Archive for the ‘Influencer Outreach’ Category

How to Pitch: Outreach Tips from Lifestyle Bloggers

We’ve talked before about best practices for pitching journalists and bloggers when you have news to share, but what should you do when your goal is partnering with a blogger to promote a product or brand? I reached out to a few lifestyle bloggers to see what they had to say about pitches, priorities, and PR people. Read their advice below.

How to Pitch (2)

First, A Little Bit About the Bloggers

I interviewed bloggers from Hither and Thither, OhDearDrea, PopCosmoand Small Fry Blog. According to Moz, the bloggers had Page and Domain Authority scores ranging from 34-54. Most have at least a few hundred linking root domains. Each of the bloggers had between 6K and 16K followers on Pinterest, 1K and 5K followers on Twitter, and 2K and 40K followers on Instagram.

Advice on Pitching and Partnerships

The bloggers talked about how many PR people screw up the basics - getting names right and making sure the blog is a fit for what they’re pitching – but they spoke more deeply of professionalism and authenticity. They don’t expect fake compliments about being a huge fan of their site. “Just be honest and be direct. We’re both professionals.” said Ashley from Hither and Thither. Bloggers expect you to respect their time, value the audiences they’ve built, and to be straightforward about your intentions.

What makes a good PR pitch stand out?

Ditch the mail merge. Personalized messages go a long way to earn bloggers’ trust. You can still use templates to save time, but you should do research and customize each message before sending.

pop-cosmo-oval

 

 “A concise, simple pitch combined with a personalized approach.” 

- PopCosmo

 

Small-Fry-Blog-Oval
“We respond to genuine, heartfelt correspondence. It’s easy to spot a canned email a mile away. Just take a moment to personalize it, actually LOOK at our site and gather intel before approaching.” 

- Small Fry Blog

 

How do you decide to work with a company you’ve never heard of before?

It’s easy for big brands, like Target, to partner with bloggers. It’s much more challenging for smaller brands to stand out. When I asked bloggers about what makes them want to work with new brands or brands they’ve never heard of, the overwhelming response was fit. They want a good fit, not just in the traditional sense of “Would my audience like this?” but fit in terms of aesthetics and brand values. They also appreciated the brands that compensate them for their time.

Hither-and-Thither-Oval

“If the product or service is relevant; if I haven’t already covered the same product/service by another brand;and if it’s clever. Sponsored posts are of course most enticing, because they value my time and support me to continue to grow the audience I’ve built.”

- Hither and Thither

 

ohdeardrea-oval

 

“Branding and style. Secondly, I do my research. If it’s not a quality company, I can’t promote it.” 

- ohdeardrea

 

Have you ever gotten unreasonable requests from PR people?

When working with bloggers, understand that they know their audiences best and understand that they’re doing you a favor. Try not to force them into a rigid promotion plan, and be respectful of their time.

ohdeardrea-oval“I’m not a blog that promotes-promotes-promotes— I like things to be thoughtful and planned out— or things that are incredibly fitting for my life. It always feels a bit off when I’m contacted from companies (big and small, but especially the big ones) asking for a lot of free or trade work. My blog isn’t one big ad— no one would stop to care about it if it was. What I write is valuable, to me at least, so I don’t like when companies act as if it’s not.”

- ohdeardrea

Hither-and-Thither-Oval

“Unreasonable… no. But if you’d like coverage free of charge, be clear about: “would you be interested in sharing this with your readers?” Don’t pretend like it’s a fabulous opportunity to hand out free advertising, even if I might be interested in arranging that.”

- Hither and Thither

 

pop-cosmo-oval
“We just had a PR company repeatedly asked us to promote an event in a city where we are not located. And we had another PR company that kept sending the same request over and over. We wanted to work with them and responded, but they never answered.”

- PopCosmo

Small-Fry-Blog-Oval
“We understand that every company has requirements and goals to meet for campaigns but flexibility is key! Don’t ask us to re-write a tweet because we said May 23rd instead of May 23. True story.”

