How to Get an Influencer’s Attention

Influence is everywhere, but it’s up to you to spot it. As information flow is infinite, many find that it is of utmost importance to capture the attention of the select few who serve as influencers — these are the people who can actually stop their followers in their tracks to help spread your message. Perhaps this might serve as the start of a real relationship. If nothing else, these influencers will help to share your story with their own audience.

I contacted a number of influencers to see what grabs their attention. I selected influencers in all different “walks of life” and areas of influence, from the blogosphere to the power users of Digg to founders of successful startups and authors of bestselling books. The question I asked, simply, was “how do you recommend people grab your attention?” The question was purposely left open-ended; I wasn’t necessarily seeking out attention in the form of a product pitch, despite the fact that many of those asked are prominent bloggers. As such, the responses are varied — just the way I wanted it. Here’s what they told me:

Craig Newmark

Craig Newmark is the San Francisco-based founder of the nearly 15-year-old extremely successful classifieds site Craigslist. As of January 2010, Craigslist boasts close to 50 million unique visitors per month, according to Compete.

For me, it’s just asking, via email, Twitter, or Facebook.

Seth Godin

Seth Godin is the bestselling author of numerous books, including his latest, Linchpin. He also writes for the most popular marketing blog, is the founder of Squidoo, and is an extremely dynamic public speaker.

PR people shouldn’t try to get my attention.

Readers with something to say should email me.

Marketers should make great products that loyal readers or long-time friends or trusted colleagues choose to tell me about!

Pete Cashmore

Pete is the twenty-something founder and CEO of Mashable and is also a CNN columnist. Mashable currently boasts over 20 million pageviews per month.

I think keeping it short and to the point is most likely to get a response — having a clear message or request that gets the idea across in a couple sentences. Everybody is short on time these days, and the more succinctly you can express yourself, the better.

Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder is a co-editor of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE Magazine.

It’s simple: talk or write about things that interest me!

Nicholas Carlson

Nicholas Carlson is a Senior Editor at The Business Insider. Previously, Nich wrote for Valleywag and InternetNews.com.

People can get my attention by helping me. For example, I write a lot about AOL, and after the recent layoffs, I wrote how the entire mobile advertising team took a voluntary buyout and quit the company. Now, a couple weeks later, a PR rep came to me and said, hey a lot of those people are joining this one company (that I rep), would you like to learn more? Because I know that my readers care about that story, I jumped on it so now this PR rep is going to get her company coverage because she approached me in a way that will help me.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus is the Senior Contributing Editor of highly popular gadget blog Gizmodo.

Read what I write about and imagine what can interest me. No amount of pitching will make me write something unless it excites my gonads.

Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan is a blogger and president of New Marketing Labs. He is also the author of Trust Agents and Social Media 101.

The way people get my attention is simple, and yet so few do it well. They start by telling me all about what they need from me. They start by telling me all about their wants, their angles, their client, etc. By contrast, the people who get my time, and who keep my time, actually have read my blog enough to know what I cover and what I don’t. (For instance, I rarely talk about software.) They know that I look for the “human business” angle for most of my stories. They know that I actually care about my community and that they’re not an audience. They understand brevity. And they understand that promoting others is every bit as important as promoting themselves.

Adam Pash

Adam Pash is the Editor-in-Chief of the highly popular blog, Lifehacker. He has also authored How to Do Everything With Your iPhone.

It’s about a lot of dos and don’ts for me.

  • Don’t send me what’s clearly a form note.
  • Do be direct.
  • Don’t try impress me with your funding or whatever industry related things you think you do really well. My eyes glaze over at the site of industry jargon.
  • Do make it easy for me to understand what your thing does, and what’s interesting or awesome about it (and do it as quickly as possible).
  • Don’t make me read a press release to figure out what’s special about whatever you’re trying to highlight.
  • …and so on.

Honestly, the best way to get my attention is to make something cool and show it to me. I love talking with developers about things they’re clearly and genuinely passionate about.

David Chen

David Chen is currently the Managing Editor of /Film and the host and producer of both /Filmcast and The Toblowsky Files.

Do your research and select your targets smartly. I’m a content/podcast producer, so I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours talking and writing about the types of movies (and other products) I love. You don’t need to listen or read all of my work to get a taste of my personality, but if you put in just  a little bit of effort, you can easily figure out what types of things I’m likely to enjoy and eager to promote. In other words, blast e-mails and form letters with no personalization will usually go ignored.

Robert Scoble

Robert Scoble is a prolific early adopter and blogger. He currently serves as the community guy at Building 43.

Do something interesting.

OK, that’s a lame answer.

But to get my attention you should look at what’s getting my engagement at http://twitter.com/scobleizer and the other places I write.

To tell the truth, this is difficult to say in an email. Why? Because, well, if you have something worth paying attention to you probably already have my attention.

Jason Calacanis

Jason Calacanis is the founder and CEO of Mahalo. He also co-founded Weblogs Inc. and the Silicon Alley Reporter. Jason is also the host of This Week in Startups.

Do something epic.

Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts is a blogger and Principal Engineer at Google, where he heads Google’s Webspam team.

I think it’s sometimes overused to call someone out by name; it can backfire. An introduction from a trusted contact can make a big difference. Getting to know the person first without asking for something (e.g. tweeting stuff back and forth without a specific “ask” in the beginning). I would say great research or a catchy piece of unexpected data that appeals to me. And of course a snail mail letter is likely to at least get opened.

Peter Rojas and Ryan Block

Peter Rojas and Ryan Block are the founders of gdgt. Both come from popular gadget blog Engadget, where Peter was founder and Ryan was former editor-in-chief. Peter is also the founder of Gizmodo, Joystiq, hackaday, and Engadget Mobile.

Peter: That’s easy: just do something interesting!
Ryan: …and keep doing it. I’d say being consistent and tireless amounts every bit as much as doing something interesting or worthwhile.

Danny Sullivan

Danny Sullivan is the Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Land. He also founded Search Engine Watch. Danny is currently Chief Content Officer of Third Door Media which operates the Sphinn social news site and organizes the popular Search Marketing Expo conference series.

I guess it depends on the attention they’re after. If they’re writing about something and trying to spread the word, I can be reached through email using a form on Search Engine Land, plus I do see tweets that are addressed to me. If it’s interesting, I love to spread the word. Point me at so-so, ho-hum content, and you’ve wasted a first impression. If they’re after coverage, email remains best. Be to the point, succinct, and that’s the best.

Anita Campbell

Anita Campbell is the Editor of Small Business Trends and an expert in everything small business.

Participate in my site’s community. Leave comments; tweet “with” me; share information that is valuable to readers (not self-promotional stuff, but something that gives freely of your expertise to others).

Also, while I appreciate requests to do guest posts, I strongly prefer those who have shown a propensity to contribute to the community on an ongoing basis. “Hit and run” guest posts are of little interest to us, for two reasons: (1) there’s a certain amount of work involved in getting someone set up as a new author and showing them the ropes; and (2) the community responds much much better to those they get to know and converse with regularly.

Louis Gray

Louis Gray is a prominent technology blogger and Managing Director of New Media at Paladin Advisors Group.

