You've been emailing an influential blogger or reporter to tell them about your company or product, but you're not making any headway. You're certain that what you're pitching is right up their alley. You even have a timely hook, and relevant data that'd help flesh out a story. But no matter how many emails you send, you can't even get a "thanks for sending" response.
First of all, it's not you. Well, actually it sort of is you. It's you and every other fledgling founder out there. Think of what your reporter's inbox must look like. It probably looks like some gross mashup of The Matrix and the Great Dismal Swamp. The point is, most email pitches go unread. Not because they're crappy or unrelated to what the recipient's actually interested in (though that happens A LOT). It's simply a problem of too much email in too little time.
But there are things you can do help your chances of breaking through. Here are three little tips that can make a big difference:
1. Comment on stories.
Bloggers and reporters keep an eye on the comments made on their posts or articles. Some even get comment notifications. So you should (brace yourself)…comment on their articles. But don't just cut and paste your email pitch. That sort of thing doesn't add to the conversation. Capture what the article or post made you think. Add some experiential insight. Don't be salesy. And don't be anonymous. You want to get noticed after all, right?
2. Engage on Twitter.
Just about every reporter or blogger is on Twitter. It's a way for them not only to circulate their content, but also to engage with sources, readers, amplifiers and more. So, again, get ready for some rocket science… engage with them on Twitter. Follow them. Retweet their posts. Mention them. Respond to questions they post. Much like commenting, go easy on the sales pitch. And don't be discouraged if they don't reply immediately. They see you (likely on their phone).
3. Go to their events.
Bloggers and reporters are always doing talks. No, you probably don't want to put all your eggs in the "I'll meet her at SXSW" basket, but you do want to keep tabs on what they're doing in real life. (Professional life, not personal.) If you make the effort to go out and hear a reporter sit on a panel or give a talk and if the setting is right, you can definitely make some hay in the relationship-development department.
So the fact that your emails are going unanswered is no reason to give up hope. You have lots of channels to tap. Just do so in a way that's natural and of actual value to the bloggers/reporters (and their audience) that you hope to befriend.
What's an effective strategy that you've found for getting a response from a reporter? Let us know your secret in the comments.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Dave Clarke is the founder and lead strategist at AuthenticMatters, a digital strategy firm that helps companies - from web startups to brick & mortars - acquire the right customers to the right products for the right reasons. Email him at email@example.com to learn more or grab a beer if you're ever in Philly or New York.