Recent years saw a radical transformation of digital marketing from B2B or B2C into a new form, P2P – person to person. It’s not enough to communicate your message to your audience – smart marketers will strive to make meaningful connections with people and inspire them to tell others about the brand. Whether it’s bloggers or industry news website owners, you need to have an outreach strategy in place before you make any kind of move towards spreading your brand message. Here are top 8 hacks to help you conduct a successful outreach campaign.
1. Create lasting relationships
When it comes to online exposure, relationships are crucial – they’re the real value of any kind of outreach strategy. It doesn’t matter if you’re aiming at bloggers, journalists or editors – campaigning for one-time mentions is a loss of your time. Instead, you should always concentrate on the possibility of developing a long-lasting collaboration.
Doing this, you can only gain. If a blogger regularly mentions your brand, you’ll not only be provided with an authentic and organic content, but also benefit from a reinforced sense of the brand that might actually lead to action, instead of only awareness.
2. Deal with negative responses
Sometimes you’ll pitch your idea to a blogger or editor and get a negative response. How to deal with that? What most people don’t realize is that a ‘no’ doesn’t have to mean the end of story. In fact, a negative answer means that the person you reached out to respects you and had a good reason to refuse your pitch.
Naturally, this can become the beginning of a conversation – offering a chance for building a relationship, which might lead to coverage in the future. There is always a way around every ‘no’ – if an editor tells you that the content doesn’t fit that part of the website, you can always try to pitch it for a different section.
The key is to understand the context of the rebuttal and use it to your advantage. Be ready to improve your piece using the valuable feedback you received from editors and reach out again to those people for a follow-up.
3. Send personalized e-mails
There’s nothing wrong with using e-mail templates, but you should be aware that a generic message might not work every time. It’s near to impossible to write a message perfect for every pitch and every context – in case of e-mail templates, the line between spam and custom message can become very thin.
That’s why you should always make sure to add personalized touches to your template and make it more relevant to the receiver. Your pitch will only get the editors’ attention if the e-mail feels custom – make sure to address them by name and use a few lines of text to present yourself, pitch your content and show why you think it’s a good fit for their website.
4. Invest in content promotion
A great outreach strategy requires time and resources – and that’s something marketing managers might sometimes lack. If your communications team is always working on another project and unable to start promoting your content among professional editors and bloggers with whom they already have relationships, you need to reformulate your outreach strategy to match your resources.
Offering an exclusive to a reporter right before having your content published is something we all dream about. To make your pitch more efficient, you need to realize that content marketing will require serious investment – not only in pitching content, but building relationships as well.
Fortunately, business trends are on your side – in 2015, more managers and business owners will finally realize the power of content marketing and allocate more time and resources in pitching their brand content to online media.
5. Help bloggers in advocating for your brand
Bloggers are very powerful in some sectors and if your industry happens to be ruled by some recognized names, it’s high time you reached out and actually helped them to advocate for your brand. How to do it? By making sure bloggers have everything to make the feature happen.
A great example of such a campaign is the Oscars action of Wholly Guacamole and Daily’s Cocktails – they provided bloggers with everything you need for throwing a great party, such as product sets, vouchers, branded items and an Oscars-themed red carpet.
Another great idea, which is typically associated with blogging is organizing a giveaway – offer your products and something extra, ask the blogger if they’d like to host a giveaway and expect to get your message heard. If winners appreciate your product, they’ll share the news and their impressions to their own social networks.
6. Find second level e-mails
When pitching your content through e-mail, it’s always a good idea to look for alternative, second-level e-mail addresses. Instead of reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org in hope that your news gets noticed and published, try to go for a more personalized approach and directly contact the reporter who covered stories similar to the one you’re pitching.
Addressing an editorial team that covers lots of different subjects limits your chances at getting published – it’s true that when pitching your content to a group of people you make sure someone will get it, but a direct second-level e-mail is never a loss of your time.
7. Analyze your audience
To ensure that your outreach strategy doesn’t end up in a vacuum, you need to have a firm grasp on the intended audience of your content – only then you’ll be able to choose the right media platforms. What are their media habits? What content will they find engaging? What are their interests and motivations? You need to ask at lease those 3 questions to conduct an effective outreach strategy.
To get some real insights, use social media listening tools and monitor your audience’s activity on social networks. Be open and ask them questions about what kind of content they’d be interested in. Run research studies in focus groups and, most importantly, keep up with the competition – select your 3 most significant competitors and observe their techniques in marketing communications.
8. Define your goals
No outreach strategy will be efficient without you first defining your main objectives. Once you’ve got a clear picture of your audience, you’re ready to define your goals. Think about what kind of emotional impact you’d like to make on consumers, counting in their impressions and CPM, or the level of engagement you’re looking for – measured with likes or re-tweets.
Moreover, you should also be concerned with the receptivity of the influencer content – when selecting individuals and bloggers to approach, you need to have maximum certainty about their status in the online community. Finally, you need to determine the ROI of your campaign based on your most basic goals, which are most of the time conversions.
Successful outreach strategies are those conducted with maximum care, proper investment and personalized approach. Writing custom messages and taking time to develop relationships with editors, publishers and bloggers will all help you to profit from great coverage and outstanding content in the future.