- Small Fry Blog

 

What do you expect from the PR people you work with?

Blogger expectations for PR people are very reasonable. They want you to respect their time and do your research (a theme present in almost all of the interview responses.) They expect you to be reasonable, too. Putting posts together is a lot of work on their end, especially for beautiful, photo-heavy blogs like these.

Hither-and-Thither-Oval “[I want] respect for my time. Also, it’s nice when others are mindful about how quickly they send a follow-up email: I’m not in a traditional office (most bloggers are not), so if I don’t get back to you that day please don’t send the follow-up the very next day. Give it at least three, ideally a week, unless it’s terribly time-sensitive. Also, a pitch that doesn’t require a reply does not warrant a follow-up email.”

- Hither and Thither

pop-cosmo-oval

“Firstly, to know who we (Popcosmo) are. We are not just a teen site, although one of us is a teen! (Our blog appeals to moms, teens and everyone in-between.) With such a wide demographic, both moms and daughters visit, but a lot of 20-30 year olds love our site and are huge fans of our #ChicChat on Twitter… but some PR folks just see read the latest story and don’t check our “About” page. It’s obvious who takes the extra 2 minutes.”

- PopCosmo

ohdeardrea-oval

  “[I expect PR people to have] an understanding of the business. I want to work with companies that know the business well. Companies that don’t just see a large number, without looking in the engagement. And companies that understand that yes, maybe hashtags are useful and catchy, but different blogs and audiences work different ways— so there needs to be a flexibility at times.”

- ohdeardrea

Small-Fry-Blog-Oval“Flexibility, respect for the work, a genuine knowledge of what our site represents and promotes. One thing that is frustrating about blogging is that some companies want to put all their emphasis on clicks, and conversion etc. But, that same company is willing to pay top dollar to grace the pages of a magazine where they have no physical proof of any conversion at all. They’re paying for their presence. And their paying for taking up a page in that magazine. In a way it should be the same for blogging. Taking up a post or a day on a blog is worth something in and of itself. You can’t always track success for that kind of promotion.”

- Small Fry Blog

Bottom Line: Be Professional

Bloggers understand that you’re a marketing professional and not just a fan of their site. They’re professionals, too. Every blogger I interviewed said she spends at least an hour on every post she writes (in addition to the time spent taking and editing photos) and even longer on posts that are sponsored by brands. Be open to bloggers’ ideas about what will work on their sites and what will resonate with their audiences.

Additionally, think about how you can make these partnerships even more valuable. All of the bloggers I talked to mentioned monitoring traffic/pageviews, and many talked about having specific social media goals. You as a PR person have a lot of power to drive traffic via social media and promotion. If you can use your brand’s channels to promote their posts, you’ll help them meet their own goals… and everybody wins.

About the Bloggers

Here’s a little more about the bloggers I worked with and where you can find them.

mh-small

Small-Fry-Blog-Oval

URL: http://www.smallfryblog.com

About: Children’s lifestyle blog

Run by: Nicole, Emily, and Jenna

Instagramsmallfryblog -37K followers

Twitter: @smallfryblog – 4K followers

Pinterest: smallfryblog – 14K followers

 

 

mh-popcosmo

pop-cosmo-oval

URL: http://www.popcosmo.com

About: Lifestyle blog (for teens and moms)

Run by: Mother-daughter duo Kim & Chloe

Instagram popcosmo -2K followers

Twitter: @popcosmo - 4K followers

Pinterest: popcosmo - 7K followers

 

 

mh-ohdeardrea

ohdeardrea-oval

URL: http://ohdeardrea.blogspot.com

About: Lifestyle blog with a focus on natural living

Run by: Andrea Duclos (Drea)

Instagram: ohdeardrea  -30K followers

Twitter: @ohdeardrea - 2K followers

Pinterest: ohdeardrea - 4K followers

 

mh-hither

Hither-and-Thither-Oval

URL: http://www.hitherandthither.net

About: Lifestyle and travel blog

Run by: Ashley Muir Bruhn

Instagram: ashleymuirbruhn  -2.5K followers

Twitter: @ashleymuirbruhn - 2K followers

Pinterest: ashleymuirbruhn - 10K followers

 

Learn More about How to Pitch

Check out our previous post (by @kevin_raposo) on how to pitch journalists. If you’d like to see a certain group featured in our next round of interviews, or if you’re a blogger and have opinions to share, please get in touch: Stephanie@BuzzStream.com 

 

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Using Google+ Ripples to Find Influencers

Today’s post comes from Amanda DiSilvestro, a writer from SEO company HigherVisibility. Amanda regularly writes on search optimization and influencer marketing.  

