How to get noticed by influential people

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How to get noticed by influential people - without cold calls or speculative emails.

From time to time, the only way to make progress is to enlist the aid of someone influential. An editor or journalist perhaps, or a decision-maker. Maybe someone who's just that bit further up the ladder in your field than you are.

For ease of explanation, I'm going to explore how you might make contact with a specific publication that you feel you'd like to be featured in.

The first move is to identify the publication that seems right for you. Be sure to do your research and make sure that you've got a good match between the topics they regularly cover and what it is that you'd like them to do for you. The closer the match, the higher the chance of success.

The next stage is to identify, by name, the editors who have responsibility for that section of the magazine or website and the journalist(s) who are covering those topics for them. Remember that a lot of writers will not be on staff - they will be freelancers. This is an important distinction.

Next, you need to do another bit of painstaking research to find out where these people hang out on social media. Where do they have their professional profile, and where do they showcase their own work? This could be Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, Instagram or some other platform. A google search for their name will usually give you a starting point.

Once you have identified your target, and where they hang out, you need to check that you are ready. If you follow my suggestions, at some point they will follow a link back to your website, blog or social media account. It needs to be up to date and looking good. Don't send people to anything that's not your best or which is out of date. Their visit to 'check you out' may happen sooner than you think...

Make sure you have up to date, good looking posts on your own social media. If you are not already a member of the platform they hang out on, join it and create at least one great post with an image and a link back to the thing that you feel does you most justice - your webpage, a topical blog post, a fantastic gallery of images of your work, your soundcloud account. You know best what it is you want them to look at.

Then, follow them. Don't immediately request a connection or make any overtures. This is a process that requires patience and sensitivity. 

Read through their recent posts. Select one or two that resonate most with you, and like them. They will notice this. Do not do anything else. Wait a few days. Like one or two more. At this point, they may check your profile or follow your link. Be patient. They may follow you back. That's good. Don't do anything - it's too easy to rush things and spoil the relationship you are building. Let dopamine do the initial work. (Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that gives you a little rush when people like your posts.)

After a while, comment favourably on the most recent post that resonates with you. You may or may not get a response. Wait some more. Comment again. If the process is working, you will probably be noticing some reciprocal activity. The worst thing that can happen is that they are now aware of who you are and what you do. When you get in touch, it's no longer a cold call or email. You've broken the ice. You've done so without hassling them. That counts for a lot. It also means that when your message lands in their inbox, you're not a stranger to them. 

The more time you spend on the initial research, on getting a good match, the more likely it is that this process will have a good outcome for you.

The Challenge

Do some research. Pick a target or two. Follow the steps above. Don't rush. 

See what happens. Good luck!