People can get my attention an a lot of different ways. The easiest way is interacting with me in my data flow. That means making comments on my blog posts, interacting with me on FriendFeed or Google Buzz, and sending me notices on Twitter. I will see all of those, every time. But I also have my e-mail addresses public and cell phone number on the Web site. People reaching out to me in those ways will also get me.

If the question is not just connection but actual attention, they need to find a way to be differentiated and interesting – helping to solve a known problem, or finding a new approach that has entertainment value. I am always interested in hearing about new approaches to solve today’s issues around information overload, content discovery or new ways to discover interesting people.

Brian Lam

Brian Lam is the Assistant Managing Director at Gawker Media and Editorial Director at Gizmodo.

Make noise, but backed up by fact!

Andrew Sorcini

Andrew Sorcini is also known as Mr. Baby Man and is Digg’s #1 User. Andy has submitted nearly 15,000 stories to Digg and over 4200 of his submissions have hit the front page of the impossible-to-game social news site.

First and foremost, show me something original.

Steve Gebhardt

Steve Gebhardt is the Content Editor of the COED Magazine, one of the fastest growing online publishers in the 18-24 year old market.

When it comes to work related instances the best way to get my attention is to be introduced formally by a close contact we have in common or email me at my “personal” work gmail account with a subject line that includes my name and something that I find interesting.

Steve Rubel

Steve Rubel is a prominent marketing blogger and SVP of Edelman Digital. He also contributes to Forbes and AdAge.

Basically, it’s really easy – provide high value content that’s targeted to my interests and those of my internal Edelman and external audiences. They can use any channel they would like – email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. (just not IM or the phone). I am very accessible.

This doesn’t necessarily mean pitch me, however. There are lots of people and companies that have secured my attention because they provide regular value. One example is Mint and the insights they offer via their blog. Another is Google, which is putting out gems on their Twitter feed – like this http://twitter.com/Googletech/status/10184907622

Kurt Kohlstedt

Kurt Kohlstedt is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Webist Publishing & Misnamed Media, which includes the famous WebUrbanist blog.

Offer me something of value to me – no, it does not have to be money, or free samples, or anything of that sort. This can be as simple as some sincere praise for a project I work on or a truly interesting tip on something I would really enjoy learning more about. The key here is: make it relevant and personal – let me know through your words that you have actually read about me or a publication of mine, and explain briefly (ideally with real examples) why you believe you have good reason to reach out and contact me.

Alternatively, if you would prefer negative attention and a quick trip to the email recycling bin, send me a link to something that you did that has no relevance to anything I do, ask for support with a clearly commercial venture in which I have no professional or personal interest, or my personal favorite: ask to swap links with one of my publications and offer a link from an obscure page of your e-commerce site in return. The last is most likely to get you a response, though not of the sort you want.

Dharmesh Shah

Dharmesh Shah is the founder and CTO of HubSpot, a software company that focuses on Internet Marketing. Dharmesh also blogs at OnStartups.com.

To get my attention you have to do one of two things: Create something that is so amazingly awesome that all who regard it are amazed with its brilliance. Or, another alternative is to connect to someone I know and trust and have them tell my this is so great.

Note: I rarely take direct messages from people I don’t know.

Owen Thomas

Owen Thomas is the online editorial director for NBC Bay Area executive editor of VentureBeat and founder of Ditherati an on-off again site that has been around since 1997. He has previously written for Valleywag and brought it to its greatness.

You know, I think I’m going to refer back to Louis Rossetto’s original instructions to people who wanted to write for Wired:

http://valleywag.gawker.com/333152/the-ultimate-luxury-is-meaning-and–chocolate

“Amaze us.”

Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin is a former attorney turned blogger and author of The Happiness Project among other books.

People most get my attention, I have to admit, if they come to me through someone else I already know and trust.

Marshall Kirkpatrick

Marshall Kirkpatrick is the Vice President of Content Development at ReadWriteWeb and a technology consultant.

I recommend people do fantastic things, then reach out to me through whatever channel works best for them. Maybe more than once. I am generally looking for engineers more than marketers though, so if I don’t respond to you it might be that our definitions of fantastic are different.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is the personality behind Wine Library TV, author of Crush It!, and a dynamic speaker.

Tweet about the NY Jets :)

Also write an honest email … and the biggest mistake everyone makes is the ask or sell instead or greet or welcome in their 1st interaction.

Ben Huh

As CEO of Pet Holdings Inc., Ben Huh is the mastermind behind sites like I Can Has Cheezburger? and FAIL Blog

Speak your mind freely and clearly. Provide a perspective that isn’t usually offered. Then take other people’s opinions with a grain of salt and an open mind. And do it often.

Aaron Wall

Aaron Wall is a search engine optimization expert and is the founder of the very famous SEO Book ebook-turned-training program.

I think too many people are sales all the time. Everything is about them and how much they can sell and how great they are and so on. Lots of jerks want to put you on a sales call or try to hype their trash to you without giving you anything for your efforts. In their eyes you are simply a conduit for their misinformation and sales materials.

I typically tell those kinds of people that they can go to hell or that they can buy an advertisement or an hour of consulting. Since they are typically greedy one-sided pieces of trash they get nothing and they help me pigeonhole their product as something to never talk about (if it was worthy of discussion they wouldn’t need that sorta hard sell strategy). In essence they are doing anti-marketing for themselves by pissing off the people they want to connect with.

You know what is easy and works well? No hype. No sales pitch. None of that crap. Simply give a person a 3 or 4 sentence email explaining

  • what it is & does
  • why it was created
  • how it can benefit them

and then…if it is something where incremental access costs next to nothing (like a SAAS offering) then give them a free account to check it out. SEM Rush did that to us…and I have promoted them aggressively (even before they had an affiliate program) because their service was valuable and useful and original and they priced it reasonably while using soft sell marketing asking for me to check it out and setting up an account for me.

Even if an item costs $50 or $100, that is how much a crappy link costs…so the product give away strategy should apply to just about anything which retails under something like $500… because if you get exposure on one good site that makes it easier to get exposure on another good site, and the more expensive the item is the more likely people would be to appreciate that you gave it away and mention it.

Other ways to get attention are to buy ads in some well read spots, participate in the target market in a meaningful way for a while before you launch, and/or to develop an affiliate program. Some people also like to start out a non-commercial website and then later slowly transition into commerce. If you build a media channel of your own with readership and throw off attention + links, then that can lead to relationships which make it easier for you to promote something. This is one of the reasons group interviews and such are so popular…they allow you to select the people you hope to gain attention from WHILE giving those people a reason to want to talk about you. :)

Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy Schoemaker, aka Shoemoney, is a blogger and founder of Shoemoney Media. He is also the co-founder of AuctionAds.

The best way to get my attention is to get right to the point of the email. Don’t patronize me, don’t ask me to honor your embargo, don’t ask me if I would be interested in your product — just tell me what you want.

Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is founder of b5media and ProBlogger.net. He is also the co-author of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six Figure Income and one of the cofounders of Third Tribe.

