Bigwigs Explain: How to Get an Influencer's Attention

Last Updated Sep 1, 2010 7:33 PM EDT

You've got an idea or a product and you need to get it out into the world. What you need is an influencer -- a bigwig with a huge personal network and a lot of clout to spread the gospel. You know this, but unfortunately so does everyone else, and these sorts of headline names are bombarded with requests for their limited time and attention. So how do you stand out and get noticed?
Tamar Weinberg took the direct approach to the question and simply asked some of the biggest names in tech and business what gets their attention. Their answers are fascinating:
  • Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist: "For me, it's just asking, via email, Twitter, or Facebook."
  • Seth Godin, bestselling author, including his latest, Linchpin: "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, founder and CEO of Mashable: "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."
  • Nicholas Carlson, senior editor at The Business Insider: "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, senior contributing editor of 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."
  • Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Crush It!: "Tweet about the NY Jets. Also write an honest email -- and the biggest mistake everyone makes is the ask or sell instead of greet or welcome in their 1st interaction."
Weinberg has spoken to many more business and tech leaders, so check out her site technipedia for more info on reaching these influencers.

(Image of strong telephone by dotbenjamin, CC 2.0)

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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.