Dorie Clark is my favorite go-to expert for ideas on marketing, networking, and general building-something-out-of-seemingly-nothing. And in her recent Harvard Business Review piece, "How to Reach Out to Someone Whose Career You Admire," she gives some clear and actionable examples of the best strategies you can use to improve your odds of getting a response.
I end up talking a lot about how it's so important to find real-world people doing the type of work that you're interested in doing (or that you think you might be interested in doing) as you research new opportunities, and this article provides an especially relevant perspective on how to approach informational interviewing. While I think authentic flattery is often the best opener, this bit of Dorie Clark's advice made me say "Yes!" out loud to nobody:
Successful people ... (are often) approached by people taking the role of supplicants, who only want to ask questions and glean wisdom. It’s flattering at first, but with enough volume, it can become exhausting.
(I feel like I'm obliged to say that how much you try to present yourself as a peer vs. supplicant depends on your ask - and it's pretty easy to imagine someone going overboard with it, but I love it. What we think of as "networking" can easily slip into the simultaneously boring and gross transactional space, and finding genuine connections with inspirational people is the actual point anyway.)