Your business may have the best product or service in the world however, if nobody knows about it, nobody will use it. Strategy that companies normally take when approaching this problem is called pr outreach. As part of it, they find journalists and bloggers that are willing to write about services like theirs, reach out to them to let them know about theit service and hope that certain percentage of these people are going to either mention them or link back to their content. Normally, this only works if the content you’re promoting is not salesy, but adds value instead. However, producing quality content is outside of the scope of this article so we’ll start from the assumption you already have content that people would link to based on merit. In this column, we’re going to look into how to actually find these people and reach out to them.
The anatomy of successful reachout.
Having stellar content is not enough on its own to run a successful email outreach campaign. As I like to say it, I’ve seen som many things succeed that should never succeed, and so many thing fail that should never fail. But if it’s not just the content, then what is it? It all boils down to being in the right place, having the right thing, being surrounded by right people, and saying the right thing. At the right time. Simple, right?
While a combination of all these things may sound intimidating at first, don’t be afraid. You already have the hardest things to get out of all these – great content! Now we just need to relevant opportunities to promote that content. And that’s exactly what subsequent sections of this article going to cover.
The outreach opportunity
Whatever it is your content is about, chances are that lots of bloggers and journalists are already writing about similar things. If not from the solution perspective, then from a problem perspective which is just as good. If not even better because if your content solves a specific problem, then your content would be a perfect fit for an article where people speak about that particular problem. You just need to know what to look for. However, things are not always black and white. For example, if you’re offering legal services, it may make sense to promote your content on blogs writing about legal services. However, if you’re in the coupon & deals industry, you don’t want to promote your content on blogs offering coupons as these will be your competitors who are running them. In such case, you want to look for content that is helpful to your target customer, which in this case are consumers. Think about “consumer information” and “how to save money with your monthly shopping” kind of content. Whatever it is, your content is helping someone. You just need to find where that someone goes, what are their target interests and outreach to people running such outlets. Now, what would that be for your particular case? Stop for a second and think about it.
Finding responsible editors
When you find a webpage on the internet that looks like a perfect fit for your proucts, services or content, you still need to try to get your product featured there. How successful you are in that, largely depends on whether you are communicating to the content owner of that page. Someone who has decision making powers and can actually edit that page and put your thing there. If you communicate to the person who has no editing powers, it doesn’t matter if they think your content is best in the world. Because they will still not be able to feature your offerings there.
Now, how do you find that person varies greatly. Sometimes, it’s a clear cut. Editor publishes their name directly on the article and you have it right there. Sometimes, they post a username handle not looking like a real name. However, googling for that handle may reveal their name on some other websites. And sometimes, it can be a lot more complex that that. The key here is, no matter how hard it is to find the content owner of the outreach opportunity, you have to do so if you want to have even remote chances of a successful outreach campaign.
When you have the name, you still need to contact that person somehow. Most common way of outreaching, and most cost-efficient at the same time, is emailing. But how do you find a persons email? It can be easy and it can be hard, just like finding the person name. Sometimes it’s on the page, sometimes somewhere deep on the same website, sometimes on some other website, and sometimes it can even be a contact form being the only thing you can find. Whatever way, it’s crucial to have direct person’s email before you send anything. You have a person targeted, and you want to reach out directly to them.
When you come to this point, it means you have the outreach opportunity, responsible person and their email found already. But how do you frame your email to maximize your outreach success? What do you need to put in it to catch their attention to look at your product. While there is no magic wand here, there are some best practices you can follow.
First thing, make sure you send your emails 1 by 1. Nobody likes mass email campaigns and if you email looks like another generic one, nobody will pay any attention. You want to make your email very personal. Make sure it’s obvious to the person reading it you’ve spent some time researching them, have read some of their online work and know who they are and what they do. The best way to do that is to make a genuine comment on something they wrote and to make sure you address them directly by name. This way, they know they’re dealing with someone who actually dedicated some time to this email.
Another important thing is to never ask anything in return on your first communication with a person. Acknowledge their work, introduce yourself, and subtly make them aware of your product. And how it would benefit them. Them and their readers. If your product is really relevant, solves a real pain point for them, and it is something they really need or would provide value to their readers, they will check it out themselves. Without you asking.
And don’t forget to follow up. If you get no response, it’s OK to remind them of your email. However, same rules apply. Don’t be too pushy and don’t make your reminder look like a sales pitch. Be subtle, ask politely did they get a chance to read your email and see what they think.
As we’ve seen in this article, there are a lot of ingredients going into the successful outreach recipe. And no single best way to do it. Outreach also takes a lot of time. Searching for pages, scoring them for relevance, finding editors, their contact information, doing your emails and much more. One of the most draining and time consuming part is building the actual outreach list of opportunities, responsible owners and their contact information. It takes a lot of effort, searching and browsing to do that manually. If you want to save time on that, and avoid using multiple tools and doing lots of things manually, you may look into managed services that do this. One such service is Postbag (https://postbag.co/) for example. It builds the outreach list with opportunities and finds responsible people and their email addresses from all across the web. This way, you can spend all of your time thinking about content, email approach strategies and the big picture of your outreach campaign. Or, if you have abundance of time, you can still do everything manually by searching through the internet yourself. Whatever way you choose, we wish you best of luck with your outreach efforts!