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The 5-Minute Email That Earned Me 200,000 Views

We are all constantly trying to get in touch with someone -- a potential sales prospect, employer, influencer, or so on. The problem here is that we need to reach someone because we need something.

But nobody cares about what we want, they care about what they want.

Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems.

-Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People

The 5-Minute Email

When most of us open a prospecting email from someone we don't know, we're not screening for value -- we're screening for how a reason to ignore the email. We think:

  • Who is emailing me (and is this spam)?
  • What do they want?
  • How long will this take?

To get positive responses to all three, I follow Matt Gratt's 3 P's of outreach:

  • Personalized: This goes beyond including a name in the greeting, into unique information that is truly only valuable to the recipient.
  • Positioned: This is a critical step in understanding when to reveal your ultimate ask of the recipient.
  • Persuasive: This is where you strategically convey a sense of urgency without begging. I recommend avoiding the word "please" all together and instead focusing on what makes this ask a mutually beneficial opportunity.

Let's delve into the last one -- persuasive.

Recently, I was interested in re-publishing one of my blog posts on LifeHacker. Here's the exact email I sent to one of their editors:


Here's what I was thinking when crafting this email:

1. I began the post by citing a mutual connection. This made me less of a stranger to her.

2. I then focused on her desired success (through Leo's work) before transitioning to my own work. This made it clear I cared about her work.

3. By attaching the post, I didn't rely on her to make any effort to ask for the post or not. She's likely very busy, and can now give my post a quick skim to decide if she's interested.

She later responded with:

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