Most people know the ten or twenty biggest influencers in their industry, but what many don’t realize is that there are actually quite a few people out there who maybe aren’t quite as publicized and popular, but still have a lot of pull within certain communities. Google+ Ripples is one tool that can help you find these influencers.

How Google+ Ripples Work

Google+ Ripples is a feature of Google+ that allows you to see who has been re-sharing the posts you’ve shared on Google+, along with who they’ve been sharing the posts with.

As you might imagine, the way these ripples can look varies greatly based on the number of people who publicly shared the post (ripples don’t show private shares). As you can see in the screenshots below, they can appear complicated:

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Or they can appear to be very simple:

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Those who have shared the post the most often and with the most people will appear as larger bubbles. You can zoom in and out as you wish with the tool on the left hand side of the screenshots. This is particularly useful for those complicated posts because you are able to see the specific names of people who have shared.

A list of everyone who has shared the post also appears on the right hand side. If you put your cursor over any one of the names, you can see what that person said about the post and connect with them easily if you’re interested in building a relationship.

Watch the Post Spread

Under the ripple image, you will have a small graph that will show you how the post has spread across the network over time. If you move the dial to go backwards in time, the ripple image will change based on what was going on with the spread of the post at that time. The screenshot below shows what that first screenshot above looked like on February 24, 2014, along with the dial on the bottom:

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This is more of a cool-looking feature than anything else, but it can definitely give you an idea of who started the ripple and help you manage the information by breaking it into smaller, more manageable chunks.

Influencers, Statistics, and Languages

Lastly, you have the option to look at several statistics. These will tell you who earned the most public shares for your post, the languages that people used to engage with the post, and the length of a chain. The statistics are right at the bottom of the page and look like this:

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How to Find Ripples:

Click the small gray arrow next to any post you see on your homefeed and choose “View Ripples.” Remember that only public posts are shown with ripples, so if someone didn’t share something publicly, this option will not exist.

How to Use Google+ Ripples to Find Influencers

Using all of the information Ripples can offer is actually easier than it looks:

  1. Start with people who have big circles or are explicitly listed in the “influencers” section at the bottom. These are the people to connect with immediately to start building a relationship.
  2. Visit an influencer’s Google+ page and see what content he/she is sharing. View the ripple of the content they shared and discover where the post came from initially. You’ll quickly learn who is influencing your influencers. Consider building relationships with these people and websites, too.
  3. Compare the ripples for different types of posts you’ve shared. Look for trends about which content performs the best and try to find patterns about how things are being shared. Do one or two influencers seem pivotal in getting a post to take off? If so, you might want to manually reach out to them the next time you have something to share.

Bonus Tip: Scott Langdon, managing partner of HigherVisibility says that you should always keep an eye out for some of the influencers you recognize. He said, “You may also notice that one of those very top influencers is connected with someone or something associated with your ripple. Follow the ripple to see where it all started so that you can hopefully have that influencer get involved again.”

In the end, having your posts shared by someone who has a large following (particularly a following that is also apt to share) is a great way to get your posts out there to a larger audience. The image can definitely seem overwhelming at first, but once you understand what the bubbles mean it can actually be fun!

Have you used Google+ Ripples in the past? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Webinar Recap: 500 Writers and Editors on How to Pitch

Perfect Pitches

Kelsey Libert, VP of Marketing, and Ryan McConagill, Promotions Supervisor, oversee the Media Relations team at Frac.tl. Libert and McConagill partnered with BuzzStream for a webinar to share exclusive research on what publishers want for content creation and media outreach. They interviewed over 500 writers, editors, and publishers to present a story about a noise:value ratio that has gotten out of whack.