A few quick thoughts:

  • Be personal – impersonal ‘pitch’ emails are a turnoff.
  • Be useful – whether its being useful to my network/readers, business, me personally or just the world in general – I tend to pay attention to people who are solving problems and meeting needs.
  • Introduce yourself – I get a lot of emails and don’t always remember everyone I’ve talked to before – help me out a little :-) Being ‘polite’ goes a long way too.
  • Keep it brief – the longer the initial contact the less likely it is that I’ll get to the bottom of it – unless it’s VERY compelling
  • Let the Relationship Evolve – I’ve had quite a few people ‘pitch’ me on really big and complex stuff in a first email to me (including people wanting to go into business together). I tend to be pretty cautious with people I don’t know – I need time to warm up to bigger stuff!

I’m not as high maintenance as that sounds – but I’ve had ALOT of bad ‘pitches’ over the years :)

More on this type of topic – http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/10/30/how-to-pitch-to-bloggers-21-tips/

Jay White

Jay White is a blogger at Dumb Little Man, a successful productivity blog.

My attention span is short, like a dog. The best way to communicate with me is in short bursts of information. Your Value, Intent, and the Desired Result need to be conveyed for both of us: If you can summarize those in 2 sentences, odds are you will get a response from me. If you notice, things like name, credentials, work experience, where you’ve guest blogged, etc., are not on the list. You know why? Because it doesn’t matter. I know plenty of MBAs successful entrepreneurs, and downright blowhards and many of them aren’t bright so a paper trail of “I am great” doesn’t cut it with me.

To me, the value you bring to the conversation speaks for itself. You tell me how my audience gets smarter or lives a better life by knowing you, now you’ve got my attention.

Corvida Raven

Corvida Raven is the author of SheGeeks.net, and co-producer of EverythingTwitter and TheSocialGeeks Podcast. Her passion for Technology and Social Media has made her one of the most Influential Women in Technology (FastCompany, 2009).

The easiest way to get my attention is to be excited about what you’re showing me. If you don’t care about it, no one will. So many people lack passion and enthusiasm for the things they do.

It leaves me wondering why I should be paying attention. Their presentation should say it all, otherwise we’re wasting time.

Mark O’Neill

Mark O’Neill is a freelance writer who serves as the managing and publishing editor of successful software blog MakeUseOf.

How would I recommend people get my attention? If you mean if they want to promote their product, I would immediately say “get to the point and keep it simple”. People spend so long waffling and rambling, and all I’m thinking is “when are they actually going to get to the point?”. They spend so long saying how great their product is but I still don’t know what the product actually is!! I’ve read so many bad email press releases.

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is a blogger, photographer, and principal of FutureWorks. He is also the author of a brand new book, Engage and co-author of Putting the Public Back in Public Relations.

Interesting phrasing of this question…I assume that by responding, I consider myself an “influencer.” It’s easier to say that, like anyone living and breathing new media these days, my attention span is testing its elasticity. Truthfully, it’s a difficult question to answer. Cleverness, wit, tenacity, and most importantly relevance are the ingredients for assembling a plan for attracting my attention. It’s important to connect with me where I’m actively engaging…when I’m present. Make it easy for me to digest, providing the value and the action up front…prompt me to respond or ask for more information…turn it into a dialogue.

Tara Hunt

Tara Hunt is an entrepreneur, speaker and author of The Whuffie Factor, among many other things.

How would people get my attention? I guess I’d say to build relationships far before you need to get anyone’s attention. Do good, positive things for the community. Help me out when I ask questions from time to time. Interact positively in lively discussions and debates. Then, when you need to get anyone’s attention, it doesn’t feel like an imposition or spammy. It just feels like you are calling in a favor from friends. :)

Vitaly Friedman

Vitaly Friedman is a web designer, author, and editor-in-chief of popular web design blog Smashing Magazine.

Be short, be precise and convince me. Instead of explaining features, tell me what makes you or your product different, what’s unique about it and what advantages it has.

My own advice

Do it more than once. I get a lot of messages directed at me. I am more inclined to notice people when they tweet at me again and again. (I respond to emails pretty quickly, so you don’t need to email me more than once. Of course, pitches that you send that are off-topic normally won’t get a response.)

Not too long ago, I asked my Twitter followers for a service provider. One person who caught my attention through repeated exposure stood up and offered herself. I was excited about meeting her and told her that I was giving her preference explicitly because she made the effort to catch my eye. She was the epitome of this example! (I was pretty bummed when she proved not to be reliable, but I did reach out to her first.)

Today, I look at a few things. I look at effort put forth in comments. I look at tweets. I look at engagement. I look at what looks like a solid personalized effort versus just a blast. Show me you’ve put the time into it and you’ll be acknowledged.

If you’ve elected to email me, make the email short and sweet. Brevity is all the rage these days simply because there is so much noise vying for my attention. Make your pitches succinct. I don’t care who you are or what brought you where you are today. I might be interested in your life history at a later date. For now, if you want me to know about your service or a cool startup, try to use the Twitter format: tell me in 140 characters words or less.

Summary

It’s pretty obvious, then, that there are some underlying themes behind the responses I’ve received. If you’re reaching out, keep it short and sweet. Submit content that jives with the recipient. Get to know the influencer’s influencers. Be a purple cow. Immerse yourself visibly in the influencer’s community. Put effort into the outreach attempt and make it obvious that you are passionate about it.

Yes, this is a process, but hey, do you see all those influencers up there? You’ve gotten the secret sauce. It’s now up to you to heed to the advice given and make a real splash.

Disclosures and Credits: Affiliate links are added to all the book links, but I recommend them wholeheartedly. Photo credits: Jesus Diaz by Diana Levine, Brian Lam by Brian Solis and Wired, Pete Cashmore by Lisa Bettany, Brian Solis by Brian Solis, Anita Campbell from a UPS video, and others that have been so frequently distributed online that I do not know the source. Know the photographer or source? Let me know so I can update this section. :) (Note: Non-collage photos of Aaron Wall, Ben Huh, Gary Vaynerchuk, Marshall Kirkpatrick, Jeremy Schoemaker, Danny Sullivan, Robert Scoble, Nicholas Carlson, Chris Brogan, Matt Cutts, Louis Gray, Adam Pash, Owen Thomas, Darren Rowse, and Jason Calacanis were all taken by me.)

243 Comments

  • Tim Ho says:

    Very valuable article!
    Thanks for putting this together, I MUST circulate this within my PR team.

    Tim

  • greg schulz says:

    Great read Tamar, something that others particular those pitching a story, idea, looking for coverage, exposure and so forth should also have a quick glance at.

    There are many different types of influencers ( see http://storageioblog.com/?p=1145 ) out there today that have various audiences or focus (some old school, some new school, some are hybrid) thus finding and leveraging them becomes interesting and important.

    I especially like and concur with your note about engage, that is, instead of spamming with tweets or email, shift to establishing a dialogue.

    Probably like yourself, I get hit with lots of canned email spam pitches that do not get to the point quickly of a) what the message is, b) what they are looking for, c) who they are looking for or trying to reach among others.

    Instead of the canned email notes, make them short and to the point of what you are looking for, need help with, or perhaps be direct and say you need a favor if that is the case.

    Again, nice post.

    Cheers gs
    @storageio

  • Arnie Kuenn says:

    Tamar, what a great idea for an article. Valuable info for those who reach out to “influencers” or almost anyone in any industry. Thanks for putting together and sharing. (Rand would be proud of the link magnet aspect too.)

