Whether you’re doing blogger outreach or heading up a PR campaign, reaching out to a digital influencer can be a tricky business. Here are a few simple and actionable tips you can follow to ensure a smooth process with a successful outcome.
1. Do your research
Getting a feel for what a publication wants is vital. Research your prospect: make a note of their house style, examine the kind of content they’re producing, and make sure your pitch fits seamlessly into their current output.
It’s also worth categorising your prospects by type (personal website, blog, newspaper, forum, etc.) and geographical location as these are the building blocks for your initial outreach.
E.g. If you’re sending a press release to a journalist, don’t ask if they can write a ‘post’ or a ‘piece’ for their website. You’ll rarely come across these words in a newsroom, so don’t use them in your outreach. Instead, sell them the benefits of the story you’re providing and why their readers will care about it.
If the publication is particularly important to you, offer them an exclusive. This could be in the form of insightful customer data you didn’t include in the original copy, or it could be the elusive ‘local angle’ all regional newsrooms look for.
2. Be yourself
It sounds so easy – you’ve been yourself for as long as you can remember. But in the world of work, it’s often second nature to formalise your behaviour and language. That’s absolutely fine for client emails and meetings with the MD, but building relationships with prospects requires a different approach. Here are some pointers:
- Drop the corporate shtick. Most people prefer a personal touch, so don’t be scared to make conversation and find some common ground with your prospect
- Type how you talk. Use contractions – e.g. “it’s” rather than “it is”. It’s amazing how much this can change the tone of your email from wooden and confrontational to friendly and personable
- Don’t use a template to mass mail prospects – or if you really must, make sure they can’t tell that’s what you’re doing
- Think about how you sign off your email – is ‘thanks’ suitable if you’ve got no reason to say thanks? At the first point of contact ‘thanks for your time’ is a good start
3. Pick up the phone
According to The Radicati Group, we receive an average of 122 work emails per day – but how many do you actually read? Finding new ways to reach out to influencers is becoming increasingly important, whether that’s via social media (Twitter and LinkedIn are particularly great tools), a 1-2-1 in person, or over the phone.
Having a number handy for a prospect also makes chasing up opportunities easier, as you’re likely to get the instant feedback you crave when a deadline’s looming.
4. Spell check
There are hundreds of horror stories about emailing the wrong person, but in the world of outreach grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are the real relationship killers. First impressions are everything – and if a prospect doesn’t trust you to write a 50-word email without making a mistake, they’re probably not going to let you loose with their readers. For the love of Susie Dent, triple check your emails before hitting the send button!
5. Say thank you
The outreach process doesn’t end when your content’s live. While high-fiving your colleagues is a perfectly reasonable thing to do (and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise), remember to say thanks to the publication that helped make it happen – you never know when you might need them in future. Good outreach is all about nurturing relationships. Remember that and you won’t go far wrong.