I kind of debated on whether or not to write this post, but I thought it was time.
Sometimes there are things we think that should be obvious, but they just aren’t. Which is why I felt inspired to write this.
As my site and brand have grown over the last few years (the site is 9 years old now, but the concentrated effort I’ve put in over the last few years have made a significant difference), I’m getting a lot more requests and people reaching out to me.
Which is great.
That’s how businesses grow, right?
And I get it. Part of growing your brand and your business is through outreach and growing relationships.
Here’s the thing though…
There’s a smart way to do this and there’s a ‘not-so-smart’ way to do this (that might be subjective, but you guys are intelligent people, I think you’ll agree with me).
Before we get into the ‘smart’ way to do this, let’s go ahead and address the ‘not-so-smart’ way to do this.
When you email me multiple times asking me if I’d like to feature you on a page on my site and don’t get a response?
Take a hint.
“I don’t owe you anything!”
Not a response, not a link, not a feature.
Most of the time I ignore these requests.
But after getting contacted a third time from this person here is how I responded:
Before anyone thinks my ego is the size of a small planet, let me also say that I LOVE sharing other people’s work.
Content, lead magnet, course… whatever.
Most of the time it’s because I either have a relationship with the person OR I’ve found their content and thought it was valuable.
We don’t have to be the best of friends for me to share your stuff, but ideally, we’ve connected somewhere along the line. Cold outreach is not easy, I get it. And I commend people who do it and do it well. The key to that is the ‘doing it well’ part.
I’ve had a few of these requests from people who are doing outreach for someone they work for, to be a guest on the podcast.
The most recent request started out with, “Hello”, not “Hello Kim, Hi Kim”…
To which of course in my head I’m thinking “goodbye.”
On the flip side of that, I do appreciate it when people follow up with me. People I know.
Here are a few suggestions when it comes to connecting and building relationships:
- Start by giving. Share other peoples content, engage on social media, leave reviews (podcast, books, etc.)
- Reply to an email newsletter
- Comment on a blog post
- Refer people to one another. If it’s not a service or product you provide, recommend someone else
- Make introductions
- Have actual conversations (phone, skype)
All of this reminds me of Robert Fulghum’s book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”…
Go back to basics.
Focus on building something of value long term.
Pushing your thing on people is never going to work.
I just started reading another book called “Perrenial Seller: The Art of Making And Marketing Work That Lasts” by Ryan Holiday (one of my favorite authors). I just started it but it refers to how things stand the test of time, what makes things last. I can already tell it’s going to be an invaluable read for anyone who is in this for the long haul.
In the meantime, continue creating great stuff and building real relationships.
After that, the marketing is the easy part.