Sending Thank-You Notes to Journalists: Right or Wrong?
I’ve been sending thank-you notes for crystal candlesticks, support during the aftermath of a family tragedy, lunches, and other various good deeds that touch a very deep place inside. So why not send a note of appreciation?
Some people might disagree, but if you’re sincere about your appreciation that usually comes through and I happen to believe that most of us, whether we’re in the almighty powerful position of choosing which stories get aired and printed, really like to be thanked. Why? Because I don’t think it happens enough so that when it does somebody—the journalist who called your source (even if he/she wasn’t quoted), the producer who pushed the story through, and anyone else who helped you get from here to there in the fun world of PR—notices.
Usually, my thank-you’s are fairly short and I tend not to gush. No one wants to be made uncomfortable. This is one of those oh-that-was-nice kinds of notes. I don’t really want them to think too long about it. But I do want them to know on some level that I really am appreciative of their hard work.
Some of you might be wondering if I email these missives or actually pick up a pen and expose these folks to my less than stellar handwriting (you can usually see the “L-e-s,” but then things go downhill from there and my signature sort of flatlines down the page. I almost always send a thank-you through the U.S. mail. I know: it’s really yesterday. But once again, I think it’s something that people remember. Here’s the catch though: if your words and your motivation really are suspect (and that’s pretty easy to figure out—think of those old cartoons when the bad guy looks to the right and then the left before robbing the bank; no really, it’s the same thing, I swear), then that will come through.
So if none of this resonates and you think it’s a shallow gesture, then don’t waste your time. But think about how you would respond to a genuine expression of thanks. It can make your day.