Responding to emails is sometimes a very daunting task, I admit, I don’t always respond to every last email that I receive, but I do my best to reply to most! Today, Rachel from GrayBerry is sharing with us 5 reasons to respond to emails, from the perspective of a newbie blogger! Each number is a reason that a blogger might have for not responding to emails, and Rachel counters each point, with compelling reasons that bloggers should reply to emails!
- I Get Too Many Emails & I Can’t Keep Up – I know that some of you receive 100s (or more) emails a day. Believe me, from some one who doesn’t, you are blessed! That means 100 people have heard something you had to say! If you are a faith blogger… whoa! Think of the lives you may have influenced! I know it may seem overwhelming or impossible. Email may be a tedious chore that you dread, but please, respond anyway. If you need help responding to emails, enlist your husband, a friend, another blogger or a VA. LEt them help you get your inbox back to a manageable state. Many emails can be responded to with a canned response, just to let the other person know that you received their email. Something like this:
Thanks for the email. I’m glad you liked what you read on [insert blog name here.]
I love to get email from my readers!
And while it’s nice to actually keep the dialogue going when someone comments on your posts, most comments can be responded to with:
Just acknowledge that the person said something to you. It’s heartbreaking for newbies to reach out to someone they really admire, only to not get acknowledged.
- I Really Hate Email – My background is in social service, and most agencies in that field have guidlines for responding to email. A standard policy might read, “All emails must be read within 24 hours and responded to within 72 hours”. Set yourself a policy regarding emails. You probably already have personal policies about the bloggy things that you love, like how many tweets you schedule throughout the day, or how your editorial calendar is outlined. You need a policy about comments and emails too. You could also work by setting yourself a goal of x number of emails a day, or certain days that you clear your inbox before writing and editing. You are a smart cookie! You can find a system that works for you.
- I Don’t Know What to Say, People Email Me Their Whole Life Stories! – Be honest. Thank them for their email, tell them you don’t know what to say, then tell them that you’ll pray for them. Or, you could even ask how you can pray for them. Don’t offer unsolicited advice, and don’t ever offer medical or legal advice. If someone discloses something illegal or questionable, seek advice from an attorney or the police on what actions, if any, you should take. In many years of social work, I learned that most people just want to be heard, so listen to them.
- Why Should I Feel Obligated to Respond? I Didn’t Reach Out to Them; They Started the Conversation – Actually, you did start the conversation. You published something on a public blog and provided you email address. This is an open invitation for people to email you and social media buttons are an invitation for people to engage with you on social media. By it’s very essence, blogging is social. You wouldn’t invite someone to your home and then ignore them… same applies to your home on internet. However, if someone is being rude or abusive toward you via comments or email, you are under no obligation to respond. In fact, you should block them and report them.
- I Still Don’t Understand Why Responding Is Important – The better question is, Why not respond? Think of it this way: No one is ever going to say, “Why that Rachel over at Grayberry responded to my email! I’m certainly not going to read her posts ever again!” But someone might get offended or hurt by what they perceive as a snub, even if that’s not your intention.
As a blogger, you have a brand. You have a reputation. And you probably want to be the best representative of that brand. Responding to emails and comments can only help you be the best representative you can be.
Are you being a good representative of your brand?
Do you have a system for responding to emails and comments? Are you thinking about implementing one now?