Libert created a survey that helps us master the art of the perfect pitch. Here are her findings:

 

And here’s the video from the webinar:

 

Did you know: In 2014 the US department of labor announced that for every single journalist, there are 5 PR professionals beating down that writers’ door. Editorial voices are outnumbered by PR professionals by almost 5:1 and on average, PR pros earn 40% more than journalists.

Q: About how many stories do you write per day?45% of writers write one story per day
The majority of people you’re pitching to only write ONE STORY per day. These are not favorable odds. Therefore, it is imperative that you craft a perfect pitch.

Q: About how many pitches do you receive per day?

How many pitches writers receive per day

Although most writers publish one story per day, 44% of them get pitched a minimum of TWENTY TIMES per day. According to Harvard Business Review, the average worker receives 12,000 emails a year, while writers at top tier publications receive 38,000. Because of this, many writers are unsubscribing – so make sure to never put writers on mailing lists unless they have given you permission. Make sure to wait until after big conventions to follow up or send a pitch- sending one while the writer is at a convention will be a waste of time.

Q: How often do you write a story based on something that was sent through a pitch?

How often do writers write a story based off a pitch?

Although writers are inundated with pitches, only 11% often write a story based on content that was sent through a pitch. However, 45% said sometimes, so there is an opportunity for change. Here are some tips on how to find out if the writer is a perfect fit for your content…

1) You want to make sure you’re doing your research. Go through the writers’ posts  from several months back, and go through publisher’s bio.

2) Look at their twitter timelines to get a sense of their personality.

3) The Principle of Liking, based off a Northwestern Law Study states, “The degree to which we perceive another person to be similar to ourselves in traits and attitudes and to be worthy of our generosity or assistance, depends on the extent to which we perceive a personal connection with that person, no matter how trivial.”

4) Do a cursory google search for the writer.

Outreach Strategies

Q: Would you rather be pitched ideas that you can collaborate on or get a finished asset?


Would you rather be pitched ideas that you can collaborate on or get a finished asset?

STOP spamming writers with poorly matched assets. Instead, collaborate on mutually beneficial ideas. Here are some tips on how to go about collaborating…

1) Tap into existing publisher relationships to see if they would be open to collaborating.

2) Try to collaborate with editors.

3) Always use a static asset, a lot of publishers have said that their content management systems can’t handle embedding interactive content

4) Have your standard assets smaller with your option to make them bigger upon publisher requests (work with designers, many publishers can only hold content 600 pixels wide).

5) Don’t make the pitch all about you, it should be about your relationship with the writer and how you’re connected in some fashion

Q: What characteristics does the perfect piece of content possess?

What characteristics does the perfect piece of content possess?

There is a vast difference between what writers prefer.

Q: What types of content do you wish you saw more?

What types of content do you wish you saw more?

Networking Lesson

Q: How important is it for a person to establish a personal connection with you before pitching content?

How important is it for a person to establish a personal connection with you before pitching content?

Strive to make a personal connection with every writer that you pitch. 64% of writers think it is of some importance that you establish a personal connection before pitching. Use Twitter as a platform to socialize with your prospects weeks prior to the pitch. Engage in blog posts. Try to get on their radar and connect on a personal level by favoriting or retweeting their tweets. Dig deeper than just “hey great post I really liked it.” Write them a friendly email if you’ve noticed an error or a typo to engage in conversation.

Q: Which of the following channels do you prefer to be pitched on?

Q: Which of the following channels do you prefer to be pitched on?

Put down your cell phone. Stop spamming on social media. Start writing sincere emails to the best-fit person for your campaign. Use CRM such as BuzzStream to manage your relationships.

Pitch Lesson

Q: What time of day do you preferred to be pitched?

Q: What time of day do you preferred to be pitched?