  • Hello Tamar,

    It obviously took a lot of time and effort on your part as well as the participants to create this article. Well done, and thank you!

    Hope mommy and baby are doing great!

    -Brian

    • Oh it did, but it was totally worth it. And FWIW, I tried to get more women to represent, but I guess they felt that they were too cool for this blog post. ;)

      Thanks Brian – mommy and baby are doing fantastic!

      • Kelby Carr says:

        This is a great post, and there is some wonderful advice here. What a shame more women didn’t step up!

      • Lara Solomon says:

        Hi Tamar,

        My first reaction was where are all the women. It is really disappointing that they are not put forward, especially when you consider the number of women using social media.

        Loved the article, my question to you is how did you get the contributors to contribute, since it is a bit chicken before the egg, as in how to get their attention to ask about how to get their attention…

        Also if you ever need women to ask in future I am happy to help, although I am as yet not quite up there with the people you have interviewed I will be soon :) – I find positive thinking works well for me, as does thinking of people as humans…

        • Lara – thank you!

          As far as most of these guys, I actually have had a working relationship with many. As a Lifehacker contributor in 2007-2008, I was with Gawker Media for 14 months, so that connected me with many of the top bloggers. I currently work for Mashable so that definitely helps things.

          Others are people I’ve simply met over the years at conferences and events. Real life networking ultimately becomes key!

  • Sebastian says:

    Great post Tamar! Please don’t leak it to the spamming crowd ;-)

    • LOL, if they do spam, well, then the influencers are going to start filtering more heavily and won’t be receptive to this stuff ;) At least I know I’ll change.

  • C.C. Chapman says:

    A top notch list of advice for anyone. Thanks for pulling it all together. I’m sharing this with my class tonight to showcase what I’ve been telling them about impersonal e-mail blasts NOT working.

  • Terri Vernon says:

    How to get an influencer’s attention? Well, the best way is to write a blog post about getting an influencer’s attention which requires you to interview aforementioned influencers.

  • Gil Reich says:

    Great post, both for the general ideas and for the specific preferences of these people. One thing missing IMO: I bet if people were responding anonymously and completely truthfully they’d admit that one of the most effective ways is to serve the Influencer’s interests. I’m betting Sebastian got your attention when he Sphunn your story, and then Tweeted it. I think it’s usually the first rule, especially in Social Media. If you want somebody’s attention, find a way to give them something they want.

  • This is a must-read for all people in social media and PR. Most of the advice here is amazingly simple, but many “communications professionals” are painfully unskilled at outreach and communication.

    Keep it simple, have some empathy for how much e-mail and status traffic these people get, and treat others like you’d want to be treated!

  • Phyllis says:

    Tamar,
    This is an absolute goldmine of information. I love that the common thread from this diverse group is engagement and community. It really does go back to relationships and the always relevant “do unto others” doesn’t it?
    Makes my day! Thanks for such a great collection of wisdom!
    Phyllis

    • I think people forget about empathy through typed words. Don’t! If you want to make an impact, show that you care about who you’re talking to. Thanks Phyllis :)

  • Great read & great job getting responses from top influencers.

    No huge surprises in the influencer responses, though it is great to “see it” straight from the horse’s mouth. Like Brett mentioned, it is amazing how many “communications professionals” don’t get it. I recommend PR companies hire more people with editorial backgrounds who have been pitched to enough times to understand what works.

    • Yup – that’s why I occasionally do blogger outreach. With the zillions of pitches I get a day (and I don’t even handle much editorial anymore), gah, some of this stuff really freaks me out. Today, some moron even pitched me in a comment. Um, no! Thanks Dustin :)

  • Gabi says:

    Loving this by Marshall “if I don’t respond to you it might be that our definitions of fantastic are different”

    • Totally — I’ve gotten some pretty decent pitches, but if they don’t make me feel excited (and definitely don’t feel relevant to me), it’s not going to happen. Thanks Gabi :)

  • Sam Gronner says:

    Your post is an excellent primer to help explain to my very traditional clients that the PR profession is being redefined along with traditional media, and that tactics that worked just a few years ago are no longer valid. Expectations to get “coverage” in major media are still high, but the old “press release” tactic is so woefully outdated. Your post helps explain why, and for that I thank you.

  • So many peddle influence as a black art. You have removed the invisibility cloak by collecting and publishing facts on this important subject. We all want things to happen quickly. The reality is that changing human behavior (the essence of influence) takes time, effort and consistency. Thanks for the research, Tamar.

    • Thank you Bill. I’ve always preached that if you do outreach, it needs to look like you’re putting effort! Half-assed might work in traditional PR for traditional media outlets, but guess what, in just a few years, it won’t work at all anymore!

  • Great idea for a post, Tamar! Extremely enlightening. It’s one of those questions some of us would be too intimidated to ask.

  • Excellent post, thanks Tamar!

  • Excellent post… Thanks!

  • Matt Hixson says:

    I have been thinking a lot about influencers and I really would question the point of who is an influencer. Some of the people you list here have a ton of followers and lots of people try and get their attention. Lots of people listen to them so I guess that makes them an influencer? To me some of these are really just an amplifier. The approach to a thought leader vs an amplifier are 2 different things. I think that you really have to understand who these people are and what they are after to really understand how to engage them.

    • Hi Matt, thanks for commenting. :)

      I think that’s a good point. I also think that it depends on what you’re after. A lot of these people are bloggers who have a substantial audience of millions of people at their disposal. Consider this post the “new media” approach (because I specifically did not reach out to traditional media for this inquiry — in fact, I bet I’d get no response by most if I bothered. One thing I like about the “new media” age is that these influencers/amplifiers/whatever you want to call them are approachable. That’s a golden thing). In any event, I think that by having an audience in the hundreds of thousands to millions, they ARE considered influencers AND amplifiers. (On the other hand, I asked a friend of mine who his favorite influencers are and he said “my dad.” That’s a good point… but his dad doesn’t have the audience, so he’s not both.)

  • Derek Edmond says:

    Wow! Kudos on a phenomenal post (and very timely for me personally). I was just talking to a group about how social media can be a great tool for connecting with all types of people (influential or not) and help form a relationship that can be further developed down the road. Great to see the different perspectives related to this topic from so many talented individuals out there.

  • Hmm.. I was looking for an article like this! Came in very handy! Excellent post Tamar! Impressed :)

  • Edmee Roche says:

    Thank you Tamar…this must have taken so much time to compile! I’m surprised more women did not want to participate. Even applies to communication in general…what is the most effective way to reach out to people, interrelate and build a connection as suggested by the top influencers. So appreciate the post!

    • Yes, it took time, and then it took more time, and then I kept having to edit that collage I made earlier to ensure everyone was included. :)

      I’m actually disappointed that the women I reached out to weren’t interested. One had a good reason — she didn’t want to be considered an influencer anymore (because she interpreted this as a PR pitch type of article like many others who responded). Personally, I didn’t want them to see it that way; I reached out to her and Craig Newmark for the same reasons. People listen to them, whether or not they necessarily do blogging or reporting. If they responded, though, they’d be opening themselves up to press inquiries, so I respect her decision to decline (she was the only one).

