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The Best LinkedIn Invitation I've Ever Received

by Ann Handley  |  
February 28, 2007

I get a lot of invitations to connect on the LinkedIn networking exchange. It might be because I'm desirable as a key professional contact (ha!), but I sense it's more because my email address is plastered all over MarketingProfs. Whatever.

In most cases, I get the typical canned letter suggested by LinkedIn: "Hi Ann! I noticed you on LinkedIn. I've been using it too–blah blah blah–."
Then today, this arrived– from my friend Charlie O'Donnell of Oddcast. Hands down, it's the most inviting LindedIn invitation that's ever landed in my inbox. In fact, in a post-Oscar week spirit, this is the Best Single LinkedIn Invitation I've Ever Received. Charlie .... you rock, for your character and your honesty, or at least your truthiness.
Here's the invitation:

Spring training has started and I'm trying to make the Mets roster. I think I've got a shot at replacing submariner Chad Bradford. In case that doesn't work out, I'm going to take two seconds to write a mildly creative and entertaining invitation, even though you know what this whole thing is about and any text is probably unnecessary.
So link to me, and then I'll troll your network for opportunities, contacts, dates, etc... all the while getting your permission at every step. Pretty soon, your network will realize that I'm a far more interesting person than you are, and one by one, they'll probably unlink you. You'll wind up alone in a bar somewhere, and probably wind up in a fight. Several haymakers and a black eye later, you'll wonder where all your friends went and you'll only have yourself, Reid Hoffman, Sequoia and Greylock to blame. :)
Of course, I'm joking...
Obviously, you can't blame the VC's.
-- Charlie

– and heck, yes -- I accepted him! I couldn't possibly pass up the opportunity to exploit his hard-earned network, either, could I? Because -- trust me -- this guy knows how to network... !

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Ann Handley is chief content officer of MarketingProfs, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Ridiculously Good Content, and co-author of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules. Ann co-founded, one of the first sources of interactive marketing news and commentary.

Twitter: @MarketingProfs and @AnnHandley.

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  • by William Wed Feb 28, 2007 via blog

    Thank you for sharing, Ann. I obviously need to cross the Mets off the list of teams, I'm trying out for this year... It would be interesting for someone to do a call out on creative/good invites and showcase them. I believe it would encourage better writing (we know we get enough complaints/what not to do) and be a positive force. Cheers from TiVo

  • by David Armano Wed Feb 28, 2007 via blog

    Hey–wait a minute! I got the same exact invite. *Sigh. And I thought I was "special"

  • by Ann Handley Wed Feb 28, 2007 via blog

    That's exactly it, William... I wish more people put more thought into this stuff. Make it stand out. Make it fun to read. Have fun. Be different. LinkedIn should sponsor a contest... how fun would that be? David -- LOL... Have no doubt you are special. You da man....

  • by Roger von Oech Wed Feb 28, 2007 via blog

    Nice piece. Call me unsophisticated, but whatdoes LinkedIn do for you? I'm part of the network, and receive LinkedIn invites all the time. But what does it really do for you? Has it made a significant difference in your business? What aren't I seeing? Signed, Just Asking in California

  • by Adrianne Thu Mar 1, 2007 via blog

    Thanks for sharing! I'll be using his request as a template, including minor modifications, for my future invitations on LinkedIn and XING. Who can resist me then? Sure beats the heck out of the standard templates you get. Adrianne

  • by Erlend F. Thu Mar 1, 2007 via blog

    I'm also linked in... but I haven'r really made it work for me yet. So I'm curious for an answer to Just Asking's question ;)

  • by Chris Parente Thu Mar 1, 2007 via blog

    I'm with Roger in California -- is it really effective? I get invites and ignore, am I missing the boat?

