How To Write A Thank You Note Like Anna Wintour

In PR, we’re pretty much in the habit of thanking people daily. Whether sending thanks to an editor who featured your client, acknowledging an employee for going above and beyond, or communicating gratitude to a colleague for a business referral, appreciating others is a job requirement.

For thank you notes in particular, there are steps you can take to impress even the hardened of journalists, the most particular of clients. And while I have yet to receive a thank you note from Ms. Wintour herself, truly exceptional, Vogue-style thank you notes most often have the following 5 components:

The best thank you notes are handwritten

A quick email thank you can be a great pause on the way to dropping your thank you note in the mail slot, but it should be just that. A handwritten thank you note – from the stationary you choose, the pen you write with, even the stamp, all make an impression. What better way to stand out in this Snapchat/Instagram/Facebook age than by slowing down, writing down your thoughts and giving that old cursive a spin?

A great thank you note expresses impact

Did an editor feature generate more sales than any previous piece of press? Did an intern’s pitch score your client an amazing feature in Us Weekly (that happened to me once – still in touch with that intern!).

A simple, thank you so much for the feature, is simply not enough. Instead, provide your recipient with detailed information about what their gesture did for you and how their efforts made a real difference.
After all, who doesn’t like hearing that they majorly contributed to someone’s happiness?

Memorable thank you notes appeal to the eye

While a box of thank you cards from the Dollar Store won’t break the bank, they also won’t add anything to the exchange. Whether you choose personalized stationery, a gorgeous gold foil greeting card, a bold statement or a hefty letterpress cardstock, send something that makes an instant, positive visual impression. Ask yourself – would this person Instagram this thank you card? Consider choosing something that embodies the recipient – whether it’s a phrase that sums up their personality (check out the PR Couture Card collection) or cute emoji-themed cards for your digitally-savvy coordinator, aim to delight from envelope to open.

Remarkable Thank You Notes include an offer of reciprocation

If you really want to go above and beyond, extend a specific offer to reciprocate at your next opportunity. When your business bestie sends over a new dream client, let him know he’s the first person on your list when you have a chance to do the same. If a stylist places your client’s product on their A-list talent, offer to gift the stylist something from the line to show your gratitude.

Consider a Small Gift to Accompany Your Thank You Note

It’s not necessary (and can be offputting) to send something extravagant. But a small, thoughtful gift can take your thank you note skills to the next level. If your client mentions she loves Game of Thrones, for example, a novelty mug is a great gesture. Your boho-loving colleague might like a bright, Moroccan-style blanket for her next trip to the beach.

Food is often a good idea, but make sure to consider what you’re sending. If you’re in NYC and want to send an edible gift of gratitude to an LA influencer, or you know your client is on vacation this week, don’t send anything perishable, or that needs to be signed for. People in our industry are notoriously off traveling and you don’t want them coming back to a pile of food gone bad.

Your thank you note should be an entire experience intended to honor your recipient through thoughtful details and well-thought-out prose. Don’t be afraid to write or type up your first draft to ensure the message is exactly how you intend it to be received.


Lindsey Smolan

Lindsey Smolan

Lindsey is the principal at VLIV Communications, a NYC-based boutique public relations agency that specializes in generating buzz and press for emerging and established beauty, fashion, accessories, and lifestyle brands. LSPR has a genuine passion for helping clients grow and succeed, and their long reaching connections, from fashion and beauty editors at national magazines to influential celebrity stylists and the increasingly growing blogger and vlogger communities, help them do just that. LSPR strategizes with clients to determine their key brand messaging and how to effectively convey what exactly makes them unique to these key contacts.