Are You Making This One HUGE, Common Mistake In Your Emails?

Or, “It’s Not Me, It’s You”.

cassette love

There was a time when getting free music was a really exciting perk of any job.
CDs were expensive and, when I was in radio, it was lovely not having to pay for them.

There was also effort and expense for a new band, in sending you their CD.

They’d probably had to save up to record the demo, more to get it mastered and pressed, even more for the physical copies and then a load of cash for posting.

It was easy to listen to everything I was sent, because I wasn’t sent much.


Now that I occasionally choose music for TV shows (find out how I started HERE), I still get sent tunes.

Because bands no longer have to put any hard cash behind sending it (and can generally record pretty cheaply and easily), I get a LOT of music.

Far more than I would ever have time to listen to. So a lot of it slips through the net.

What is it that will make me take the time to check out an artist’s songs?

What is the magic something in the email that makes me want to spend five minutes listening to music I may never use?


How NOT to do it You can hear my dog bark

Let’s first talk about what won’t work. 

Here’s an email I recently received, with the name & some details hidden to protect the ignorant.

(I would worry about them reading this blog and feeling bad…

…except that they clearly don’t do that kind of simple research)

You’ll see the second in a couple of weeks.

Here’s the first:

(feel free to skim-read the long-bits)

Hello Marsha,

Just found you via google. 

Wanted to give you the heads up on [a certain city]’s indie-pop combo [Bandname] – we now have the recently released debut album ‘[Name Of Album]’ available in instrumental form (10 tracks). Download link for tracks (both vocal and instr) with metadata / lyrics etc:

The band have been featured on This TV show, That Radio Station, Another radio station that you used to work for, which I wouldn’t know because I clearly haven’t bothered to do any research on you, A music TV channel and Another TV show. ‘[one of our singles]’ was a medium-sized radio show’s ‘Single Of The Month‘ and a featured song on another radio station, it was also playlisted in a certain clothing brand’s stores worldwide.

Hope you can consider this music for any suitable projects.

Kind regards,


As you can see, not terribly offensive.

They didn’t shout at me, diss my taste in clothes, or threaten my grandma.

They didn’t even have bad spelling or punctuation.


What the problem is with this email

Let’s look at what else they didn’t do.


Make the email in any way about me.

It was 100% all about them.

They even wrote “Just found you via google”.

Way to make a lady feel special, dudes.


You’re basically telling me you googled me, saw that I choose music for TV shows, then spammed me without a care as to what I actually do or what I’m into.

Nothing to make yourself stand out from the crowd.


“But Marsha,” you may be thinking,

“Surely if it’s useful that they told you all those impressive facts? Doesn’t that make them stand out?”


The impressive facts are impressive. But there needs to be something BEFORE that.

Something that suggests that I am not just getting the same identikit email that every other music supervisor on the planet is getting.

As my genius friend Simon Pursehouse says (in his INCREDIBLE blog for Sentric Music):

“Basically; call me pretty before you try and kiss me yeah?”


When ‘cold’ emailing, the NUMBER ONE mistake people make

is to make the email all about themselves.



How to help yourself

Google is a wonderful tool. With it, you can find:

(a) facts about that person that you can comment on, in order to make them feel special

(b) answers to questions that you might otherwise waste someone’s time with

(c) ways in which YOU can help THEM


What you get from (a) is ESSENTIAL INFORMATION that MUST be considered in any ‘cold’ email you send.


Over the next two posts, I’ll cover (b) and (c).

If you want more help in the meantime

– and you want a fully tailored service, where I’ll help you with every aspect of having the person you admire sit up and take notice of you –


then you can find out more about Grab Their Attention

my intensive session to make this happen for you,

by clicking HERE.


Over To You

What’s your pet hate when people email you?
Is it punctuation? Or “Dear Sir” – when you’re a lady?

Let me know in the comments below, or by clicking here!

If this post has made you think of anyone, please share it with them – or with your twitter/facebook/linked/Pinterest chums – by pressing one of the round buttons below.


Thanks for reading!

You rule,

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha



PS want to know my best-ever client secret – and get even more advice, tips, plus stories that I won’t put on the internet? Come and join the Yes Yes Family – it’s free! Just pop your details in below:

Photo Credits: Jonathan Rubio via Compfight, soundfromwayout, timsamoff, pheezy, all via Compfight cc


  • Alejandra Ruani

    Reply Reply September 20, 2013

    Hilarious yet so valuable this post.

    I laughed most at the
    “way to treat a lady’ and “sir”

    fantastic guide, will keep these tips in mind!


