So, you’ve created a pretty special piece of content.It’s insightful, intelligent, offers a solution and you’re a bit darn chuffed with yourself. But what now?
How do you inject your enthusiasm into others? How do you make sure people - the right people - stop and take notice? How do you ensure your knowledge is heard, seen, digested and shared?
Content marketing doesn’t stop at creating a meaningful piece of content. And I think that’s one of the key lessons for anyone getting started with it: you need to get it out there.
So, how about a little outreach?
What is it?
Outreach is all about working with key influencers in your industry to get your content in front of a wider, targeted audience. In effect, in front of the influencer’s audience.
Whether it’s a leading magazine, a social media superstar, or a quality blogger - as long as their audience is relevant to your brand, collaborating with them could prove to be a really beneficial strategy!
It can boost brand awareness, increase your social following, drive traffic to your website, and build valuable relationships. Who wouldn’t want to harness at least a couple of these benefits?
With that in mind, here are my top tips to get you those basic outreach skills you need to get your content up in lights.
1. Hunt down the right influencers
This kind of goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway. *sassy hair flick*
Because what would be the point in spending hours on a captivating piece of content, and slaving away over the perfect outreach pitch, only to have it seen by the wrong type of people?
If you really understand who your audience is (and you should), then you will know where they are spending their time online, who they are listening to, and the types of content they crave.
Work backwards from here to create a valuable list of influencers. Don’t worry - we’ve got your back…
Finding key influencers in your industry is easier than you think. Start by defining ‘the ideal’:
- Personality: Are they an informer, an authority, an activist etc.?
- Niche: If your industry can be divided into several different niches, decide which one your ideal influencer will be focussing on…
- Topic: What topic should they be creating content around? Or what topic are you interested in creating content on?
- Reach: Refer back to the objectives of your campaign. If you want to increase your social following, then your ideal influencer should be active on social media have a large, engaged audience. The definition of ‘large following’ will be different in every industry. Just because an influencer doesn’t have thousands of followers, doesn’t mean they don’t have a relevant reach. If you want to drive traffic to your website, they might be an active blogger or Editor in Chief of a popular trade magazine.
Once you’ve defined your dream influencer, hunt them down.
Monitor social media. Search for hashtags, topics and mentions of other key influencers to find new leads you’ll want to engage with. People already talking about the topics you’re focussing on will be more interested to hear from you than those who have never mentioned it before.
Keep track of Google searches with Google Alerts. This is a great way to find people actively discussing topics relevant to you - and allows you to interact with their most recent content.
If you’re targeting magazines or bloggers, take note of their Title Tags. Using the Title Tags of key influencers in Google Search could bring up some amazing websites your other searches have missed!
Find tools that work for you. There are some great tools out there that help you hunt down key influencers you should be targeting. Buzzsumo is one our favourites here at SupaReal…
It helps you find key influencers on Twitter, shows you their most recent content, and even tells you what content they have recently shared - opening your eyes to who is influencing the influencer. Think, The Matrix of the content marketing world!
Top tip: Always try and consider the influencers you want to reach before you’ve created the content.
Outreach is all about building and nurturing relationships that are going to repeatedly benefit your brand and the influencer. And communicating with these influencers ahead of your next campaign is a great way to do so.
Put the feelers out to see if anyone is going to be interested in sharing your content, and get input on what they (the experts) would like to see. They might even contribute to the end piece with a quote or some insightful data - this will not only give your content the edge, but gives them another reasons to share it!
“Influencer marketing is built on relationships, trust, and fair exchange of value.” - Bryan Kramer at #CMWorld
If no one likes the sound of it, then at least you haven’t wasted any time creating the content.
2. You are the Sherlock Holmes of social media
Once you have a list of influencers, it’s time to look under the hood.
We’ve all done a little social digging at some point...
Whether it’s a new colleague, your best friend’s new boyfriend, or your new favourite celebrity (or an Instagram famous pig in my case - @mr_bacon_the_pigstar) - there’s nothing wrong with showing a little interest in someone!
And in outreach, it’s often flattering. It shows you care.
Let’s imagine you’re a blogger. A clothing brand gets in touch, asking if you’d like to review their limited edition of animal print scarves. Which of the following would bring an end to your uncontrollable email scroll?
I hope you’re well.
I’m contacting you on behalf of Sasha’s Scarves - we have recently launched a limited edition of animal print scarves and I was wondering if you’d be interested in receiving one?
