How TO Influence Me

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On Monday, I complained about a crappy, impersonal pitch I received. It’s been a while since I’ve done that. Danny Brown chided me for it, and said I had just mentioned in my newsletter that it’s important not to point at the mess, but to point at the solution. For penance, here’s some ideas for yesterday’s pitcher, and maybe you.

How to Influence Me

I’m Human – As best as you can, use my name. Sometimes I have to send out mass messages, and if I can’t use software like Blue Sky Factory to put the first name in neatly for me, then I do this one thing: I put the person’s name at the start and/or a line or 3 that shows I’m personally sending the message to that one person. I receive at least a dozen emails a day like this, and I appreciate the personal touch.

Be Brief – Okay, you CAN put everything in one big email, but if you do that, could you make the first few paragraphs a very brief summary? Maybe a bullet or 3, or a numbered list or two. (Monday’s email was brief, for sure. In that case, he might have included a URL for me to learn more).

Target it Even a Little Bit – If you’re asking me to join your influencer group, maybe decide whether or not I’m the right fit. I’m going to say that the pitch from Monday was close enough. I’ve written about consumer beverages before, so that’s fine. I also got five other requests that were for things I’m not remotely related to, or have any influence over. If you’re looking for me to influence, that might be a point to think about.

Don’t Let the Numbers Fool You – Charles Best from DonorsChoose.org gave the best presentation at the 2009 New Comm Forum, wherein which he talked about the “Oprah Effect,” and how a woman with 1000 very passionate readers in her blog community outperformed a popular tech blog with two million daily readers in a simple request for help. Never ever ever look at my numbers first. Never. Never look at anyone’s numbers first. Decide whether the community responds and interacts (some ways to do this are technorati ranking, comments per post, overall traffic vs comments as %), and then determine if you’ve got an influencer. For instance, I think Dadomatic.com is influential to parents, even if there are only a few hundred daily readers.

Be There Before the Sale

There are many people I know and support in this space. I love talking with marketers and pr professionals and other people passionate about how these tools empower communications. If you and I have some kind of passing relationship before you pitch me, I promise you it’ll go much better than when you cold call me. Does this scale? No. (No no no no no no no.) Is it the better way to do it? Yes. You decide whether you want to eschew this advice, but there’s a price to cold calling.

Remember We all Have Megaphones

If you (or if I) do something you don’t like, we’re now the broadcaster. We have the tools to complain, and we use them. Sometimes, we do it to illustrate. Other times, we’re just being human and frustrated. But this isn’t a warning: it’s notice that your attempt has to be considered, because we might not just delete it.

I Could Be Wrong

You’re going to tell me that you have to get the word out, that you don’t have time to talk with everyone individually. You’re going to say that it’s a junior person, and that it’s not something worth giving a lot of attention to in the long run.

Bull.

Sam Lawrence is launching a company Wednesday. He reached out to me directly. He has LOTS of people to contact. This should be something easy to give to someone junior. Do you think Sam wants his message handed to me in a way that might set me off? Do you think Sam thinks this isn’t important to how I perceive him?

We vote with our actions, people. Maybe I was too negative in writing a griping post about this low end annoyance. And yet, to me? How we treat each other, as best as we can, is all we have right now. Attention and trust come from relationships.

How are you building yours?

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