      I reached out to other women as well. Two of them in particular must feel too cool for such an interview (something that was reflected in another woman as part of another interview I tried to run here several weeks ago). Sadly, both are also “Facebook friends.” Maybe I need to reevaluate who my real friends are.

      But there’s another thing: I’m actually learning that responsiveness comes from girls that are truly connected to tech, not those fashion-conscious fakes who prance around at tech conferences and events.

      • Edmee Roche says:

        HA! I’ve found that when connecting via groups. But too bad, I was watching a recruiting video for a software co. (owner wld prob b considered an “influencer”)…all the programmers/engineers were men, except for one girl. That’s the representation of the co. Too bad the women didn’t take the opp up~we can use more female ex’s.

        • I’ve been hearing this for almost 20 years (man, that comment makes me feel old). There aren’t many geek girls out there! Hopefully social media breeds a new generation (Y) of women superstars.

          • Mohan Reddy says:

            This is the most “influential” and authentic post I have read in a long time! Time for some fun science in a light-hearted sense.

            I am a medical person. So this post should substitute the (Y) with an (X) (“Hopefully social media breeds a new generation (Y) of women superstars”)

            You see, in the Genetic Code “Y” is an exclusively male chromosome. Only men have Y chromosomes while all women have XX chromosomes. Sorry for the Pun :-)

          • haha, thanks Mohan. I know exactly what you’re talking about ;) LOL

      • Hi Tamar,

        I have had this book marked for a week or so, as I was really pondering, the group and also was disappointed more women were not in it. I understand better now, from your answer why. I have read “Beyond Blogging”, Nathan and Mike’s book that just came out and really liked that “process of their success” approach. Perhaps the influencer dynamic, is a bit “ego-centric”? How do you measure that? There are influencer who are not out there like some of these folks who are “thought leaders” and doing it right. Thanks for your hard work on this, it was an insightful piece.

        • Yup – I’m really bummed. As a female, I really wanted to get more women. Maybe I’ll do something with more women in the future. :)

          I don’t think it’s an ego-centric thing. The women who actually completely ignored my request to be included have the biggest egos I’ve ever encountered, whereas many of the others featured in this article really don’t let “fame” get to their heads.

          Still, I tried to include them because they are people others look up to. I guess I shouldn’t have bothered.

  • So I find it ironic that all of these influencers listed here have a very consistent message that is not new mind you, however the majority of people still approach them, and on a smaller scale guys like me, in completely the wrong way and most commonly with a pitch and a NDA.

    If most people would stop pitching and blabbering about their ‘unique’ idea/product they’d see that just by simply talking openly and bring friendly and making friends that getting the idea/product across will organically happen and in turn have a much more dramatic effect.

    Anywho… Good post and good info more people should read. :)

    Cheers

    • Hey Chuck, great meeting you last night. :)

      I TOTALLY agree. That’s kind of why I was extremely receptive to that woman when I asked for a service provider. She retweeted my stuff repeatedly, shared it on Google Reader, and didn’t shy away from reaching out when the opportunity presented itself. I’m still kind of bummed that she never panned out, especially after ignoring several emails! It’s like she wanted attention in a public place but not when the *real* relationships could be formed. But hey, THAT is the most important part.

      I have no idea if she is going to bother, but I hope she reads this article and knows how her impression soured on me.

      In any event, it goes to say that there’s more to it than meets the eye, and building up a relationship means being serious about communicating too.

  • Satyajit says:

    For a small business owner like ours, this is a tremendous help, as we struggle to come in the radar of the influencers to grow. This is a must read for anyone who wants to engage their users through social media. Thanks Tamar for putting this together.

  • Rachel Happe says:

    Tamar –

    This is a great compilation and interesting to read. One additional thing I’ll add that I’ve learned over the years (and you alluded to this in your advice) is that once you have someone’s attention – even if it is for only a few minutes… use the opportunity to have an interesting conversation with them instead of talking about yourself or pitching something.

    While an analyst it absolutely amazed me how many PR people’s only interaction with me was to schedule briefings and then sit on calls silently. After scheduling a few briefings, they would assume I knew who they were but they never made any kind of impression on me. There were a few that really stood out because they took a few minutes to have an interesting conversation with me… and I was much more likely to be responsive to them because of it.

    Great reading!

    • LOL – so true. I get so many emails a day and I’m usually so good with names, but not anymore! The emails come in so often that very few people stand above the crowd. It’s pretty sad but it’s also the nature of being pitched to so regularly. When someone stops me at a party and says “hey, we talked via email,” sometimes, deep down, I’m trying to figure out where! It’s kind of hard to make that impression in this day and age with information overload.

      I pretty much shun most PR calls (mostly because I don’t handle editorial stuff outside this blog, but even then, these blog posts come from a passion, not from a pitch), and I finally bit and sat in on one a few months ago. I remember pushing the PR person away before the call saying “I don’t know what I’d be able to do here,” and he insisted so I caved. It was a waste of time for his client and me. I still wonder what the heck I’m supposed to do for them.

      That’s another thing. PR people really should try to connect with their client’s audience. I wasn’t quite the right audience and I should have stayed firm on my “no” answer.

      Thanks Rachel :)

  • Kyle Reis says:

    Great post. In summary: brief, original, amazing, real.

  • Corey Ellis says:

    WOW. I’ll be using this as a reference/resource. Thanks Tamar for this work.

  • Craig Deakin says:

    I loved this post, thanks for taking the time to contact these great influencer’s and gather their opinions.

    A major point to remember is never to ask, want or expect something from the initial contact of a future friend, client or associate. I think it’s really important to form a relationship first as this will yield better results in the future.

    • Craig – that’s a most excellent point. Even with a strong relationship (and friendship), outreach doesn’t necessarily guarantee reception. I think Marshall says it well when he says that we might have different definitions of “fantastic.”

  • Beth Barany says:

    Tamar, Your article was such an informative read. I’m not trying to get these guys attention, not yet anyway ;-). However, the advice here is great for any of us working to get the attention of the most highly leveraged person in our industry. And for authors, who I work with, working the food chain of marketing and publishing, such great advice. I’ll pass it on to all my clients.

  • Wynne says:

    OMG what an awesome post. I’m glad I stumbled across this whilst reading someone’s tweets. I lot of the stuff your influencers say is exceptionally enlightening. Thanks for taking the time to research this thoroughly.

  • Jules Zunich says:

    Interesting. I agree with Matt Hixson’s comments; I like the idea of a thought leader vs an amplifier. Mostly, I was surprised that a couple of people I assumed would be on the list were not and that there were some that I have never heard of (that’s on me, I guess). That all makes it very interesting to me. Also, what I notice about lists like this is that (especially w/ the photo collage) social media leadership quite diverse, except when it comes to gender. Still surprises me.

    • Jules, FWIW, I reached out to many others who did not respond. I wanted this to be as exhaustive as possible. (I’d be curious to know your list of influencers though just to see if I missed anyone.)

      Also, as a woman, I tried to reach out to many, but I highlighted my challenges above in the comments. It’s unfortunate that some women think they are much better than a petty interview. Sad for them, really. I’ve been hesitant to identify them (though most would probably nod in agreement).

