The internet has broken down the long-standing hierarchy and allows us access to "famous" or "highly successful" people. We can usually find their Twitter page, Facebook page, company website, or blog and send them a message.
Of course, we aren't guaranteed a response. Many of them receive 100's or even thousands of messages a day. They are well-known authors/entrepreneurs/bloggers/personalities.
So how do we get through to them? As Tynan has shared, you need to offer them value, not to ask for anything, and hold your own.
Even with that strategy, it can be tough to offer them real value. And the very well-connected may get multiple emails per day from interested readers/fans offering them value.
Frequently, I take a different approach.
Find the right-hand man. Who is the vice-president/assistant/confidant of the #1?
The #2 is knowledgable. They are well connected, and usually receive far less contact requests than the #1. This increases your % success of getting through.
Also, down the line, if you make a good impression, they can offer you a strong introduction to the #1.
Real life application: Recently, I read an amazing book and wanted to get in touch with the author. I visited their website, and found a list of the company employees. One of them was the main contact for all operations in Latin America.
Perfect considering my line of work. I added them on LinkedIn, sent an email and they called me back the next day.
We are working on a project right now and I have already been offered to be introduced to the author (#1) when the time is right.
You can find the #2 on the company website, in the "special thanks" section of a book, podcasts, or other social media websites. The information is usually there.
If you need help formulating a similar plan. Send me a message and I will try to help you out.