainstorm ideas for blogs to approach for guest posts.

    Re: emails … does everyone know that you can add all the addresses to Add Bcc and they become invisible? The reader only sees their address and not everyone elses.

    So thanks again BT for being a good mentor.

    Nah … I don’t want to see a photo of you … mystery is so much more interesting.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 27, 2010

      Great work Liz. Make sure you send me the link when its up.

      BCC is good, yes, but it still seems to come across as manufactured if you know what I mean?

      As for the photo, you aren’t missing anything. I’m sort of a mix between Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp and whatever other prevailing man-crush people have. Ha ha.

      1. Agree about Bcc BT.

        I’ll be writing individual and personally focussed emails to the bloggers. As soon as I work out who to write to!

        Nice to see that even BT lives in a strange fantasy world … and don’t you know it’s the personality, wit & adventurous spirit that’s the draw card.

        Johnny Depp I get … never understood the Brad Pitt thing.

        1. the Blog Tyrant on October 27, 2010

          I’m more of a John Mayer kind of guy. He’s complicated, but just enough that you think you can change him.

          HAHA

          1. Anyone that thinks they can change a man [or woman] is on the Highway to Hell [ACDC moment].

  22. Ricardo Bueno on October 28, 2010

    I’d argue that brevity counts. Get to the point quickly but give me enough information to make a decision on whether or not I’d like to learn more.

    P.S. When people ask me what social media book I recommend, I answer with: “How To Win Friends and Influence People”

    I love the presentation this guy put together:
    http://www.slideshare.net/tcar/how-to-win-friends-influence-people-online

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 31, 2010

      Great share Ricardo!

  23. Friday Gems and FollowFriday No 5 | SEO MMO Tips on November 5, 2010

    […] How to Write Successful Emails to A-List Bloggers & Industry Leadersby the Blog Tyrant (Twitter) […]

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