You can find our range on our website, and you can choose whichever print you prefer!
I hope you’re well.
I’m contacting you on behalf of Sasha’s Scarves - we have recently launched a limited edition of animal scarves which I think you’d love!
I recently came across one of your Pinterest boards ‘In love with leopard print’, and thought that our leopard print scarf would be right up your street!
But, if you wanted to add some animal print variety to your wardrobe, feel free to pick your favourite from our full collection!
Granted, neither of those are amazing. But, by adding a little personalisation to the email, scenario 2 is far more engaging and shows that Sasha values Beth enough as an influencer to give her a little social stalk.
So what information should you be looking for?
Start by looking for content they have written or shared and pick out themes:
- Views on your industry
This could be a tweet, an article, an infographic, an eBook… whatever type of content they have created or shared, reading and understanding the purpose behind it will give you a better idea of the type of content they’d love to see from you.
And what should you do with this information?
Be proud to show off your Sherlock skills. Try linking back to a piece of content that is similar to yours, or make reference to something you’ve learnt about them.
Seeing that you care enough to research them will give them hope that you really understand what type of content they will be interested in.
3. Craft the perfect email
There are so many tips out there for crafting the perfect outreach email. But where do you start?
To ensure you get the best tips, I’ve curated some of the best. Let’s get your outreach emails hitting the sweet spot…
“Be specific. An outreach email is much like a landing page - they are both destined to convert.” - David Mercer from Marketing Profs.
Influencers are bombarded with emails everyday. Make it easy for them to absorb your email by swerving the sycophantic bullshit and getting straight to the point...
If you’re pitching an article for them to feature, tell them.
If you want them to tweet a link to your blog, tell them.
If you want them to Regram one of your posts, tell them.
As soon as they understand what you want, the sooner they can make a decision!
Keep it easy.
Don’t make them do any more work than is needed.
If you want them to check out your website or a piece of content, link them to it. Don’t expect them to spend time looking for it themselves. Because realistically, they won’t. Would you?
Making it easy for the influencer means they can avoid unnecessary work and take action quickly.
Show off your skills
There’s nothing wrong with a little showing off now and again.
If you’ve created a piece of content that shows off your talents, don’t shy away from it. Send them a link to it - it might help in the long run.
Your initial pitch might not be what they’re looking for, but if they like the look of your previous work they might be keen to work with you in the future.
“Always follow up on your pitch” - Sujan Deswal from Mention.
Remember, no response doesn’t always mean no. They could have forgotten about your initial email or could have missed it.
Follow ups are a great way to ensure influencers have received your email, and are a gentle nudge in the right direction i.e. responding to you.
But don’t pester them! Try and wait at least 72 hours after your initial email to give them time to find, and absorb your pitch. Any earlier and your persistence isn’t appealing, but rather off putting and annoying.
4. Don’t fall at the last hurdle
You’re approaching the finish line. An amazing, valuable relationship with key influencers is in sight. Don’t fall at the last hurdle!
When you get a ‘bite’ - nurture it. Always reply, thanking an influencer whether they accept or reject your content idea.
If they don’t like this campaign, maybe they’ll like the next. Keep the connection alive. They’ve taken the time to say ‘sorry, no’ so take the time back to say ‘no worries, we’ll be sure to get in touch if we have another campaign you might like.’
If they want to get involved with your content marketing efforts - and with those email skills you just learned (who wouldn’t?) - confirm what you are doing and when for. They could have guidelines for content they accept on their site, or share on social media - and if you can’t find them, make sure you ask!
There’s nothing more annoying - on both sides - than creating a 1,500 piece of content with lots of imagery, if they only accept 800 words maximum with one top level image.
Be personal, be positive, be proactive
If you’re looking for the next step to enhance your content marketing campaign, and drive awareness of your brand in front of a targeted audience - outreach could be for you.
As long as you research who you are reaching out to, and approach them in a personal and positive way, you’re onto a winner! But be proactive.
Whether you have a piece of content to outreach or not, start building relationships now. Outline what you can offer them before asking for anything in return - how does your relationship benefit them? Building a relationship up this way is far more likely to get you something in return.
Hopefully these top tips have given you some outreach skills that pay the bills - but I’d love to hear your favourite tricks for building valuable relationships with the right people.Leave a comment below or tweet us over on @SupaReal.