  • by Harry Joiner Thu Mar 1, 2007 via blog

    Hi Roger, My 2 cents ... As a marketing recruiter I think Linked-In rocks. Since most Linked-In users use their personal email addresses for their Linked-In accounts, you are almost certain to cut through the clutter whenever you send an InMail. At least that has been my experience ... although "list fatigue" is getting to be a problem with Linked-In. ("List fatigue" is a direct mail / email marketing term which refers to a contact being over-mailed and becoming annoyed with the list and unsubscribing or blacklisting the sender.) Having said that, Linked-In does two things for me: 1.) It credibalizes me to have a high-quality network. People contact me all the time to join their network, and I usually accept ~10% of the time. We are all known by the company we keep, and the "Harry Joiner" brand is all about high quality. I want to be the Mercedes Benz of marketing headhunters, which means that I can't link to Yugo-level executives without it dumbing down my brand. I know that makes me sound like a total asshole. But the way Linked-In works is that when people who don't know me click on my name, there's a field to the right which tells the user who we know in common. I want to know the person only through the very best people in their industry -- which puts a "halo effect" around my bio. On Linked-In, quality trumps quantity. 2.) It enables hiring managers to find me, and it enables me to find candidates. "Many a live wire would be a dead one were it not for his connections." Linked-In will extend your reach. That may seem like a curse when too many Yugo-caliber people reach out to you now. But someday you might need to use Linked-In to market yourself to the Mercedes set, and Linked-In can be a powerful tool for that if judiciously used. Harry Joiner

  • by Jo Masterson Fri Mar 2, 2007 via blog

    I too really like Linked in. People move around a lot and email addresses change. With Linked in it is easy to keep track of contacts (even if I did not know they moved on.) Thanks to you and the great invite example, my next invite will definatly be more interesting. Jo Masterson

  • by Ann Handley Fri Mar 2, 2007 via blog

    I don't leverage LinkedIn to nearly the degree Harry does... but like Jo, it does allow me to keep up to date with friends and colleagues who change positions or switch companies. Just today, I learned that my friend Dana has a new job -- which is useful to know, since I needed to chat with him. I also like to know who knows who.... so that I can be introduced to someone I'd like to contact. It's a rich, user-friendly database.

  • by greg verdino Fri Mar 2, 2007 via blog

    Too funny.A coworker put me in touch with charlie this week and he enticed me to meet over lunch by emailing me a picture of bald headed internet guys. How could I say no. But ann-how come we're not connected on linked in???

  • by Ann Handley Fri Mar 2, 2007 via blog

    Damn. Why are all the coolest marketers bald and male? I feel profoundly disadvantaged...

  • by Jason Alba Mon Mar 19, 2007 via blog

    I'm late to this post (came here from Execunet's blog) but have always been interested in the template invitation subject. I wrote a post a few weeks back on how I don't really care how I'm invited, and since then have gotten a number of invites using the template :p I guess I should have chosen my position a little better. Also, I linked to a blog post by Scott Allen about alternatives to the templates, including invitations from a valley girl, hanz and franz, an SMS person (that's text messaging),... and more.

  • by Franz Glaus Mon Jan 26, 2009 via blog

    well, jason, i'm franz ...

  • by Catherine Mattice Mon Sep 7, 2009 via blog

    I might be the only one on your list of commentators that has this to say... I like it because it's creative and different. BUT send something like to someone without a sense of humor and it's going to backfire. It seems a little like the idea of sending a resume that's too crazy to an HR dept. While it might seem like a good idea, most will tell you if you're a little too outlandish your resume will end up in the garbage. Just something to think about before sending a message like the one you cite here.

  • by Steve M Mon Dec 7, 2009 via blog

    I like LinkedIn because of the groups. By joining groups that you have an interest in, or want to get to know, you then have easy access to them. This is a great place for you to establish yourself as an authority in any field or subject.

  • by Wendy Soucie Wed Oct 27, 2010 via blog

    Funny, when I posted the content of that message in the invitation box, LinkedIn message says its too long. They force you to be creative in very few characters. Was it an Inmail? If you have a free account, your normal invite has some character limitations. Although this was nice, and clever. not everyone would be able to use this.

    The satire works when you know someone.


  • by cjl Tue Nov 2, 2010 via blog

    Could not have been a real invite as the text is too long: You have exceeded the maximum length by 555 character(s).

  • by video to mp4 Wed Oct 5, 2011 via blog

    hahah this is really the best LinkedIn invitation I've ever seen, thanks for posting as I'm pretty sure many people would use this idea. It's a lot better than a regular boring message:)

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