7 Ways to Make Sure Your Next Outreach Attempts Aren’t Ignored
October 17, 2016
As marketers, one of the toughest parts of our job is to drum up support and interest in our client’s product or service. Sure, if you’re client created water on Mars, the calls are going to roll in from press contacts, but for the more mundane items there is a bit more heavy lifting to be done in order to gain online interest, mentions and sales. The good news, however, is that there is a niche for everyone and no matter who your client, chances are there is an online community who will take interest – you just have to find them and more importantly, know what to say when you do. Here are some tips to help you get the coveted “re:” in your inbox.
- Read. Read.Read.
Just like you or I don’t like getting irrelevant emails in our inbox, neither do journalists or influential bloggers, so it’s important to make sure that what you’re sending is on target for their audience. The best way to do this? Take some time to actually read what they’re writing about and get a bit of their background. While this obviously makes outreach more time consuming initially, it goes a long way in increasing your success rate. So technically, it’s actually a time saver!
Read up on some of the pieces your target has written about (and yes, it’s smart to go deeper than just the first page), and try to find a common thread between their writings and what you’re trying to promote. Mentioning this in your outreach email means they don’t have to work to see the connection, you’re handing it right to them.
Also, make sure you read their guidelines. A lot of bloggers share information about how they communicate with brands and if you don’t play by their rules you’re automatically disqualifying yourself. If they say they don’t accept guest posts, believe them, and make sure you don’t pitch one. If they require PR emails to be sent to a specific inbox, don’t send it to the general one. These tiny details go a long way in making sure your message is seen and heard.
- Use the Right Email Address
One of the best “tricks” that I’ve picked up over the years is to send all outreach communications via the client’s branded email address. For example email@example.com vs. firstname.lastname@example.org. Why? This mimics a more genuine experience. While it may partially be unwarranted, PR gets a bad rep – especially among bloggers and other influencers – so in some cases, they may be more willing to dismiss your claims if it’s clear you’re coming from a hired PR agency. On the other hand, sending from your client’s branded email address and stating that you work with the brand can give the impression that you’re more of a stakeholder in the business, and that you’ll be able to provide details, without the red tape or delays that may be associated with a PR rep.
- Keep an Eye Out for Brand Mentions
One popular tactic among SEOs has been to search for unlinked mentions of your brand so you can reach out to the publishers and ask them to send a link your way. While this is a solid strategy for the technical side of things, as marketers we should understand that brand mentions have the opportunity to produce much more than a link.
Search for both linked and unlinked brand mentions using Moz Fresh Web Explorer and advanced search operators, to reach out to individuals and build a relationship that can ultimately lead to more coverage. If your target has already written about your brand, the positive association is there for them and their audience. Sending a simple note like the one below can have a great response and get you additional coverage.
I hope your day is going well. My name is Megan and I work with [insert company name]. I’m writing because I recently came across your article on the Huffington Post, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and I wanted to also reach out to say thank you for your mention of [business name]. We always appreciate support as we continue to expand across the nation. Please let me know if you’re interested in collaborating on any additional pieces.
Thanks for your time.
- Use Social Media to Find Outreach Targets
Social media is a powerful tool, not just for communicating with existing consumers but for identifying potential consumers or individuals who would be interested in your product or service. Using tools like BuzzSumo or simply performing twitter searches of popular hashtags that relate to your business can help you identify who is part of that conversation and give you a chance to reach out.
For example, at Brighthaus we work with a client who produces a motion sickness remedy. A simple search for #motionsick turns out dozens of individuals, some of whom are bloggers, who experience motion sickness. We took the liberty to reach out to them and send a sample of our product. This helped us immediately gain new consumers, and also get brand mentions on their blog.
- Be Clear With What You Want
It’s important to recognize that when you’re reaching out to influencers you need to make them do as little work as possible to see why they should write about your brand. Connect the dots for them and show them the value to them and their audience right off the bat. A line like, “I think this would be a great fit for your audience because…” is a simple thing to include that can help get you a positive response.
It’s also important not to be vague about exactly what you want when reaching out. Do you want to submit a guest post? Have the blogger do a review? Host a Contest on their site? Cut to the chase rather than make the influencer play the guessing game.
- Search Competitor Backlinks
While it’s important to make sure that you cultivate a unique marketing strategy for your client rather than copycat a competitor, there is no rule against using what’s already built to your advantage. Pulling backlinks of some of your top competitors can help you identify websites and individuals who are interested in your industry. Once you find a domain, do a “site:” search for your competitors name to see how and when it was mentioned on the site. You can then plan your messaging around that information, making it easier to show the influencer that you’ve read their posts, and you have some relevant for their readers.
- Be Relentless With Your Email Search
Some influencers make it more difficult than others to find their contact information, but that doesn’t mean you should give up if it isn’t front and center on their “contact” page. And, finding the write contact information is imperative to getting your message seen. If you’re unable to find an email address, first start by checking their social channels to see if one is listed. If there is no luck there, use DomainTools.com to search for the domain owner’s email address. If again you have no luck, try searching for the influencers name in Google – you may come across another site they own or contribute to. Yes, it can seem just a bit stalker-ish but it’s all worth it in the end. And, if all else fails make sure you connect with them on social media, down the road this may open the door for a conversation that can mean big returns for your brand.
Give It a Shot
Every industry, client and target influencer is unique so it’s important to make sure that all outreach attempts are customized. A tactic that may work on one blogger, may not be a perfect fit for another. Pay attention to the cues they give off on their site, and social channels to customize your message and ultimately get better results.