Inside the Inbox of… Robert Rose

29/Jul/2015 · 3 MINS READ

In a series we’re calling ‘Inside the Inbox of…’ we’re asking industry leaders to let us delve into their most private of places… their emails!

Today we’re exploring the inbox of Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer at Content Marketing Institute.


0 unread – I’m an inbox zero kind of guy – so any time there are more than 20 or so messages (basically if there’s a scroll bar in my inbox) it drives me nuts. There are currently 23 messages total in my inbox.
1 drafts – I’m writing a longer email to the CMI team about some 2015 strategy stuff – so I’m taking my own sweet time to create it.
0 flagged – I don’t really use the “flagged” status – since I pretty much deal with anything as it comes in – or in spurts of email. Anything that is important makes its way to my Evernote – where I manage everything from meeting notes, to drafts of blog posts to phone conversations and general notes on stuff I need to do.

1) Which email conversation has sparked your interest recently?

I’ve been having a 4 month long (very slow moving) discussion with a colleague (Dr. Tim Walters) about Marshal McLuhan and the nature of media. We’re both students – and believe that most people misinterpret the “medium is the message” quote that McLuhan is famous for. Tim is someone who constantly challenges my thinking – and makes me actually really, truly dig deeper into the meaning of what’s happening in the world of digital, marketing and business.

2) What’s the top priority in your inbox at the moment?

Other than this email? Ha! All the meeting requests for Content Marketing World (which happened this week). I’m trying to get those dealt with before I take off.

3) Who are you emailing that inspires you?

Certainly the aforementioned Tim Walters. But also I had a lovely email exchange (and phone conversation) with Trevor Traina recently. Trevor is the CEO and founder of a new startup called IfOnly.com – that offers experiences (as opposed to products) for sale. He’s featured in the introduction to my new book.

4) What newsletters are you signed up to?

Oh good lord – so many it’s hard to keep track of. The question should rather be, which ones do you pay attention to. Bo Sacks’ email newsletter is a daily one I read pretty religiously. Also the Harvard Business Review blog feed (though that comes through my RSS reader as opposed to email).

5) Which kind of emails gets instantly deleted?

Any email that starts out with “Dear Beloved” or where the subject line tells me why I should “learn about digital marketing” in order to advance my career. Also, I’m not terribly good at managing my subscriptions – so I get A LOT of newsletters from places where I “opted in” but never bother to opt out of.

6) Which kinds of email do you most love to receive?

My Freshbooks update that shows me which invoices are paid is a pretty awesome one to get. Also, even more than new business (which is awesome don’t get me wrong) are the ones where someone is inviting me to speak at their event. I love those.

7) What do you think you’ll be discussing over email in six months time?

Well, I think the idea of companies really scaling their content creation practices will become a huge topic (I hope so my new book is all about it). So I think the new methods of actually building the function of content and content creation management will become a big topic over the next six months. It’s what I’ll be talking about in early 2015 for sure.

8) How long does it usually take you to respond?

I’m pretty quick. I usually respond same day – or even within hours – unless I need to put some thought into the response (hopefully this is somewhat thoughtful…)

9) When do you stop replying to emails?

Pretty much when I’m done for the day – which is usually around 7pm or 8pm or so. Being on the west coast of the US helps in that regard as most East Coasters and Europeans are already in bed. All I have to worry about are my Aussie friends!

10) Finally, you have a chance to change the world with just one email – who’s that getting sent to and why?

Wow – that’s a tough one. I’m pretty sure the person that I’d email doesn’t have internet access. I’m also pretty sure that I’d end up in their spam folder.