Currently writing you from a backwards facing train seat somewhere between London and Leeds. I'm in the UK for the next two weeks, and so excited about it. For those who are a little shady on Alexa Shoen Life History Trivia, I did my Masters (in Jazz Performance!) at a conservatory in Leeds and it's a devastatingly special place to me. Though, from what I can tell, it's usually like that for anyone who traveled somewhere in their early twenties. It just... stays with a person.
So, I've been blabbing on for the last few weeks about soft skill stuff--which is terribly important, but I am forever aiming towards a mixture of motivation and legitimately actionable sh*t with these emails. Meaning this week, it's back to some good ole' Alexa-tested networking tactics.
Because--and I say this with as much humility as I can muster--I am the One True Master of Getting in Touch with Literally Anyone On The Internet. Today, I present to you a case study on what that really entails.
Case Study Number One: Alexa Pitches A Branded Event To OkCupid
If you follow me on Snapchat, you already know that I've decided I want to do a pop-up event this year. Specifically, I want to do an online dating pop-up shop in Berlin--where people can come and get a saucy new photo of themselves and maybe sit one-on-one with a copywriter who can spruce up their profile a bit. Plus beer and coffee and music.
Sounds fun, right? Yes. But you know what would be more fun? Getting it sponsored by OkCupid or Tinder (who are actually owned by the same parent company these days, but I digress). So, here's what I did:
(1) I went to the OkCupid About page. Every company or website you love has one, often buried somewhere in small font at the bottom of the website. To my delight, the OkCupid About page is brilliantly well-designed and features photos of every single person who works at the company. Excellent!
(2) I found the right people. In this case, I was looking for someone who leads Marketing or Partnerships. Someone who had a budget. Someone who would be interested in the kind of event I described. I saw two employee options that would fit these requirements.
(3) I moved on over to Twitter. Both of these two people had Twitter accounts. How could I tell it was them? Well, because the names matched up and the photos and/or descriptions were similar to their OkCupid biographies.
(4) I started Tweeting about how much I loved the OkCupid About page, and CC'd the people I wanted to target. One of them Tweeted back at me.
(5) I went in for the ask. I Tweeted her back and said, "Hey, I'm putting together an online dating pop-up and I'm looking for partners. Who's the right person to email?" She said it was, in fact, her. She Tweeted me her work email address.
(6) I immediately followed up. I mean, like, within the next 45 minutes. The number one piece of advice I can give at any time is this: If you have an opening, go. Move. Quickly. Don't hesitate. Just move.
(7) I sent a detailed email, introducing myself and the event--and explaining what I was looking for from her. I quickly explained that I was a creative director in Berlin, and that I was putting together this pop-up shop. I literally addressed the sections of the email as "What is it?" and "When is it?" as if I was writing out an invitation to a seven-year-old's birthday party.
Most importantly, I closed the email with the *specific* ask. I was looking for a sponsorship stipend in exchange for branding the entire event as an OkCupid affair, and I would be happy to discuss brand standards and more specifics if she was interested.
She emailed me back within minutes (!). "We're actually in the process of translating OkCupid into German right now, and we know Berlin is a big market for us. I also know that rental space is relatively cheap in Berlin--so this might not be a bad idea. Can you send me a detailed budget and brief to look over?"
(8) I immediately followed up, again. I wrote her back to say thanks and to tell her that I could (of course!) get her a brief and budget to look at--I'd have it back to her by Friday.
(9) I delivered ahead of schedule. I sent her the brief/budget the very next day.
That was just about a week ago. I'll follow up with her today or tomorrow to see if I can answer some more questions or get her on the phone to seal the deal. It may not work out, but that part's not really up to me. It's up to timing, budget, internal priorities, etc--as it is with every project ever at any company on this green earth.
Either way: I can now tell people I'm in talks to design an event for OkCupid--or at least that I got to pitch it to them. Add it to the resume, eh?
I'll leave it there for today. The backwards train seat is making me a little dizzy.
PS: Did you like this newsletter? Share it--or subscribe your friends without their permission. Jokes! I would never suggest that. But I mean, if you do it of your own accord, I can't really do anything about it.