Heading into the Holidays, it’s good to remember everything we’re thankful for—and everyone to thank. Few things communicate gratitude like a hand written note, and my client Marco Larsen of publicity firm PUBLIC nyc has some excellent advice on composing one. He focuses on press contacts who cover his clients, but we can all take heed. Here’s an excerpt from Marco’s recently-released DON’T, the Essential Guide to Publicity in New York City (and Any Other City That Matters):
DON’T FORGET TO WRITE.
©Marco Larsen, 2009
A call that achieves tangible results (read: press) for you represents a favor from your media contact. Your contacts realize this fact no matter how graciously they may feign to overlook it. A call followed up only by the next pitch resembles a Saturday night date followed up only with another Thursday afternoon query. The timing is somehow suspect.
Wham, bam, thank you, Ma’am is never a shrewd approach to a (long term) relationship.
Saying thank you with another call might be awkward. E-mail says, “Your gracious assistance is this important to me: CLICK-CLICK.” It places you comfortably among the legion of hacks styling themselves publicists. Place yourself among gracious professionals, instead.
Have you ever received a proper thank you note? Written on quality stationery with a postmark and everything? It made you feel special, did it not? People genuinely enjoy being noted for their efforts.
In business, there are myriad reasons to send a thank you note: for a good professional turn, in response to a referral, after a job interview, or when you have been treated to lunch by a contact or similarly entertained by your boss. Less and less common in our manic age of email, texting, BlackBerries and mobile phones, it’s a classically courteous and nearly effortless way to define yourself as considerate and well mannered.
Above all, never type a thank you note: it is not “more business-like”, it’s just “less charming”. The recipient will assume you lack either legible penmanship or simple grace. Use company letterhead and a matching envelope, and they’ll suppose you lack either taste or proper stationery.
Invest in quality 5 x 7 correspondence cards or fold-over notes in a style that balances classicism with modern simplicity. Tasteful personal touches—your name, initials, an elegant border—are never out of place. Sidestep anything florid, homespun, metallic, overly personalized, or with the words ‘thank you’ printed on it.
Your message should be simple, succinct and forward-looking. Punctuation is important. Don’t begin with ‘thank you’, but rather, what you most appreciate about the person’s having taken the time to work with you and how you look forward to future endeavors. Then thank them and close, on a new line, with “Best”, “Best regards” or “Sincerely”. Sign your name in a confident hand and, if necessary, toss in your business card. Always use the honorific when addressing an envelope—Mr. John Smith, not John Smith—and post within 5 days of the event.
A gracious gesture of appreciation, your thoughtfulness will set you apart, accrue good will and aid in your success. In writing thank-you notes to others for their efforts, you are recognized for your own. It’s win-win.
And since we seem to be on the subject of writing…
For the rest of Marco’s thoughts on publicity in NYC, and his general advice on business relationships, point your browser to the DON’T Web site to place your order. …and don’t forget copies for those who’ve earned more than just a note.