Use a pre-scheduling tool, like BuzzStream, to send your emails in the early morning hours. Pitches are generally more successful when sent during the mornings on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Enable a pitch freeze around holidays and long weekends.

Q: What email length do you prefer?

What email length do you prefer?

88% of writers prefer a pitch be less than 200 words. Make sure to check your word count before sending. Get to the meat of the data as soon as possible. Make sure your intro has value and isn’t just fluffy.

Q: Do you open an email based on its subject line?Q: Do you open an email based on its subject line?

Test your subject lines in your inbox. What stands out? The golden rule is 45-65 characters. Have a call to action. Don’t be vague, be descriptive.

Q: Which of the following subject lines catches your attention the most?

Q: Which of the following subject lines catches your attention the most?

An overwhelming number said they want a subject line that is:

  • Direct
  • Concise
  • Descriptive
  • Includes keywords relevant to the writer’s beat

Q: How likely are you to delete a pitch based on a spelling/grammar error, regardless of the content’s quality?

Q: How likely are you to delete a pitch based on a spelling/grammar error, regardless of the content’s quality?

Avoid errors by clearing your head and taking a walk before sending your pitch.

Q: Do you auto-delete pitches that contain certain words?

Q: Do you auto-delete pitches that contain certain words?

Refrain from using these words in your pitches at all costs.

Q: If you could give 1-3 points of feedback to people who pitch to you, what would you say?

  • Do your research
  • Know the publication
  • Be relevant
  • Make it newsworthy
  • Know my beat
  • Don’t use all caps
  • Be personal
  • Be concise
  • Don’t cold call
  • Does it fit my beat?
  • Use spellcheck
  • No giant attachments
  • Don’t pitch on social media
  • Know my audience
  • Avoid phony friendliness
  • Get my name right
  • Avoid the fluff
  • Tailor your subject lines

Q: What characteristics does the perfect piece of content possess?

  • If your content isn’t top notch, the pitch isn’t going to matter
  • Breaking news
  • Exclusive research
  • Emotional stories
  • Timeliness
  • Relevance
  • Data
  • New hook
  • A story
  • Interview opportunities
  • Data visualizations
  • Useful information
  • Innovative
  • Interesting analysis
  • Storytelling
  • Well-researched
  • Meets editorial mission
  • Original content
  • Solutions to problems
  • Engaging
  • Amusing
  • Useful insights
  • Humor
  • Unique Angles
  • High-quality graphics

 

Do the findings match your experiences? Share them below or tweet to us @BuzzStream. You can also follow Kelsey and Ryan, our wonderful webinar speakers.

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How to Pitch: Outreach Tips from Journalists

Today’s post comes from BuzzStream customer , who handles outreach and PR for SimpliSafe. You can find him on the SimpliSafe blog or on Twitter

I’ve watched plenty of journalists vent about useless, lame, and irrelevant pitches on my Twitter feed. So I decided to reach out to them, and asked them to offer me an idea of what kind of pitches they would actually like to receive — the kind that will make them hit “reply” instead of “recycle.” This is the best list of tips I’ve seen, straight from the source.

Plus, I’ll provide one final tip that will make your pitching and outreach flawless.

But first, the Pitching Wall of Shame:

WallofShameJournalists from TIME, Fast Company, Ars Technica, Engadget and more complaining about bad pitches

 

Just Want to Get Something Off My Chest…

Before I go any further, I just want to make this point: journalists are people too. If you treat them like some sort of email landfill, then you’re probably going to fail miserably at this career. The people that get the best results are the ones who put in that extra effort and time. At the the end of the day, do you want to get covered once? Or do you want to have a relationship that garners lifetime results?

I’ll let you think about it for a while…

 

Advice Straight From The Horse’s Mouth

You’ve heard this before, and you’re probably going to hear it another million times: Be familiar with the type of stories a certain publication and journalist publishes.

“I can’t tell you how many pitches I get for completely unrelated topics” Dan Seifert an editor at The Verge told me in an email.

Knowing who you’re pitching is such a critical component of the pitch. Seriously, this is important.

