Navigating Email Etiquette in the Digital Age with Grace Aldridge Foster [Podcast]

Navigating Email Etiquette in the Digital Age with Grace Aldridge Foster [Podcast]

Today on the PR Talk Podcast, Amy Rosenberg gets to the point on email etiquette with Grace Aldridge Foster, Co-founder and Principal of Bold Type — a writing consultation and training company. Since the average person receives over 100 emails daily, it is very important to make sure yours stands out and is getting read. 

Email Overwhelm 

As an expert in email communication, Grace has noticed a recurring issue: an overwhelming number of emails flooding inboxes that are way too long, irrelevant, or unclear about the desired outcome. This issue then contributes to the stress of workdays or other commitments leading to many unopened emails. 


Get to Your Point

To tackle this email overload, the senders should organize the most important information by placing it at the beginning, including the subject line. While PR folks know how important the subject line is, especially when pitching, it is often overlooked for other types of emails. But let’s not forget, the subject line and the preview text are the main factors that lead to a person opening the email. 

Grace recommends including action words, limiting the subject line to 8-10 words, describing the request, highlighting the urgency, and providing a project deadline if possible. By implementing these tips, your emails have a higher chance of getting attention.


Don’t Default Your Emails

If you repeatedly use the same pleasantries in your emails, maybe you should ask yourself why? While it’s important in email etiquette to have an introduction, it’s equally important to stay mindful of the email’s purpose. Establishing guidelines for email etiquette is also crucial for businesses to ensure consistent communication. Here are a few general tips to follow:

  • Think before you send. Sometimes an email can be too wordy or not include enough, so ask yourself if your email is clear and concise. If it feels excessive, chances are it is, which means it might be best to arrange a call instead.
  • Know your audience. Avoid sending an email to someone that has no business reading that email, and ensure the language you use is appropriate for the receiver. 
  • Acknowledge an email within 24 hours. You don’t have to respond thoroughly, but a simple “received” would suffice.
  • Establish specific times to check email. Don’t allow email to take away from your work day. Setting specific email check times throughout the day improves productivity by reducing email distractions. 

Listen now to learn more about creating well-received emails and the different types of language you can incorporate to get your email read.

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About the Guest: Grace Aldridge Foster

Grace has been training writers for over a decade. She has worked with organizations, including: the U.S. Special Operations Command, Capital One, Johnson & Johnson, Biogen, the Aspen Institute and the National Parks Service. Grace is also a Center for Plain Language member and serves as a judge for the annual Federal Report Card and ClearMark Awards, scoring federal agencies and other organizations on their ability to communicate clearly to online audiences.


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This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

How to Choose the Right Communication Channels for Your Communications Campaign

How to Choose the Right Communication Channels for Your Communications Campaign

With so many communications channels to choose from, it’s easy to see how some businesses might get overwhelmed.

According to a recent survey by The Manifest, 64% of small businesses use two or more channels when relaying messages to consumers.

By choosing a combination of channels, businesses can ensure their messages are being received by the widest possible audience.

Although it might be tempting to use as many communications channels as are available, businesses would benefit from a more deliberate and mindful approach.


Know Your Audience

One of the first steps of planning a successful communications campaign is knowing exactly who the campaign is for.

Ask yourself:

  • How old is the target audience?
  • What are their communication habits?
  • What types of messages do they respond best to?

For example, if your target audience is younger, social media might be the best way to reach them.

Businesses should also consider whether the target audience is current customers or people they’re trying to convert into customers.

“Current customers are going to listen to that message quite differently than folks who don’t know who you are or haven’t had any sort of relationship with you,” said Mike Rosenberg, CEO of Veracity, one of the top PR agencies in Portland, Ore.


Consider Your Message

 The next step to planning an effective communications campaign is to consider the message you want to share.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you sharing information about a new product or service?
  • Do you want to share company news?
  • Is the purpose of your message to inform or incite a specific action?

Businesses should always consider the nature of their message before determining which communication channel would be the best fit.


Think About What Kind of Return You Want to Gain

After you’ve considered your audience and the type of message you’ll be sharing, you also need to consider the type of return you want to gain from your communication efforts.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the goal with communication to customers?
  • What action do we want them to take?
  • Do we want them to buy something?
  • Do we want them to start a conversation around our brand?
  • Is this more a matter of customer service?
  • How will we track our returns?

For example, if you want to jumpstart buzz around your brand or a new product, social media might be the best channel. If you want to offer customers exclusive news or discounts, email or direct mail might be best.

Whatever your intended return is, make sure it is trackable so that you can measure the success of your campaign to prepare for future campaigns.


Business-Consumer Communications Requires a Well-Thought Out Plan

While businesses should use multiple platforms to emphasize their messages, they should do so in a deliberate way. By considering their audience, message, and the return they want to gain, businesses can create a communications campaign that strengthens their public relations, marketing, and reputation management strategies.

Featured image from Ethan Hoover