Since launching The Growth Show podcast in February 2015, we’ve been fortunate to land interviews with some really busy people, including executives of billion-dollar businesses and founders on the cusp of building the next big thing.
For some of them, we had an “in.” Somebody knew somebody else and happily made the introduction.
But we weren’t so lucky with some of the other guests. We wanted to get in touch, but didn’t have mutual connections. So I’d send them an email — targeted, relevant to their interests, and completely custom, but still the first email I had ever sent them. In most situations, this is called a cold email. And somehow, among all of the other pitches they get for podcast interviews, speaking engagements, and business consulting, these guests noticed my emails in their inbox and actually responded.
What Is a Cold Email?
There isn’t a set formula for the perfect pitch-based email. In fact, cold emails — messages that are sent to many recipients without any previous relationship or conversation with them — are widely discouraged in the marketing industry. And if you send commercial emails to recipients living in Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires that your contacts opt in to the message before receiving it.
So how did I manage to get a response from the guests I wanted to host on our podcast?
Although the emails I sent did serve to help develop our brand, media relations follows a slightly different etiquette than your average email marketing campaign when communicating to the brands you want to work with. See the bullet points below to get a general sense of that etiquette:
- Pitch an idea, not a subscription.
- Address one person, not dozens.
- If there’s something in it for both parties, you’re more likely to get a response.
It’s true. Some of our show’s desired guests employ PR reps whose job is to manage the type of outreach I was sending.
My experience contacting potential podcast guests doesn’t mean you have to be a member of the press to send an email to someone you’ve never met. However, it does mean you need to be careful with whom at a company you reach out to, what your message is offering them, and how you landed their email address in the first place.
Below are a few things you can do to give yourself the best chance at getting a response. This advice will help you whether you are trying to find a guest for your podcast, network with a member of your industry, or even pitch a local reporter to get some solid earned media attention.
How to Write a Cold Email That Isn’t Actually Cold
HubSpot customers: It is against HubSpot’s Acceptable Use Policy to email multiple sales or marketing leads, with whom you’ve had no prior conversation (also known as “cold emails”), when creating email sequences through a HubSpot product. The following information …read more
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