Over the next month, I’m going to be writing less here on the site. I have a larger project that I want to focus in on and need to free up some attention in order to actually get it done. Rather than letting the site sit idle, I’ve asked several very special guests to share their thoughts and expertise on how they actually get big things done.
Pitching a guest series, or anything for that matter, takes time. Especially if you want to do it right. While many of the people I asked are friends and good acquaintances, I didn’t want to send a mass email. I’m asking them to spend their valuable time to help, so a more personal approach seemed like the least I could do. That said, much of the information was the same and much as I wanted to reach out to everyone personally, time would not allow for 30+ entirely unique emails. This is where TextExpander comes in.
I was able to speed things up significantly by creating a TextExpander snippet that included a few key aspects:
- A fill-in field to put the person’s name – Basic as this sounds, you’d be shocked by how few people do this.
- A paragraph that went to everyone explaining that I needed to take some time off from writing and that I could use their help.
- Another paragraph that went to everyone explaining the “Actually Getting Big Things Done” series and what I was hoping to accomplish with it.
- A fill-in area to add a personalized message including why I thought they made sense for the series and a possible idea for a piece (while making it clear that I’d welcome anything that resonated on the topic).
- An optional fill-in section that briefly explained my site for those who may not be regular readers.
- A outro that provided an idea of timeframe and next steps.
After naming my snippet and giving it an easy-to-remember abbreviation, I was able to type it into a new email message which prompted me to fill in the name, write a personal paragraph and decide if I wanted to add my optional paragraph explaining the site. Upon completion, the initial abbreviation was replaced with a fully written, personalized pitch.
TextExpander let me move through my list at a brisk pace, but made it possible for me to do so in a way that I was proud of. Better yet, when I received some early feedback that my pitch was a little long, I was able to jump into TextExpander, tweak my snippet to offer a more streamlined version and get back to asking for help.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive, so over the next month or so there will be guest posts from Gini Dietrich, Mike Vardy, Aaron Manhke, Erin Feldman, Jason Konopinski, Nick Wynja, Justin Lancy, Dave Caolo, Gabe Weatherhead, Bryan Clark, Robert Agcaoili, Thanh Pham, Jason Rehmus, Sven Fechner, Stephen Hackett, Yuvi Zalkow, Brett Terpstra, C.J. Chilvers, Matt Alexander, Andrew Carroll, Marcelo Somers, Jean MacDonald, David Sparks and more surrounding the topic of “Actually Getting Big Things Done”. I’ll share on my own big thing soon, but in the meantime, I can’t wait to be inspired by so many who know how to make big things happen. I hope you will be too.
Check back tomorrow as we kick of the series with a great post from Aaron Mahnke or better yet, subscribe for free by RSS or Email to receive all of the “Actually Getting Big Things Done” posts and more from A Better Mess.