Alright, let’s jump right in:
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Targeting Mid-Level Influencers with FollowerWonk and BuzzStream

As marketers, we often talk about building relationships with influencers. Sometimes, though, it makes more sense to connect with the people in the middle. They’re usually pretty persuasive to their small followings, but they just haven’t hit “major influencer” status yet. Here’s a walkthrough of how you can use FollowerWonk and BuzzStream to find and reach them, using a real-life example, a campaign from our recent ebook launch.

 

Targeting-InfluencersTargeting emerging influencers and niche experts can lead to campaign success.

When we launched the Advanced Guide to Content Promotion last month, I created a tiered outreach strategy to promote it, heavily focusing on “emerging influencers” and “niche experts.” Together with some paid amplification efforts, that strategy helped us earn thousands of views and hundreds of shares. I relied heavily on FollowerWonk and BuzzStream to do it.

Prep Work: Strategy, Personas, and Goals

Just like we recommend in the book, I began by identifying and prioritizing target audiences. Getting in front of (and helping) “Forward-Thinking Link Builders” was my primary goal.

Creating the top tier prospect list was easy. I know our industry pretty well and could easily list twenty heavy-hitting SEO super influencers (and, lucky for me, BuzzStream already had a relationship with most of them).

But the bulk of my list needed to be what I call “emerging influencers” and “niche experts.” These aren’t the superstar CEOs, but the people who are a few years into their career. They’re beginning to develop specialities and personal brands. Some of them might be managers, others not, but they’re all still pretty close to the daily work of content promotion, link building, strategy, and outreach.

I cared most about these guys, because they’d be the ones who would find the most value in our guide. (It was written with them in mind.) They’re also the ones who can be very persuasive inside organizations and on teams. I did hope they’d read and Tweet the guide, but, really, I wanted them to read it, learn from it, and share it with their coworkers and bosses.

 

Using FollowerWonk to Find Influencers

Using tactics similar to what Richard Baxter shared in his 2013 MozCon presentation (this is sort of like what he did, but reverse) and lessons my teammate Matt Gratt learned with targeted Twitter advertising, I decided to use FollowerWonk to build our list of emerging influencers and niche experts.

 

Influencers-Followers

We started with influencers and used FollowerWonk to find their audiences.

 

First, I brainstormed groups of two highly specialized experts for various disciplines (e.g., Paddy Moogan and Jon Cooper for link building; Adria Saracino and Kelsey Libert for content and outreach). I was familiar enough with the industry to do this without the help of any tools, but had it been a new industry, I would have turned to BuzzSumo.

I loaded each duo and the @BuzzStream twitter handle into FollowerWonk to get a list of people following the three accounts.

It was important to me that I only selected people who were already following @BuzzStream, because it meant I could be confident they were at least somewhat aware of us and had, in a sense, opted in to hearing what we have to say.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 7.40.19 PM

We focused on the people who followed all three accounts.

I always chose to pull the triple-overlap group. (If you follow Paddy Moogan AND Jon Cooper AND BuzzStream, you’re probably quite interested in link building.) And, in some cases, I pulled groups that followed only one of the influencers and BuzzStream.

I created a bunch of Excel reports in FollowerWonk and downloaded them all.

 

Cleaning the Data: Filtering the List

I combined all of the documents and then removed duplicates (there were a lot.) Next, I sorted by follower count. A lot of the superstar CEO influencers floated to the top of the list, and I deleted them out, since they’d already been accounted for elsewhere. I also deleted anyone who had less than 150 followers.

Using Excel’s filters, I got rid of inactive accounts by excluding people whose most recent tweet was earlier than Jan 2014 and people who had tweeted less than 100 times. To address spam accounts, I only included people who had a follower number greater than the number of people they were following.

Basically, I whittled down my list until it had about 100 people, which was a reasonable amount of outreach for the time I had allotted.

 

BuzzStream for Outreach and Followups

I saved my doc as a .csv and uploaded it to BuzzStream (Note: I was working in the People section of BuzzStream, not the Website section.) BuzzStream automatically matched FollowerWonk fields to contact records.

