July 07, 2014
(Editor's note - This is the first post on the site we're aware of that includes a member of the Contactually team playing the ukulele and singing. You're just going to have to read to the end to see Elizabeth showing off some serious talent, heretofore unknown to the editorial staff of the blog.)
I am gathering increasing fame, and perhaps even notoriety in DC. This is because I am what my friend Meredith describes as a "force-friender". I meet people, I decide I want to be their friend, and I follow up to make it happen. My success rate is scarily close to 100%. It may even be 100%. I'm a power-friender. I guarantee that every one of the people I follow up with remembers exactly who am I. And will still remember, six months, one year, and two years from now.
"Now wait," you may be thinking. "This follow-up thing. Isn't that too simple? You can't even get your Great Aunt Sally to remember which one of the fourteen cousins you are, much less dozens of high-level executives and big whig leads that could help you grow your career
Here's the secret: It's not just any old follow-up. It's content.
Yes, content! We're living in a fast-paced, saturated media age! Everyone's ADD nowadays! Nobody's going to read that plain text email.
"But... I can't be sending off memes to heads of companies," you think.
No, you can't. But you can send relevant videos, infographics, and articles. Not only will they provide an excuse to reengage with someone (I just "happened" to "stumble across this" and I thought you'd find it interesting), but they'll also provide a reason to follow up a second time ("What'd you think of that stats graphic I sent over? Pretty crazy, right? I got to thinking after reading that article I sent you ..."). Even better, they often generate a direct response from the recipient, sparking what will surely be an interesting if not also valuable and fruitful conversation. This conversation could simply reinforce your now-growing relationship, or it could lead to another topic, and another, and perhaps eventually to a commonality or discussion of an expertise that fuels a more formal partnership.
"Ok, content", you're thinking. "Understood." But it's not like you have a library of fascinating and engaging content just lying around. What are you supposed to send out?
Do you know why Pinterest has so many active, daily users? Because pinning things to Pinterest is easy. That bright little Pinterest icon on your bookmarks bar makes it a cinch to pin anything and everything to your Pinterest board. Why is Contactually's content sharing feature so popular? Because it works the same way. I can't recall dozens of articles, videos, and graphics off the top of my head that I think might be good to share with other people in my network, but that's fine, because Contactually stores them all for me. I simply wander around the interwebs going about my daily tasks, and when I do come across something I might want to share later, I click my little "Add to Contactually" button on my bookmarks bar, make a note for whom the content might be relevant, and go on my way. Later, when I talk to someone and want to be sure to follow up, I take a quick look through my content library and use Contactually's future-send feature to schedule a content-rich email to be sent after an appropriate amount of time.
(Yes! Like dating!)
The result? I'm a Contactually content sharing feature fiend. I use that snazzy Add to Contactually button every day. I am constantly receiving feedback from clients and other network contacts about things I send them. "Thanks so much for sending this." "This was so interesting." "Thanks for all your attention and support!" People love it.
And listen, I use Contactually because I work here and it's an awesome product and I love it. But even if you don't have Contactually, you can still use Thine Ol' Favorites feature of your internet browser to bookmark content you'd like to later share.
And if you're stuck as to what to send out? Send something personal, related to you. I can't tell you the large number of people to whom I've sent videos of myself playing the ukulele. I'm not a star ukulele player. I just love it, know that most people wouldn't have the gall to send a video of themselves playing ukulele to a high-level contact, and recognize that, at the very least, the video will make the recipient remember who I am, if not generate a response.
And you know what?
It's worked -- every time.