There’s one really difficult part about networking… And it’s not about convincing people to do something for you, or about making them introduce you to other people, or to vouch for you. No, this most difficult part has an entirely different nature (which you can see in the title of the article, by the way).
Yes, it’s contacting people for the first time. The difficult part is that since the person doesn’t know you they might not be that convinced to pay attention to you.
Every time you contact a friend they will respond no matter what you send them, but this won’t be the case with strangers. So how to overcome this? How to make the first contact effectively? Here are some of my ideas.
Contacting someone out of the blue might not bring you any results at all. Picture this, why would anyone respond to someone who: they don’t know, who’s asking for something, who’s interrupting whatever they are doing. You wouldn’t respond too, would you?
The secret is proper preparation. For me, the initial contact consists of a couple of elements.
The first element is to appear on the person’s radar. Here’s what I mean:
Start by making your presence through some indirect channels. One of the best things to do is to link to other people.
Quite simply, whenever you write an article try to find relevant content on your contact’s site and then link to it. You don’t even have to send any notice to the person, they will see you on their trackback/pingback list anyway.
If you do this a couple of times they should already know of your existence.
The next step is commenting on their posts. Of course, don’t do it just for the sake of it. Join only the discussions where you have some actual valuable input. Otherwise your comment will go unnoticed.
The secret here is to participate in the conversation. Not to submit links to your site, not to mention your site, just to say something valuable.
Of course, your name becomes a link to your site (a standard blog setting).
After a while of regular commenting, the blog owner is well aware of who you are and can actually recognize your comments.
This is the perfect moment to move to the next step.
“Hi mail” or “praise mail”
Now is the time to contact the person directly. Nothing fancy at this point. No requests, or favors. Use this initial communication just as a way of saying “hi.”
Even a simple “Hello [NAME] I just wanted to say hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a while. Great content.” is enough if you can’t come up with anything more creative.
You can also use the “praise mail” approach instead of the “hi mail.” This is where you send a message praising something the person did, for example: a great post/article, receiving an award, and so on.
The secret here is not to ask for stuff. Don’t invite the person to visit your site or anything. Just say “hi” and nothing else.
However, make sure to have a nice signature line in your email – one containing your site’s address. If the person wants to pay you a visit, they will do it without additional convincing on your part.
It’s usually at this point that people like to respond to you and start a conversation. So we can call it a success. All you have to do is remain in contact with the person.
Later on you can turn this contact into a business relationship or whatever else will feel right.
I guess the main lesson here is not to contact someone directly too soon. If you wait for the right time, you will have a much better success rate.
by Karol K. who is a freelance writer, passionate about online business. He’s part of ThemeFuse – leading provider of quality and affordable premium WordPress themes.