As I get busier with my blog, I find myself wondering about etiquette rules for bloggers. I am reaching out to other bloggers and businesses, to ask for help, information, apply for sewalongs and guest blogging spots, and I want to use my best manners so I put my best foot forward. Since I am not meeting these people in real life, my blog and my email or phone call to them are how they get to know me. So, what are the rules of etiquette for doing blogging and business online?
They are the same as the rules of etiquette offline.
I spent a few hours searching around the internet and here are some tips I have compiled.
- Be friendly and polite in your calls and emails.
- Use respectful language, grammar, and punctuation. Avoid unnecessary and distracting verbiage, exclamations, and emoticons.
- Be simple and to the point. Everyone else is busy, too, so get to the point and don't waste their time reading fluff.
- Remember the letter writing you learned in school and use that format. Start with a polite opening that uses their name and end with a sincere closing remark.
- Double check your spelling. Consider seeing if your browser has a spell check, like Firefox. Or write your email in Word first and run the checks.
- For phone calls, have some notes handy so you don't forget your main points.
- For emails, never forget that nothing is private anymore. Even email. Your email could end up public without your permission so own your words. Never write anything you might regret later.
- Return emails and calls within a day or two. If you are not able to do so, send a quick note stating why and how you will respond further within five days. It is unacceptable to let business and blogging-related emails sit in your in box for more than a few days. This is particularly important if you solicited the email in the first place.
- If you get so many calls and emails that you simply cannot respond to them all within a few days, either hire an assistant, organize your schedule better, or drop a project. You are too busy.
- Always remember that you represent your brand through your words. Even if you are a small-time blogger like me, own your words. Represent yourself with style, grace, and good manners.
For the most part, nearly everyone I have been contacting lately has gotten back to me within a day or two. A few designers I have contacted for the designer interview series have chosen to ignore me. That makes me feel slighted. It doesn't make me want to buy their patterns. I have heard that some designers solicit pattern testers and then never respond to all the requests. That happened to me once and, again, it doesn't make me want to buy their patterns. But, I have to admit, that most of the pattern designers, bloggers and craft business people I have been contacting for this project and that one have been wonderfully polite and quick to respond. Even a small-time blogger, like me, deserves to be treated with respect.
After all, I am not just a blogger. I am also a customer. And our readers are customers. So, run a good customer service department even if it is just in your sewing room.
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