A Template on How To Write An Email To Someone For The First Time

I blogged this over a decade ago, probably as I was starting to be annoyed at how poor introductory emails can be.

Let me update and repost the template here:

Hey [Person’s Name, as they publically display it, definitely not misspelled],

This is a paragraph to very quickly explain 1) who I am 2) what I want 3) that I've done basic research to suggest it might matter. This gets to the point quickly and serves as proof that I’m a real human being who isn't sending a canned email and knows how to communicate well.

This is an optional additional paragraph that expounds upon what I want. It includes links so that I can learn more about the topic of this email without needing to clutter it. These links serve as further proof that the topic of this email is a Real Thing™.

This paragraph doesn’t exist because three paragraphs is too long for a first-time email.

Appropriate Signoff,
– Your Full Name
Optional relevant link

[ No cringe email footer ]

As I read that I’m like, yep, that’s what I want to get.

AND YET. Maybe not.

Plenty of random business spam follows pretty much this exact formula, and it still feels like spam to me.

These aren’t perfect examples as they don’t quite exemplify #3 “that I’ve done basic research to suggest it might matter”. But sometimes they do! And they are still a little eye-roll-y.

That’s just the way, though. There is no perfect format for an email such that someone who sells weird vitamins after I send some random company your blood is going to compel me to do it. Just like an form of what-is-essentially-advertising, it’s only gonna work when it hits the right person at the right time.

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