Through the years, no matter how much my goals have changed (from being an OBGYN traveling the world with doctors without borders to being a fancy executive traveling the world to meet international clients) I've always had people that I looked up to. I'm sure you do, too.
Even in this complex online world of social media marketing, exploding online brands, image + video + content creation (you catch my drift) there are people who don't even know I exist that I look up to every day. As I get older, I realize that no matter how BIG, LARGE and TOTALLY IN CHARGE someone may seem, they are human... just like the rest of us, plugging away on our computers creating things that we can share with the world.
With my new-found revelation, I decided that when I wanted to reach out to someone, I would simply... reach out to them. To my surprise, it was easier than I thought and I found that if you approach someone that you look up to very professionally and in a genuine tone, you will get a response.
Here are my top tips on crafting your cold email to influencers and leaders.
DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Before you start cold pitching people left and right, make sure you do some research to reach out to the RIGHT person that will be a good connection for you AND why you'd be a good connection for them. You can do this by paying attention to the people already in your in-person or online networks. This could be an executive at your company or an influencer who's podcast you listen to religiously.
Once you pinpoint a person, deep dive into their online presence and find out what do you have in common with them and how your goals and their life goals are aligned. Knowing these will help you get one step closer to creating a bond with that person. Think about it: When you're hanging out with a group of people, you naturally feel drawn to people that have the same goals or are moving in the same direction as you. Don't look for influencers that you will have to manufacture a relationship with simply because they're cool and successful.
KNOW YOUR ASK.
This used to be the most difficult thing for me because, let's be honest, no one wants to look all beg-ish and stuff, but the reality is you don't just want to be a "thank you for being awesome" email that's nice in the moment, but easily forgotten. You want something bigger. You want to create a real relationship, mentorship or collaboration. The way you communicate what you want is by forming a solid ask.
This can be a request to take them out for coffee because you want to learn more about their career. You can ask them to be a speaker at you upcoming event or featured on your podcast. No matter what the ask, make sure you are very clear on what you want out of the relationship and communicate that exact desire to them. Nothing is worst than getting a vugue email asking "can we collab in some way"... seriously.
DIFFERENTIATION... WHY THEM?
No matter who you'd like to connect with (not even if it's Beyonce) is the only person in their niche or doing what they do. Why do you want to reach out to this person insead of another person doing the exact same thing.
This is your opportunity to show that you actually know something about their vision and mission and you're not just spamming every successful person you could find on the interwebs.
Once you're clear on that, in comes the hardest part...
DRAFTING THE EMAIL
Here's an email that I sent out to an executive at a company, asking her to lunch.
Let's break down this email:
- Compliment. You can create a very genuine compliment to the person you're reaching out to if you are clear on what makes them unique. (Pro tip: I admire you (with no reason why) is not an acceptable compliment.)
- State your common ground. If you've properly done your research on their background, accomplishments and current pursuits, you will be able to find a common value between the two of you. Let them know you're not a random person and you have similar goals.
- Directly let them know what your ask of them. No one lines a vague ask. Influencers and leaders don't have a ton of time to guess what you want from them. Being clear makes it easier to say yes! :-)
- Be gracious... and always say Thanks!
The most important step you will take in reaching out to an influencer or leader you admire is hitting the send button on your email. #JustDoIt
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