We all know it’s important to keep in touch with networking contacts—and not just when you’re on the hunt for a new job or need a favor.

However, doing that’s often more challenging than it sounds. Maybe you tag someone you just met at a conference in a tweet, and she just favorites it. Or, perhaps you send a former boss a congratulatory email on his latest promotion, and all you get back is a “Thanks.” How can you take that relationship further if the other person is friendly, but not giving you much to hang on to?

Well, I recently stumbled upon a quick fix that only takes two minutes—and gets you a whole lot of responses from anyone in your network: Send a relevant news article.

Earlier this year, I was catching up with contacts I hadn’t spoken to in a while, and as an experiment, I sent a news article to each one with my note.

For example:

Hi Caitlin,

Long time no talk. I saw that your company just received a huge grant, and I wanted to say congratulations!

Also, I saw this story on CJR about an amazing eight-year-old journalist. I know the last time we talked you were trying to spotlight more young, aspiring writers, and she seems perfect (and not to mention pretty boss).

We should get together sometime this fall!

Best,
Lily

I sent 20 emails like this—and received 10 responses within 24 hours, as well as another seven responses over the course of the week. Out of those 17 responses, 12 of them directly led to meetings. Not too shabby, right?

Why do so many people like to respond to these messages instead of other networking emails? The level of personalization really does matter—people feel like you’re investing in them, and therefore, they want to return the favor.

So, the next time you’re sending out a “Hey, just checking in” message, send something cool from the internet, too. You’ll be doing yourself a quick and easy favor.


Photo of man emailing courtesy of Shutterstock.