    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 21, 2013

      Aw, thanks Alejandra!
      Telling me I made you laugh is pretty much the best compliment you could give me on a rainy Saturday :)

  • Andrea

    Reply Reply September 20, 2013

    Ahhh, yes, the “it’s all about me form” letter. I know it well. Working in recruiting, I get a shocking number of these sorts of emails on a regular basis. Even just a “hope your day is going well” would butter me up a bit! No need to be fancy. Looking forward to parts 2 and 3!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 21, 2013

      Hooray! I love hearing evidence of this in other places – it goes to show that this information needs to get out! Thanks, Andrea

  • Lacy

    Reply Reply September 21, 2013

    SO TRUE! I’m a restaurant reviewer and food writer for a hyper-local magazine in my other life, and I get all KINDS of ridiculous PR pitches. I get a TON of band and music pitches. “So and So Band is playing in Nashville TONIGHT!” a) I don’t care, b) I don’t write about music, c) I don’t live anywhere near Nashville, d) I write for a monthly magazine, so sending me something that’s happening tonight is really stupid.

    The problem is that a lot of people sign up for these PR services that promise to blast their release to thousands of journalists! That’s RIDICULOUS. It’s no better than spam to me. You don’t want thousands of journalists/bloggers/whatever. What you want is the *ONE* who gives a crap about what you do.

    End rant. ;)

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 21, 2013

      LACY! This was so funny. I *love that people are sending you invitations to see bands play live in Nashville. Did they also say Dear Sir?
      I quite often get requests for people to have their music placed on shows I’ve never worked for, or a radio station I left three years ago.

      I *TOTALLY* agree on the PR services!! Some people write “Press release” as the subject line, even! Immediate delete!

  • Elyse Sparkes

    Reply Reply September 21, 2013

    Great reminder Marsha! I’m looking forward to the follow up posts… sometimes I wonder about the fine line about ‘kissing up’ versus ‘making them feel special’… thoughts?

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 21, 2013

      Elyse, I’m so happy you asked this question!

      Here is the answer:

      If you don’t want to be a kiss-ass, just BE GENUINE.

      In “How To Win Friends And Influence People” (which is much less evil than the title would suggest), Dale Carnegie talks about the importance of Affirming The Good In Others versus flattery.

      The difference? GENUINE CONCERN.

      Affirming the good is picking out something you genuinely think is brilliant, then telling them it’s brilliant.

      I touched in this in this blog:,
      but I think this will warrant a blog post all of its own at some point!

  • Silvia

    Reply Reply September 21, 2013

    Marsha, as always love your posts. They’re specific and helpful. Finding out about someone you’re wanting something from should be a first course of action but as we know it’s not. I think email pitching should follow the same rules of good manners as anything else. Thank someone for their work, their dinner party, their contribution, etc. and then offer to help with something you do, write, produce, clean up, etc. if it can truly add value to what they’re doing. Seems simple but far too many don’t get it. Thank you for helping us get it.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 21, 2013

      Yes, Silvia, totally agree!

      I’m going to talk in a couple of weeks about seeing what you can do for that person. I think sometimes that can seem hard when you perceive them as being more successful than you, but there are totally still things you can do.

  • Melissa Burkheimer

    Reply Reply September 22, 2013

    Hey Marsha!

    You’re so witty! I love your lingo when you write your posts. Just thought you should know.

    And everyone needs to read this. It’s super important!


    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 22, 2013

      Melissa! That made my weekend, thank you!!

      And I agree! Maybe if they do, we’ll start getting better emails :)


  • Sonja Keller

    Reply Reply September 24, 2013

    Haha! Great post Marsha :) You are so right. It’s easy to slip into the me me me thing and forget about the person you are actually writing to! Thanks for the reminder :)

  • Lorna

    Reply Reply September 26, 2013

    This is so true Marsha. I don’t ever want to be this clueless when trying to reach out to people. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply September 26, 2013

      You’re welcome, Lorna! The funny thing is, I used to do this all the time. I think making the email about them (and not you) is something that seems really obvious once you point it out, but takes a long time to learn!

  • Adi Maor Siso

    Reply Reply September 27, 2013

    I think the most important part about it all is to think about the other side and still be up front about everything.
    Of course research is also a basic thing to do because it’s reflects back to you and how professional you are.
    Great post! Thanks! (:

  • Shana

    Reply Reply September 27, 2013

    Great post! Rattling on about yourself won’t engage your reader, or let them see how what you’re offering will benefit them in anyway. Great reminder!

  • Holly

    Reply Reply October 7, 2013

    You must protect the ignorant. Love your humor! “Basically; call me pretty before you try and kiss me yeah?” – Perfect! It’s such a simple thing. Read your correspondence and say to yourself, self if I got this email what would I think and try to be realistic.

  • Michelle

    Reply Reply October 28, 2013

    Thanks for sharing a specific example. One of my pet peeves is that I continue to receive “donor thank yous” addressed to Mrs. & Mr. Peter and Michelle Slade. I’ve even let the charity know and asked to have the “simple” error corrected but I continue to receive mail addressed this way…definitely a turn off…lucky I’m so passionate about the cause or I’d disconnect.

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