      I clearly reached out to some of the wrong crowd when trying to get female representation. Who am I missing?

      • Jules Zunich says:

        Really, I am about the LAST person who should be commenting on who *should* or *should not* be on this list, but I always associate Todd Defren with social media thought leadership. I am mildly obsessed with Shift Communications, so maybe it’s just me. But don’t tell me the Vanity Fair American Tweethearts blew you off?!? That would be so unsociable. Predictable maybe, but so mean-girls! That’s what I wrote about last week on my blog. *Engagement influencers* who don’t engage. So I guess the people here do it right because they’re good & they responded. Overall, great list. Thanks!

  • Mike Doyle says:

    This terrific post (great idea, great selection of folks to quote from) struck me in two ways, one positive, one negative.

    It’s telling that the overall gist of the responses you received was to keep first contacts focused, concise, honest, and relevant. Great advice, and as other commenters have noted, so rarely followed by lots of PR and marketing people (especially the ones who frequently pitch me irrelevant content.)

    However, I was also struck by the myopia of Seth Godin’s comment. Apparently, he’s a walled-off silo to anyone working in a promotional capacity. Readers should contact him if the spirit moves them, anyone else better hope their message reaches him as if by osmosis.

    That kind of aloofness may work for an A-list, global opinion leader Oprah. However, I question how telling an entire group of human beings who may very well have something amazing to say not to bother to contact you makes for a truly informed–or fair–opinion on the Internet. Social media is about leveling the playing field among us all, not hiding behind silly, self-created firewalls.

    • Hi Mike, good comments. I don’t know Seth enough to defend him entirely, but from what I know of him, I think that he is in a separate caliber. I can imagine that he gets TONS of emails. And believe it or not, he reads every single one of them (AND responds super quickly too!) I actually have been following in his footsteps by giving an almost immediate response without even knowing it. That said, lots of “junk” mail, if you will, desensitizes you, especially when you make a concentrated effort to be diligent in the follow-up. Therefore, I have to say that I understand where he’s coming from.

      If it’s good enough, most people will hear about it. I kind of feel the same way toward my approach (though there are exceptions) in the fact that I don’t really accept pitches at all; I blog about services and products I have direct experience with.

  • Jose Guerra says:

    Not sure if this is good or bad. But all the answers confirmed what I read everyday/week from different sources. I think that there is so much more to be done on the technology side before we can effectively grab people’s attention like the way we can do face-to-face.

  • Thank you for compiling this list. This is great information and another reminder of the importance of taking the time to build your credibility and relationships.

  • Lil' Peekr says:

    Yawn, seems like this could have been a much shorter post. Scroll…

    Personally, I think you gotta just be yourself, keep your nose to the grindstone and do what you do really, really well. Eventually these folks will notice—maybe. That and a magic kiss from lady-luck never hurts.

    Always good posts Tamar. BTW: Why did you stop using the awesome Twitter background you used to have?

    • Maybe a shorter post, but as it is, most of the feedback was short – I just wanted to include a diverse group of influencers. :)

      As far as my Twitter background, I haven’t changed it in years. Are you sure you’re checking my profile?

      • Lil' Peekr says:

        …yes I see your background now, it’s always been one of my faves—my wireless is dropping off—need to reboot and get to a better connection. Thanks :)

  • Ching Ya says:

    Brief (per point)
    Eye-catching (big names, catchy headline)
    Effort (data-collecting)
    Resourceful (blog links to discovered)

    Have enjoyed the B.E.E.R you offered, quality delivery.

    Often times we’ve neglected even influencers are humans. We applied the ‘Don’ts’ on them unknowingly – selfishness must be eliminated for it’s never in parallel with sincerity & consistency.

    I tend to read and discover which influencer’s response may attract my attention, a good learning point: Chris, Anita & Tara all mentioned community which I personally benefited from & helped by many, Darren’s listing that made all points clear & ease to read; And your summary that wrapped up everything in 5 lines. Networking food for thought. :-)

    Epilogue:
    You’re famous before I get to know your site, Tamar. :) My first impression about you was “Gosh, all those social media sites!” (social profiles displayed at your sidebar) I was secretly naming you the ‘profile lady’ & this time I’m happily commenting as an appreciation, not to get attention (since I’ve already blew it with ‘keep it simple, brief’. lol..). Keep inspiring!

    @wchingya
    Social/Blogging Tracker

  • Oliver Hoger says:

    As i am a very simple person i can say that people influnce from any thing in her life.many people influnce in their life from their parents ,their neighboue ,coworker,positive attitude boobs.

    EDITED: link removed. Thanks for at least taking the effort to comment, but no.

    • LOL, I approved this clearly spam comment for the hilarity of your approach. You didn’t really get my attention. :)

    • Alysson says:

      Ladies and gentlemen, this is what content-based automated comment software comments look like. “Use our software to build links by the thousands…automatically leaving blog comments that are so high quality that no one will know you didn’t write them yourself!” Yeah, I can’t tell at all… :)

  • Nice to gain some insight into different disciplines of the social media community. I am a green newbie and really want to understand it before I offend someone unknowingly!! Thanks for the perspective.

  • First off I glanced at the photos to see who I recognized. I like the way you incorporated faces. As I read through I kept thinking the post was getting better and better. It reached a point I wanted to print it out and summarize into a handful of action steps that could be used regularly.

    One that really stood out for me was the Chris Brogan response. It’s almost a perfect template to reproduce in telling people how to go about contacting me.

    I absolutely love this post Tamar, I’ll put it to good use.

    • Thanks Michael. :) I appreciate that.

      And I just realized the implicit consequence of incorporating faces: remembering that people are human. ;) They’re more than just typed names!

  • Adam Sherk says:

    Just as a side note, I really like how you can just see a bit of you in the Louis Gray photo :)

  • As our business gets more and more involved in social media marketing, a friend of mine introduced me to “techipedia” today, perfect timing and I love it!!

  • Alysson says:

    Boy…Matt’s going to be sorry about that whole snail mail comment. Cuttlets are gonna hop into their Hot Tub Time Machines, pull out the dusty “From The Desk Of…” stationery and start scribbling illegibly. Come on, you know none of us has legible handwriting anymore…typing FTW! :)

  • Peter says:

    Great post Tamar – thank you!

    As always useful, insightful and genuine information that has an immediate application. Really helpful to hear the thoughts of the names that everyone recognises. I also appreciate the enormous effort that a post like this takes.
    Regards, Peter

  • When I first started blogging I reached out and got blown off by a few on your list. I don’t idolize people because they own some over rated company or know how to play the Game. By not helping me I had to learn everything on my own.I can’t think of one thing I need to ask any well known person especially for help. It amazes me how some people are idolized online and they are not very social and in fact are pretty much Goofs.Sure everyone is busy and by not helping me I have learned a lot and have an excellent relationship with the next wave of people, people that have been cast aside because they didn’t work at apple 20 yrs ago or whatever. I hope I never get to busy to not stop and help a new person or think my time is so valuable etc. I think it’s a shame the way people suck up to the same old people, people that don’t impress me much.
    Money isn’t everything :) I guess to be a web celeb all the people have to give credibility to each other. But actions speak louder the words :)
    Anyone sorry to be a killjoy but this is how most people see it online except the suck ups who think they will benefit from that which they won’t but that’s another story :) Also how many times I have seen post like this and the people don’t even bother to say Thanks etc.Think about it, why don’t you promote up and coming people instead of has beens ?

