We all have those high profile career crushes that are seemingly untouchable, but that we’d give anything to have coffee with. So, are they really that untouchable? Let’s look at how they might be more accessible than you think.
There’s a lot of good and a lot of bad that come with the digital, technological, and social media-filled world we live in today. One of the best parts? No one is actually unreachable.
Below are three different proven strategies that I’ve used to get in touch with some of my ultimate dream role models. For me, this included people like Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, Ann Shoket, former Editor-in-Chief of 17 Magazine, and Nicole Lapin, author of Rich Bitch and Boss Bitch.
Before you begin reaching out to people, it’s important to establish a foundation that you’re reaching out from. In other words, you should take the time to identify elements of your personal brand. To make it easier (and fun!), I created a personal brand style guide, which walks you through discovering what you want to convey to others so that you always put your best foot forward. It will help identify who you want to reach out to, what you want to share, and how that person will remember you.
Grab yours free below!
Once you’ve established your personal branding, you’re ready to reach!
I’m not promising the below will work for everyone, but they have worked for me. So, chose which method you like best. depending on who this person is, your letter of comfort, and your goal. Remember: you have nothing to lose.
I repeat: You have nothing to lose.
Here are my three favorite strategies for getting in touch with even the most high profile people.
Begin tweeting at your dream contact until they notice you. Yep, it’s a stalker as it sounds, but it works.
Twitter is one of the best ways to access those who seem inaccessible.
Here’s my strategy:
1- Sign up for a free account with Buffer. It’s a free service that allows you to line up tweets that it will leak for you throughout the day or week. It basically allows you to be on twitter all the time without being on twitter all the time.
2- Once you have an account, begin stalking up with content that your dream contact will notice and will like. It should be a combination of content written by him or her, quotes by him or her, articles that he or she would find interesting, and so on.
Let’s look at examples.
Example one: you’re a yoga blogger and you want to get the attention of your favorite tweeting yogi. Your week of tweets might look like this:
Monday: Tweet an article that they posted on their personal blog, including your thoughts or response to something they say. Make sure to tag them!
Tuesday: Tweet a quote that they said in an interview or a tweet. Make sure to tag them!
Wednesday: Tweet an article about the value of yoga bloggers.
Thursday: Retweet something they’ve said
Friday: Tweet an article about reasons yoga is important for young people.
This might seem like a little much, but hey, go big or go home!
People don’t get noticed by being shy. You can use your discretion to crank that up or tweet a bit less depending on the size of their twitter following and how active they are twitter. But, if you’re choosing the twitter route of networking, chances are these people are probably pretty active on twitter.
Bringing your personal brand into the mix:
While you’re crafting your tweets, refer to your personal branding guide. This is where you work with language comes in. Are your tweets funny and witty? Serious and grammatically perfect (even on twitter)? When you write tweets, are they writing with the intents you previously outlined of how you want to make people feel?
You might think “jeez, they’re just tweets!” Still, they are part of your personal brand and in this instance, they are your networking to your biggest role model! Also keep in mind that though you might be tweeting to one specific person you look up to, you’re likely going to attract the attention of other influencers in that niche. So, be on your brand game!
Pro twitter tip:
Feature a photo in your tweet. It has a much higher chance getting noticed on twitter.
Let’s compare a tweet with a photo and without:
Eventually, they will notice you. This could take time and patience, but all good things in this life do. The day that you receive that tweet from the or shout out will make it all worth it.
But don’t stop that then! That’s just the beginning. Next, I recommend going to idea #2, below…
2- Good old cold e-mail
This is my personal favorite way to network with high profile people. I’ve had staggering success with it and it’s the way that I’ve been able to actually create relationships more than any other. But, it also requires the most attention to your personal brand and the most bravery!
First off, let’s establish one thing: there’s almost no one whose email isn’t somewhere in the interwebs. It might take some digging, but you can find pretty much anyone’s email address.
Here’s how to find the email of high profile people:
Sign up for their newsletter.
Nowadays, a lot of thought leaders and influencers have their own websites and their own newsletter as a result. It’s definitely in their interest to keep in touch with their fans. So, sign up for their newsletter and figure out where those are being sent from. If it’s from their assistant or from an info@ email, don’t let that stop you. You can either ask them directly for their bosses’ email for a fan note, or you can do what I’ve done, and “unknowingly” written an email to the assistant’s email as if it was to my dream contact, make it juicy and personal, and the person will likely forward it their way. It’s embarrassing yet effective. 🙂
Here’s the super sleuthing way:
If you your dream contact’s email is nowhere to be found, then use this spreadsheet, which generates likely email addresses based on a person’s name and company. To use the spreadsheet, first hit “file” → “make a copy”. Then, fill out the information on the top, including the person’s first name, last name, and domain (typically their company’s website). For instance, if I was your dream contact (flattered!), you enter it like this:
Then, look to the right and see all the options it gives you. It’ll look like this:
Sure enough, the first email listed there is the very email address I’m sending you this from!
Now that you have a list of potential emails, go to http://rapportive.com/ and install the plugin into your Google Chrome. This plugin detects whether email addresses are valid or not when you enter them into a Gmail message. So, yes, it’s tedious, but if you copy and paste all of the email address the spreadsheet generated for you into your Gmail “to” form, Rapportive will tell you which email address is valid and then BAM, you’ve got your email address.
Good work, buddy! Getting the email address can be the hardest part. Now, what do we do with it?
3- A handwritten thank you card
This method of outreach was actually taught to me by my boyfriend, and I totally love it. It’s so personal and unique; you’re bound to stand out by doing this!
The method is simple. You’re going to write a thank you note by hand to the person you want to connect with, thanking them for all they’ve done for you and others that they’ve inspired. Be generous, humble, and include your own story of how they’ve influenced you in there. Don’t be vague saying the “are inspiring and help a lot of people”. How do they help YOU? What difference have they made in YOUR life?
As with cold emails, offer how you can help! Let me know that you would love to meet them if you’re ever in the same location (this might be easier for some depending on where you live. I live in New York so people are here frequently if they don’t already live here).
Bringing your personal brand into the mix
Send your card on personalized stationery.
This is a fun one! Take those colors you identified with and your adjectives and design your own stationary/ thank you cards. Make sure they include at least some of the colors that are part of your personal brand, and you can decide which font to use based on your adjectives. For instance, if you want to evoke feelings of light-heartedness and familiarity, you might use a fun, curvy font. If you want to come across as more serious and official, you might consider something closer to Times New Roman.
If you’re feeling the creativity here, get business cards that match! Same fonts, same colors, same phrases and information. Look at you, you branding champion! Pop one of those babies into that card, too.
Include your personal website.
Include a way they can reach you.
Ideally, this will be an email address that has your personal website as the domain. For me, it’d be firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read my tutorial on how to set that up here.
Tell me how it goes!
Have you tried any of these networking methods? Let me know what your favorite way to reach out is!