For a startup, connecting with the right people can be central to your companies success. To generate some meaningful traction, it’s helpful to reach out to bloggers, founders and VC’s within your space, but that’s easier said than done. It’s often quite intimidating reaching out to these people, but there are a few ways to increase your chances of getting seen/read/heard.
How to connect with influencers
Getting in touch with influential people in your space (bloggers, journalists, VC’s, founders) is really tough, especially if you’re just starting out and haven’t built up a network yet. However, these are some techniques which will help in getting their attention.
A personal touch
Keep in mind, the people you’re reaching out to most likely receive hundreds of cold pitches every day, so you have to stand out. It’s absolutely imperative that you add a personal touch. Comment on what they’ve written about recently, a recent investment or congratulate them on launching a product. Anything that you can do to minimize the “cold” feeling is great. Check out their Facebook and/or Twitter profiles to do this. Rand Fishkin spoke about this here, and it’s definitely worth watching.
This can be tricky, but most high-profile influencers will tell you that they’re far more likely to respond to a request via a friend, colleague or even acquaintance. Go through their connections to find someone in common and try and get them to “vouch” for you that way. LinkedIn is perfect for this.
Give them an exclusive
A handy trick to get the attention of the press is to give a particular media outlet an exclusive “scoop” on your product or launch. Being first to report on the next big thing is a big honor for many tech journalists, so why not offer an exclusive. Let them know that their readers can receive some sort of “bonus” and let them get that first article out.
Get to the point
From what we’ve been told, there is nothing that turns an influencer off quicker than a long, waffling email. If you want them to invest, tell them you’re looking to open an investment round. If you want press, tell them you’re looking to create a buzz. Of course you need to be respectful and polite, but there is nothing wrong with asking for what you want. After all, you’ll never get what you don’t ask for.
What should I include in a ‘cold’ email?
Personal touch (again)
Again, try and create a personal touch. If you’ve been referred to this person by someone else, name drop them immediately!
Summarise your company and it’s goal in no more than a few sentences. You’ve heard of the ‘elevator pitch’ and this is the time to use it. If you can’t describe your company, it’s functionality and it’s goal in one or two sentences, keep working on it until you can!
Help them decide!
Help them make a decision! If you want to grab a coffee, suggest 2pm on Wednesday, don’t ask “when works for you?”. It’s much easier for them to make a snap decision if your proposal works for them. Of course you won’t always get it right, but it’s a start.
Best of luck with reaching out!