I tested a few different outreach templates and personalized them pretty heavily. Since I’m an active member of the community I was reaching out to, it was easy for me to bring up personal connections. I could mention conferences we’d both attended, stuff they’ve written that I liked, friends we had in common, etc.

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 2.08.37 PM

Sending outreach in BuzzStream.

 

The template that performed the best was personalized, fairly short, and featured a friendly request for a share.

 

Our Results

Response to the guide was very positive. Lots of people shared on Twitter and a bunch let me know that they’d also shared with their teams internally. We got a lot of views, and — with the exception of a small list of things we’d do differently next time — we deemed the project a success.

The outreach has proven successful in other ways, too. So far, it’s led to people pinging us when they have content of their own that our audience might like, a delicious coffee meeting that involved insightful conversation about the industry and our work, and a bunch of shoutouts in presentations and blog posts.

 

Conclusion

Getting linked to or written about on huge sites is great, but sometimes smaller niche blogs make more sense for your business. Going after the mid-level influencers and niche experts can drive the right views from the right people (and great links, too).

How do you create prospect lists? Where do you go to find influencers? Leave a comment below or talk to us on Twitter.

 

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Infographic Outreach Tips

Today’s guest post comes from BuzzStream customer Adrienne Erin. Adrienne is a writer and online PR specialist at WebpageFX

Have you ever heard the expression “work smarter, not harder?” It sounds like one of those things your dad might tell you during an awkward heart-to-heart. However, they’re great words to live by, and they’re especially true when it comes to outreach. When you’re trying to gain coverage for an outstanding infographic, you should be using your brain a lot more than your keyboard.

Traditional tactics involve blasting hundreds of bloggers and journalists with a single impersonal pitch that often gets ignored or deleted (which means working harder to get results). A much better approach is to strategically target a smaller list of bloggers and journalists with customized messages (working smarter).

These infographic outreach tips can help you figure out where to target your pitch, how to tailor it to the right person and how to give your infographic that extra push when other outreach efforts aren’t working.

 

Some Infographics Were Born to Succeed

Sometimes an infographic seems destined for success. It has a compelling topic, it’s timely, it has killer graphics and great data, and it presents an awesome, engaging story. It’s also incredibly shareable, meaning it appeals to lots of different people interested in lots of different things and gets a lot of pass-along traffic from social networks.

This is, of course, the holy grail of infographics, and it makes your job a whole lot easier. Still, even an infographic that works in every way needs a little push to get started, and that is where you come in.

 

What Makes a Good InfographicComponents of a Good Infographic (via Dashburst)

 

Find Your Targets

Good outreach for infographics requires some creativity. Think about the unique attributes of your infographic, and make a list of obvious sites where it could be pitched. Most people stop after that step, but you should take it a step further. How can you reimagine this infographic so that it fits on other, less-obvious sites? Now you’re on your way to a successful placement.

Say you have an infographic focused on the soccer player Pele. An obvious place to pitch it would be a soccer site; Pele is the most famous soccer player in the world, after all, so that’s a natural fit. You might even open it up another step and try to share it with more general sports sites. This is when you should take the extra step. Why not try pitching a site about Brazilian culture, since Pele hails from Brazil? You could even try pitching a site for retired folks, since Pele is now 73 years old. 

The key is to think outside the box. Here’s a real-life illustration. A cool motion graphic about how bath salts turn people into zombies would seem made for health and addiction sites. Yet it found a home in the Weird News section of The Huffington Post, where it went viral in fall 2013. That’s a perfect example of reimagining what categories might fit an infographic.

 

Huffington Post Weird News featuring the Zombie Infographic

 

Make Sure You Pitch the Right People

No matter how incredible, awesome and life-changing your infographic is, if you pitch it to the wrong person, that pitch is going right into the trash bin. Take the time to look over the publication’s list of employees and who writes for the section that best fits your infographic. Better yet, look at the stories people have posted and approach someone who’s written about your topic in the past.

