Should You Use a Fake Profile Photo for Outreach Emails?

Recently I received yet another outreach email asking to get published on one of my sites.

It was a bad fit. Different niche and all.

When I got to the bottom of the email pitch, something struck me as not quite right.

The writer included the usual credentials (name and agency contact info) along with a profile photo.

The profile photo struck me as being just a little too polished.

I clicked to enlarge it. Here’s the photo:

I’m not sure why it struck me as fake, but I just couldn’t resist doing a reverse image search.

My hunch proved correct.

It’s a stock photo at Pexels.

Once again, I had to respond with something fun. Here’s what I emailed back:

Hi Emily,

is this you?

As you can imagine, I never heard back from “Emily”.

I guess the takeaway here is you get better outreach response rates using a photo of a model?

It obviously didn’t work with me, but it’s being used for a reason. I guess photos of models work better than a photo some dude with ketchup on his shirt in a dark basement.

This got me thinking about Fatstacks. Right now I’m using my real photo:

Jon Dykstra in 2018
Jon Dykstra, Publisher

But for fun, I also use a cartoon:

I think it’s time to improve the look.

I’ve narrowed down my new profile photo to one of the following:

Option 1: Intelligent hipster

Option 2: Buff Handsome Guy

Which one should I go with?

I won’t be offended if you pick a model. I don’t blame you, but as much as I’d love to attach my name to some uber handsome dude, I think for now I’ll stick with the real me and the cartoon.

Should you use a fake profile photo for outreach emails?

Time to weigh in on this weighty issue.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with using pen names, fake profile photos etc. for websites and/or outreach emails.

There are many good reasons to keep your real name off your sites such as:

  • You have a job and can’t be associated with a publishing business online;
  • You operate an adult site or similar and don’t wish to be publicly associated with it;
  • You have privacy concerns…

to name a few legit reasons to remain anonymous.

While outreach is less public, using a fake profile pic isn’t a big deal as long as you don’t get outted like Emily above.  But even if you get outted, it’s just one contact, so not a big deal.  I don’t think Emily or whoever it is cares.

Become a model overnight

If you’ve ever wanted to be a model and you do outreach, now is your chance.  Head to Pexels and search for “male model” or “female model” and pick your new identity.  It’s an important decision, so take your time finding the perfect “new you.”

What not to do

While I believe fake personas are fine, I wouldn’t craft fake credentials.  In other words, I have no plans to make it Dr. Dykstra.

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