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Whether you’re in PR, linkbuilding, or other forms of digital marketing, one part of your job might be reaching out to bloggers with requests for coverage or links. As a veteran blogger, I’ve been sent thousands of pitches and replied to only a small percentage of them.
Recently, I’ve begun reaching out to bloggers with requests of my own and have used many of the tactics that worked on me to win them over.
I should keep them to myself, as less competition will help me ultimately succeed more with more and more blogs, but I will release five of the best tips that will help you increase the effectiveness of your outreach.
Keep the Request Quick and Direct
The problem with most outreach emails I receive is that the sender is trying too hard to convince me to fulfill their request.
People constantly want to set up phone meetings or video chats to rope you into listening to their pitch. If you do this, please stop. The average writer/blogger doesn’t have time for that in 2015. We’re trying to juggle multiple stories at once and anything extra could bring us down like a house of cards.
The solution? Keep it quick and be direct.
The only times I reply to an email pitching me on a product or service is when the request is quick and direct. You want me to write a post about your line of products, link to your site in an older post, tweet that your company is awesome, or whatever other request you have–just tell me that.
I don’t need to know some BS about why I should do it, just give me the details so I can decide whether or not I’m interested. This leads me to my next point…
If you want a better chance of getting replies and requests fulfilled, go above and beyond for the recipient. Don’t just say, “Hey, would love if you checked this out and did something with it.” Because unless the product or service your pitching stands out as perfect for the blogger or ground-breaking in its industry, the blogger needs to do most of the heavy lifting.
Take the time to give each individual blogger suggestions on how they can integrate your content into theirs. Whether that’s straight up offering a free sample or trial of service to suggest a review or sending a post idea with an outline they can use.
The idea is to make yourself stand out from the crowd of press releases and spam that tend to accumulate in a blogger’s email and make yourself useful!
Everyone claims to be busy, but bloggers really are busy. So when you suggest a phone call to discuss your pitch in more detail, they start to hyperventilate.
The last thing someone with deadlines needs is to waste time on a phone call when you could simply send them all of the information they need to know via email. It falls under the heavy lifting category, as this is you trying to save yourself time.
You’ve probably also been told that if you can get someone on the phone you’ll have a better shot at getting your request fulfilled. (That’s a sales tactic, and it won’t work on bloggers!)
There’s nothing wrong with sending all of the information they could ever need and also asking if they’d like to connect on a call. The problem comes when the call stands in the way of the blogger getting the initial information.
It may take you longer to complete, but I can guarantee that you’ll have a better success rate if you put all your cards on the table up front, instead of trying to reel a blogger into an unnecessary meeting.
One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to outreach is most people don’t bother personalizing the email to the recipient. They have a template and a list of email addresses, and they blindly blast email after email.
Don’t be one of those people!
Go beyond just adding in your target’s name and get to know them. You may find they hate unsolicited emails, prefer to be pitched at a different email address, or enjoy the convenience of talking on Twitter or other social networks.
You can also discover things about them to mention in your email. You don’t want to stroke their ego too much, as that comes off as disingenuous, but try to make a connection between what they do and your pitch.
This might not always work, but most bloggers are active on social media, especially Twitter. This makes it easy to find and follow most bloggers, get to know them a bit more, and get their attention.
Now, the goal here is to get their attention BEFORE you send your pitch. Make them think you discovered them on social media instead of through their site, as that will make your pitch look less crafted for linkbuilding or press value. This means waiting at least a day or two after following and interacting with them on Twitter before sending your pitch.
They likely go through new followers every day or two, so there’s a good chance they saw you or your brand’s name. If they then check their email and see it again, there’s a good chance they’ll read it to see what you have to say.
Have fun with outreach, and don’t get caught up in the cycle of templates and blasting emails. You can have a ton of success by simply putting in extra work and targeting your outreach to the right people!