Forrester analyst and best-selling business book Groundswell co-author Josh Bernoff (blog, Twitter handle, bio) has an interesting little critique of the emails he receives in Three quarters of the PR email I receive is irrelevant. Why? Josh tweeted me that this post applied just as much to analyst relations (AR) professionals as PR.
You should take a moment to read his post and do a quck review to see if you are you guilty of any of Josh’s offenses.
As we pointed out in the “Analyst Hierarchy of Needs”, the analysts do appreciate outreach by AR teams. However, they want more than simple, generic outreach. They want “Personalized Outreach.” In our interviews with analysts the common refrain is “Just send me information about stuff I care about.” Once your AR program is proficient at providing analysts the basic information they need, your program should work to begin personalizing content based on the specific coverage, speaking calendar, and editorial calendar of individual analysts. Targeted information supporting issues they are concerned about is highly prized by the analysts and can raise your AR program’s visibility significantly. However, analysts who receive too much generic content will stop looking and miss your personalized information.
Another point to be aware of when applying the Hierarchy of Needs to your analyst email distribution is emphasis changes depending on the analyst’s status. A Sage analyst will be significantly less tolerant of generic emails than a Novice analyst, who might appreciate the basic information (see Know your analyst – Novice, Luminary or Sage).
The situation differs when you are sending what is clearly a newsletter instead of something trying to pass as a “personal” email. If clearly marked in the subject line (e.g., Acme Systems’ AR newsletter for February 2009), then it makes it easy for the analyst to scan it and decide to read it immediately, save in a folder for later review, or delete it without opening. It is also important to include instructions for how to unsubscribe in the newsletter.
- Examine your flow of emails to analysts to ensure that they are targeted and relevant
- Track your emails along with other forms of communications to ensure you are maintaining the right mix of interactions (track using a commercial AR management tool like ARchitectTM or at least a homegrown spreadsheet)
- Clearly rebrand certain types of emails from personal to newsletter
Bottom Line: Email is a very important tool in the AR communications tool box. Do not diminish its value by spamming your analysts.
Question: AR managers – How careful are you when sending out emails? Do you consider them in the broader context of all your analyst communications?