So far in my guide to content marketing I’ve talked about content planning, collated a huge list of content ideas, and explained why cats are so much better at marketing than dogs. Hopefully from that you’ve been able to plan, and produce, an awesome infographic/infogif/blog post/round-up/guide, but what next? Outreach of course!
Blogger outreach is a massive and crucial part of the content marketing process. There is absolutely no point pouring your resources in to something if you’re just going to upload it to your blog and let it sit there. You need to get your content in front eyes, more specifically; the right eyes. Today I’m not going to go through how to conduct outreach, or even how to find prospects, as the likes of Moz, Gregory Ciotti, Skyrocket SEO, and the BuzzStream Blog have that covered (I’d seriously recommend reading all of those articles by the way).
No, today I am going to simply offer a few easily actionable hints and tips for improving the quality of your outreach, backed up by a few celebrity faces.
Know Your Audience (Miley, I’m Looking at You!)
Wow. If you didn’t see Miley’s VMA performance, where were you? Her provocative prancing gained her a tonne of publicity, but whoever said any publicity is good publicity was seriously wrong. Search Google for her performance and you’ll see phrases such as “childhood ruining’, ‘degrading’, and ‘shocking’ show up – and that’s just on the first page. The backlash was INSANE, and all because she judged her audience incorrectly.
I’m not saying that your content is going to wrap itself in nude PVC and destroy your Disney channel persona in a matter of seconds, but pitching inappropriate content to bloggers could see you making some powerful enemies. Take a couple of minutes to see whether the sites in your prospecting list are likely to be interested in what you’ve got to offer. Have they posted about a similar topic before? Have they tweeted something that makes you think they might like your content? If you see nothing that on their site that suggests you’re barking up the wrong tree. Save them for later.
Reach for the Stars S Club 7 Style
Don’t take on S Club 7’s style; denim, bad haircuts, and awkward poses should stay in the past, but do reach for the stars when it comes to finding prospective bloggers to approach.
So many people are afraid of contacting the big names in their niche during outreach, but I’m not entirely sure why! They are content creators and marketers, just like you – so why wouldn’t you approach them with your awesome blog post/guide/infographic etc? Just because they have a big blog it doesn’t mean they don’t have interests, so if you think they’d like your work – let them know! The worst thing that’s going to happen is no response. The best thing? A link, a mention, or you gain a new friend to include in your future crowd source posts and interviews. What have you got to lose?
Don’t Have the Emotional Range of a Teaspoon like Ron Weasley
So you’ve targeted the right audience, picked a bunch of strong sites to contact, and now you’re crafting your pitch. Whilst using a template makes your life much easier and allows you to send lots of emails very quickly, templates also have a nasty habit of taking out the emotion and human element, and you’re left with a cold email that does nothing for the blogger.
I’ll admit that I do have a template, but every time I find myself conducting outreach – I delete it and craft my email from scratch. It takes little to no time to have a poke around someone’s blog, find out their likes and dislikes and a few personal details and say “hey”!
Yes, you will be sending out less emails, but the ones you do send are much higher quality, are personalised (bloggers can sniff out a template from miles away), and are likely to generate you equal, if not more, responses than your bland template did. Don’t believe me? Dana Forman gives you the low down on outreach from the bloggers point of view that is packed with actionable tips for crafting emails that get opened.
Don’t Drag It Out Like Ted Mosby
How I Met Your Mother; season 8 and we’ve only just found out who the mother is? Jeez, talk about dragging it out (plus, she’s not even all that). When you’re writing your outreach emails, remember that you’re talking to busy people. Busy people don’t have time for long emails; they want short, they want concise, they want clear.
As Peter Attia concludes in his Real Examples of Outreach Letters short and sweet works best. It allows you to fire loads out in a shorter space of time, are attention grabbing, and they get your point across right away. More emails sent equals more people who are likely to reply, now that’s the kind of maths I like!
Don’t Go Biting Heads Off a la Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy didn’t pause to think about what he was doing, and the next thing he knew he’d bitten the head off a live bat – an act that he will always be remembered for (not in a good way). If your lovely personalised outreach email was met by a demand for payment, a straight up ‘no’, or some other negative response don’t take it personally and respond with an angry email.
You know how you feel after you get the 10th recorded marketing message call of the day; the blogger you’re contacting has probably received twenty emails before yours offering them low-quality content, appallingly irrelevant guest post ideas or just pure spam. By the time they open your email, they might just be in a terrible mood and if your content offering isn’t a perfect match for their site at that moment in time then it’s likely that you’re going to get an unhappy email in response as smashing screens just isn’t a cost effective solution.
For example, I recently contacted a blogger who doesn’t normally accept guest posts. I expected to get a rejection – and I did! I emailed them back thanking them for their time, and shared a recipe with them that would be a good fit for their ingredient of the month feature. They loved it, we continued to share recipes and they’re currently reviewing my article for publication.
If I had of ignored their rejection and gotten in a sulk, that wouldn’t have happened. By taking a couple of minutes to get back to this blogger and share something I know they’ll be interested in I now have a strong contact, a tonne of blog ideas, someone I can call on to be included in crowd-source posts, a link, and a whole load of tasty recipes!
So don’t bite the bloggers head off if they don’t like your idea at first. Use it as an opportunity to build a relationship that will benefit you in the long run instead!
Have you got any celebrity outreach tips you’d like to share with me? You never know, your idea could end up being featured on the Boom blog!