    • Hey John, thanks for your comments. I understand where they’re coming from – you’re talking about hundreds to thousands of requests on a regular basis. You may be right when they might seem like “goofs” but try to understand that lots of emails/IMs/Facebook messages/other requests means lots of items vying for attention.

      Keep in mind that attention is finite.

      I personally get a lot of interview requests. For now, I answer all of them. But beyond that, I’m a full time employee and a full time mom. It’s REALLY hard to balance that kind of thing.

      Therefore, again, if they don’t help you, it’s not that they don’t want to, it’s just that all of these things takes time. If you get 600 emails an hour and each takes 1 minute (being generous) to answer, that’s 600 minutes (10 hours) of work. I’d request that you cut these guys some slack.

      I understand where you’re coming from, too, and heck, I reached out to more influencers than the ones on this list. I mentioned that two of them should have responded but they’re obviously “too cool” for this questionnaire. I was surprised by another one — a colleague of mine who worked together with me for a short while — who totally blew this off. He could’ve responded but he didn’t. But for me, that shows an issue of maintaining a relationship, and apparently he’s not interested. I have the memo now.

      As for promoting “has beens,” I just don’t agree. They aren’t. They’re just busy people because of their “fame.”

  • Tamar, this is an awesome post and full of “nuggets” of common sense insights! So much of this is about being personable, mutual and real. I mean finding the commonality you have with someone, being interested in them, and truly wanted to help are powerful bridges. Not sure why we think many of the folks you interviewed are not approachable or not interested in us? The reason they are as successful as they are is because we joined or formed a tribe with them. One thing I require is relationship first sell me later!

  • Jim Kukral says:

    Excellent piece Tamar. Having just written a book on “attention”, you’re dead on.

  • Tamar.

    Fantastic list. From my experience, these all ring true and great advice for EVERYONE looking to connect with busy people. I’ve interviewed actually a fair amount of people on the list (Gary, Chris, Seth, Tara, Anita) with upcoming interviews with you, Brian Solis, Ben Huh and some others. The way I’ve been able to connect with folks in the online world and offline world (such as “The Millionaire Matchmaker” Patti Stanger), is being nice, genuine, short and to the point and offering something of value (in my case I offer an interview that you can do in your PJ’s on a webcam in front of 100,000+ business owners).

    If you can offer value or do something nice and not write War & Peace, response rate is pretty darn high.

  • It is going to be fun (with the extra bonus potential of a screaming child)

  • Megan says:

    A lot of helpful tips. I think the best tip I read is to keep it short and simple and go directly to the point. No one wants to read a lengthy email. And if you’re email even resembles a spam mail or a chain mail, it’s never going to get the attention.
    PS…please check out this article too. It’s may be another alternative to catching attention. http://budurl.com/dyfr

  • Dan Root says:

    Of course Aaron Wall would give a huge long response like that! Haha… gotta love him though.

  • T.J. Loftus says:

    Tamar thank you for your post. I appreciate the time and effort you put into this.

  • This is one of the reasons why I love you, Tamar! What a superb resource you’ve put together!

    We discussed this topic this morning in the SEO Dojo, and our guest from Media Post, Laurie Sullivan, mirrored much of what you said. Keep it short and sweet, and get to the point. And… Make friends!

  • I just want to know how you got all of those influencer photos into a perfect square :) j/j. Great post – thanks for pulling together.

  • Nizam Pierre says:

    Hey Tamar how are you? I ran across your blog and I’m very impressed with the level up great information you share. This is wonderful information I’m glad i found you and i will be looking for your Tweets and blogs peace and progress.

    Nizam Pierre

  • WOW! What a great round-up of talent. Hardly a group of “has-beens”, as Mr. Sullivan suggested above (bitter perhaps?).

    Whether I’m blogging, networking, pitching or marketing, I love to keep the “What’s In It For Them?” factor in mind at all times. It’s a creative challenge to tweak your message in that direction, but it’s ALWAYS more effective.

    Thanks, Tamar, for gathering & sharing this superb collection of insights.

  • Ted Wright says:

    Hi Tamar –

    If you’d ever like to talk to more folks who activate against your “How to Get an Influencer’s Attention” question everyday just let me know. We have friends from PBR to Sugarland who have cracked that code. fizzcorp.com also has a nice run down of posts and commentary on this exact subject as well as womma.org.

  • Stiennon says:

    I put together a seminar on influencing influencers that I present to my vendor clients. The advice here is spot on but the targets are different in enterprise apps. A lot of industry and Wall Street analysts are not as approachable as these great socially adept influencers. In addition to all of the views you have collected I would add: repetition. Pummel the journalist/analyst with every press release, every new client win, every product enhancement. Make sure that your product/company is top of mind, often.

  • Kelby says:

    I would have to disagree on the “pummel” approach. I have experience both as a blogger and former newspaper reporter, and pummeling does not put you top of mind. It is just annoying, and a way to be sure you will be ignored when you do have something that would be of interest. Less focus on quantity and more on customizing the information/knowing what interests the influenced and relationship building is a much better tactic.

    • I actually agree with Kelby here, Stiennon. Bloggers are definitely not receptive to the pummel approach. Maybe that works elsewhere, but if you “make sure your product/company is top of mind, often,” you’re not necessarily making sure it’s top of mind in a positive light.

      I’m annoyed at the Classmates.com banner ads, for instance. I’m sure you can think of other examples.

      • Kelby Carr says:

        Great point… you will be top of mind, but as the annoying one. And if repetition were effective, I would think at least one of these influencers would have told you: “The best way to get through to me is to send a barrage of press releases to my in-box every time you get a new client, have a new product or enhance a product.” Not a single one did.

  • Tamar,
    What a fantastic idea for a post :)! Thanks so much for sharing all that valuable information from all these industry experts/influencers. Good know how to go about reaching each (including You of course) in a way that will grab their attention. Knowing how to contact or get through to a specific person can make all the difference in the kind of response you will get.

    I’m sure you must have spent a considerable amount of time rounding up all this info – so thanks for your time and advice. The article is well worth it!
    Cheers

  • Janet Sun says:

    Wish I had come across your post earlier. The topic of influence has been on my mind a lot, so your post really resonated with me. Like you said, “influence is everywhere, but it’s up to you to spot it.” Identifying the right influencers in one’s space should be a standard part of any social media audit, a process that is explained in my company’s March newsletter. Also, finding influencers is becoming increasingly important in social media campaigns, which is a shift from the early days when the focus was more on customer marketing. Now, it’s definitely a combination of both influencer and customer marketing. Thanks so much for your post!

  • Hi Tamar,

    I hadn’t seen this post before, shame on me…I’m amazed with the fact you enter to such detail in to get to know what is getting the attention from all of you, this and the great effort put on it, made me think this post is sublime, and of course enlightening, you can get an overall idea of what is hot and what not. luv it!

    I’ll keep it in my del.ici.ous for sure!

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Leigh Wong says:

    Hey Tamar,

    Thanks for embarking on this project and doing such a great job with it! I’ll be spreading this too, for sure!

