Around my office, I’m known as something of a “closer.” Just kidding. No one calls me that. But I am totally the person to talk to when you need a cold pitch reach out done, and you need a response. I’ll share my bulletproof process:
1. What is the Purpose of the Cold Pitch? Why Do You Want to Talk to Them?
Figuring out your goal is the first (and most important) step for a couple of reasons. First, a clear goal lights a fire under your butt. If you’re writing a cold pitch email to ask someone for an interview that could make your site go viral, then you’re going to want to write a better email.
Also, you’re going to need to remember to follow up, which is on this list, too.
2. Why Do They Want to Talk to You?
Sure, some people are going to talk to you just because they’re nice, friendly people (or because they don’t have anything else to do). But other people are busy, and those people need to know what’s in it for them if they take some time out of their day that they might otherwise use for making money, getting their hair done, or just relaxing.
If you’re trying to partner with them for a series of product reviews for your blog, for example, let them in on why being featured on your site is a great opportunity. And think about timing. Are they in the middle of a PR push? Then reach out, and offer to interview them about their project.
3. Press Send
Is this obvious? Sure. But it’s also one of the hardest steps on the list. Most people have a touch of email anxiety, so they’re tempted to re-read and tweak an email all day long. This isn’t a good use of your time, and really, if you followed steps one and two, your email is already fine. Any writing could always be made better, but save your attempts at perfect prose for another time.
4. Follow Up
And then follow up again.
And maybe even again if that’s what it takes.
Here is my tried-and-true method to make sure I never forget a follow up to a cold pitch (I talked about this trick in this podcast, too!): Immediately after you email someone, pull out your calendar or planner of choice, then flip one week ahead and write (or type) a follow-up reminder.
If they respond before then, great! Just cross it off your list. If they don’t, send a follow-up email and then flip one week ahead in your planner and repeat. This trick also came in clutch when I was corresponding with someone who was in the middle of opening a new shop when I reached out initially, so they asked if I could follow up in a month or so (in all honesty, they were probably hoping I’d forget and just go away. Ha!). I opened my planner, flipped to that month, and wrote in that reminder. And sure enough, it worked.
5. Try Another Email
Sometimes you’ve done everything right, but you still can’t get through. Do you have another email address for the company or person you’re trying to reach? Maybe you’ve been emailing email@example.com, but they also have a firstname.lastname@example.org address. Try that one, too!
Or maybe you’re emailing email@example.com, but you also have an email for firstname.lastname@example.org. Hit up Karen, and ask her the question instead! Or, if you have to talk to Sarah, politely ask Karen if she could follow up with Sarah for you.
6. Go Off-Script
This is probably my favorite tactic to get in touch with people when nothing is working: hit them up on social. Whether it’s a public reach out or a private message, social media is a much more immediate way to contact someone than email.
If you prefer a less direct approach, you can also tackle this more subtly. For example, once a day, go follow the company or person on a social media platform. Facebook on Monday, Twitter on Tuesday, Pinterest on Wednesday, and so forth. That gets your name consistently front-and-center, so the next time you send an email, they recognize your name, and know that you’re not just another random email in their sea of emails.
Meleah is the editor (and occasional writer) of Earn Spend Live, on a mission to turn intimidating finance subjects into interesting, easy-to-read content. She’s an avid TV consumer and a huge fan of dogs (especially hers).
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