Personalized cold outreach is an easy alternative to “spray and pray” automated email campaigns. A personalized email can be the start of a REAL conversation which teaches you more about a potential client, even if she or he isn’t ready to work with you (yet).
Generic, automated messages don’t generate the same connection.
How does personalized cold outreach work?
First, don’t be a “PR spammer.” Think “invitation” instead of “announcement.”
Instead of merging names into the same template, study each recipient.
How is your work, audience or platform symbiotic with the other person’s work, audience or platform? If you’re a health coach, perhaps you’d work well with a financial coach, because planning for retirement and focusing on health are related, but non-competing, interests.
Next, craft a email that indicates you’ve done your homework and you have something to offer a recipient’s readers, audience, etc.
For example, many podcasters are hungry for new guests, but that doesn’t mean you’re a match for her or his show. What would you bring to the show? Why do you think you could be a good fit? What do you hope to learn as part of the experience?
Consider prompts like these to warm up your email outreach:
I like/have been following your __(podcast, blog, magazine)__ because ___(reasons)___. Here’s how my __(work, presentation style, etc.)_____ could help/interest your audience.
I think my _(audience, clients)_ would enjoy hearing your story on my _(platform)_ as well because…
I’ve learned _____ from your work, and I’d welcome the chance to share _(specific tips, information, opportunities)____ with your…
Do you have a press page or media kit? Your media kit can simplify your “personalized cold outreach” because, if email recipients want more information, it’s already packaged for them. Depending on the type of coverage you’re requesting, you can provide a link to the kit or a resource within it (such as your one-sheet flyer mentioned in the “short guides” component of the Ideas for Your Media Kit article). This isn’t a reading assignment; you’re just making the kit available as ONE option for answering potential questions.
Invite connection in a recipient’s preferred format by providing other contact points, such as a phone number.
Compare the personalized cold outreach ideas above to basic cold outreach. How many times have you received messages through a social media platform from strangers with random announcements – messages which have nothing to do with you, who you are, how you work or what you want? How often have you deleted that kind of message without fully reading it (or even opening it)?
Here’s the type of email that would get my attention: “Candace, I noticed from your website you work with motivational speakers, coaches and authors, and I enjoyed your article about (article topic) because (of what she liked about it or learned from it). I’m a new coach who wants to form a goal-setting group for 2019. Although we haven’t met, I thought next week’s vision board session might interest you because…”
I would tell that sender I don’t use vision boards, but I appreciated her reaching out, etc. That response is still a “No,” but it’s also a CONVERSATION. And that’s a place where connection can begin, even if I do not become her client and she does not become mine.
Personalization takes time, but the benefits are worth the investment of a few extra minutes.
Candace Schilling, publicist, offers PR Communication and Training to spiritual teachers and faith-based communities. For more inspiration as well as tips about marketing and strategic communication, check out her articles or find Candace on LinkedIn.