    Regards,
    Leigh

  • mk akan says:

    Tamar thanks for sharing these great info..one very important lesson i have gotten from this post , is for us to just reach out to these guys…they are all willing to help if you have something wonderful or good to share…thanks again

    • Yes, so true.

      But this brings up an interesting point for me. Some others get the wrong idea that once they’re approachable, they’re always approachable. And if there’s nothing wonderful or good to share, well, that relationship gets abused. I feel that some people got the wrong idea from this post, believe it or not! But I digress… ;)

  • Kelly says:

    You already know I love ya Tamar … I just wish these guys gave a bit more from an example standpoint. A lot of these look good from a 30K foot view — but getting into the ugly details is key. Fabulous job.

    • I hear you, Kelly. I think that it is really a case-by-case basis. You gotta really know the influencer and give them something that they already have talked about — be it on their blog, on their site, on their Twitter feed, etc. And show that you understand more than just the post but the conversations around it. It’s hard to give specifics that will *truly* work when everyone is so vastly different.

  • anthony says:

    This is a great post. Thanks for the information. Makes me really think of what is possible.

  • While doing “homework” for a program I am giving about 20 social media tips in 20 minutes I found this timely and interesting post. Thank you Tamara for doing the much needed research. I think people sometimes think they are more influential than they actually are (and vice-versa) so they either do not reach out to influencers or they do it all wrong. You have set the record straight.

    When i want an influencer’s attention I will ask to interview her or him. Some of the people you have interviewed for this article have been interviewed by me and others are now (thanks to you) on my radar.

    In fact, you are at the top of my list. So when you have a brief moment, I would love to chat with you about doing just that. My community of women who do business on the web would benefit greatly from your expertise.

    My email is heidi (at) wecai.org in case you would allow me to interview you.

    Again, thank you for the great post. I am so excited to have found it (and you).

    Have a super day… and then some,

    Heidi Richards Mooney, Founder Women in Ecommerce

  • Very exhausting list, thanks!
    I’m wonder how much one can actually contact these people with ideas though. I’m not sure I would feel comfortable contacting these people with my ideas since it would feel like spam to me since I would be likely the one who needed their help.

    How can you possibly make friends with a person who has thousands of other followers when you have little influence?

  • Thanks for the quick reply Tamar. You are very kind to personally reply to each message. :)

  • Gabe Arnold says:

    I think that a saw a theme in everyones answer, be sincere, be orginal, be consistent. The greatest people in my life and the greatest bloggers I read seem to all song this song. Thanks for writing this! I enjoyed it.

  • Nick Stewart says:

    Wow! This is a fabulous post. I’d never heard of you until I saw a link from ViperChill. I’m impressed they were able to get answers from so many marketers including some of my favorites like Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk.

    Was it all difficult to hear responses from some of them?

    BTW, I stumbled this post. If you ever need any traffic advice then shoot me an email.


    Nick, The Traffic Guy

  • Ron Curtis says:

    Respect the person’s time you are reaching out to seems to be key. There has to be more to reaching out than just your own personal gain.

    Blessings,
    Ron

  • Yamato says:

    Wow, a very intersting list.
    not only because of how to get their attention, but also for uncovering their ‘details’
    Thanks again!
    Y

    Editor’s note: Thanks Yamato for your comments. However, as stated in my blog policy, I have asked you to use your real name. I do not think your name is “How to Speak Japanese” and have edited your comment as explained in the blog policy. Hopefully you won’t leverage their “details” for similar tactics.

  • Tarah says:

    I just stumbled on this great post. As I said in my blog (Tarah.me):
    To me, this all boils down to relevance & focus. Whether you’re marketing to an audience, pitching a business leader, or proposing to your future wife, you gotta think before you talk. Think about what that person/audience cares about, what gets them jazzed up and what will add value to their lives…before thinking about how you can add value to your own.

    Thanks for all the great intel!

  • I think that a saw a theme in everyones answer, be sincere, be orginal, be consistent. The greatest people in my life and the greatest bloggers I read seem to all song this song. Thanks for writing this! I enjoyed it.

    Edited: Link removed.

  • Great stuff Tamar! I truly admire this post – you’ve given us an inside look into these people & how to gain their attention. The value of the information here is worth more than the crown jewels & you’ve given it to us on a silver platter.

    I try to be original. Recently I befriended an Aussie comedian on FB. When she accepted my friendship I said “Thanks for friend-er-ling me” And that made me memorable. So that was a huge lesson for me.

    But my biggest hurdle is my mindset. I tend to think “That person wouldn’t want to hear from me” or “I can’t ask that person” or I believe I can’t approach them about my stuff. I tend to stay away & leave people alone. I think that they wouldn’t want anything to do with a little fish like me. Dang… why in the hell does the idea of approaching people give me the heebie jeebies & then run away really quickly to hide in a hole?

    • Sam, I don’t know, but believe it or not, I have the same problem! It’s why one of my most coveted relationships fizzled — I admired someone I worked with too much to approach her often!

  • Sharel says:

    This IS one of the most interesting posts i had ever read, building relationship is the game and its so interesting to read it (i went over this post many times now). personally I had the privilege of reaching and learning from some people from that list, AMAZING people who i admire, people like you Chris, louis, Marshall and Seth, and what they write above is so true…. really amazing.

    I especially loved the feedback from Chris, who always talk and act on how we create a better world, helping others and then help ourself…

    Tamar, thank you SO much for this amazing wonderful and super important post, it shows us that good guys with good intentions and a big heart can make a change in the world.

    Thank you!
    Sharel

  • Roberto says:

    I always come with a unique perspective to be able to gain the attention of those above me. It usually works.

  • Sabika Nazim says:

    This is a great post.
    Jeff Dachis’s presentation for SBS2011 yesterday said “twitter is a theatre” and at that time I was thinking, if only we could figure out a way to approach each of these influencers in their own unique preferred ways and I landed up here. – even more awesome because I actually follow all these influencers including yourself. :) Thanks!

  • Emily Rose says:

    Tamar, this is the first time I’ve been on your site and I am impressed with this post! You’ve done lots of research and put it together in a comprehensive way and I learned alot too!

    Thank you!

  • It was not possible to read all here. After the few answers I read, I would state: “Don’t try to get THEIR attention”, because or they will read me (and maybe spread my message), because I have to say anything, what interests them, or they will not.

    The worst, what I could do is to chump up…

    So I stay calm and don’t “make me my head hot” (as we say in Germany) in this question, but take this energy to do my business. As it is good and unique, it will flourish anyway.

  • Tonychan says:

    This is a great post. Thanks for the information. Makes me really think of what is possible.

  • ivylee says:

    I have been thinking a lot about influencers and I really would question the point of who is an influencer. Some of the people you list here have a ton of followers and lots of people try and get their attention. Lots of people listen to them so I guess that makes them an influencer? To me some of these are really just an amplifier. The approach to a thought leader vs an amplifier are 2 different things. I think that you really have to understand who these people are and what they are after to really understand how to engage them.

  • yinka olaito says:

    Tama, really this is a great compedum of what counts in Getting influencers’ attention. Well=researched, thought out and helpful

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