Pay attention to details. Don’t send your tech infographic to the sports editor. Make sure you use the right name and the right publication, too. You’d be surprised how often people mess that up.

Make sure you’re not targeting a one-time contributor, who may not write for the publication regularly. Instead, target a staff writer whose bylines pepper the site. Then personalize your pitch. I’ll try to find something that I have in common with the person I’m pitching by reading over their bio. You may notice, for example, that you went to the same school as the person you’re pitching, so note this shared connection. (“You went to Vista College? Me too!”)

 

Sometimes an Infographic Needs a Helping Hand

Not every infographic you pitch is going to be rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes a client’s industry isn’t very glamorous, or the topic is a bit of a reach, or it’s simply a matter of bad timing (your client sells bikinis and the country’s experiencing a major cold front). This will happen from time to time. It’s not the end of the world; you just need to pay this infographic a bit of extra attention.

 

The Guestographic Strategy

Guestographics are basically a mash-up of guest blogging and infographics. You’re essentially using the tactic of guest blogging to help distribute the graphic and get it the links it deserves. There are five steps, as laid out by Backlinko’s Brian Dean, who coined the word:

  1. Make an infographic and post it on your site.
  2. Research sites that cover the topic your infographic covers.
  3. Contact those sites and show them your infographic.
  4. Offer to write a robust post on the topic of your infographic..
  5. Include your infographic in the post. 

The selling point here is that you are providing the added value. You are giving the site free content and you also have control over where your infographic is reproduced and what is written about it. It’s a win-win strategy when you’re trying to place those infographics that don’t fit into categories covered by most blogs.

 

Don’t Quite Shoot for the Stars

Common infographic promotion strategy involves reaching out to people at huge publications and trying to sell them on the infographic. But if you’re getting no success from what is otherwise high-quality outreach to these people, try aiming for smaller sites.

I don’t mean start auto-publishing copies of the graphic on low-quality article directories or across a blog network. That’s more likely to get you in trouble these days than to help you and your client. However, think about it: bloggers on smaller sites are not getting inundated with infographic requests the way journalists and high-profile editors are. They are far more likely to respond positively to a polite email sharing the infographic, especially in combination with the guestographic strategy.

 

Do Whatever You Can

Sometimes an infographic just isn’t catching on, despite your wide and varied outreach efforts. Then it’s time to reconcile yourself with the fact that you simply have to do what you can. Try any of these strategies:

  • Publish it on infographic submission sites.
  • Write a post about the infographic and how it relates to another industry that you write about frequently, and publish it on a blog you already have a relationship with.
  • Reach out to someone you’ve had success with before.
  • Forgive yourself and move on.

Honestly, not every infographic is going to be a smashing success. As long as you’ve tried all of the strategies outlined here, you can take comfort in the fact that you gave it your best shot — you worked smarter, not harder, which is the best way to do any job.

 

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6 Ways to Make Link Building Outreach More Effective

Today’s post comes from BuzzStream customer Brian Dean, founder of Backlinko.com. He started his SEO career back in 2008, when article directories and blog comment backlinks were all the rage. Since then he’s built his namesake on discovering and sharing outside the box link building strategies.

Let’s face it: email outreach link building is monotonous, boring, and time consuming.

But you know what? It works!

In fact, I don’t know what I would do without my secret stash of proven email outreach templates. But I do know one thing: I wouldn’t be ranking for anything remotely competitive.

If you use BuzzStream then you don’t need any convincing about the power of email outreach. You already use the tool to build relationships (and links) with the movers and shakers in your niche.

That’s great.

But you may not realize what a small difference in conversions can make in your campaigns.

Think about it this way: let’s say that you send out 500 emails per month with a 2% conversion rate. That’s 120 links per year.

Not bad.

But if you bump that figure up to 5% you can turn those same emails into 300 links!

Today I’m going to share with you 6 simple ways that you can get more links from every batch of emails that you send out.

#1: Separate Your Prospects Into Tiers

Outreach is a give and take between personalization and speed. The more you personalize, the better your responses. But all that personalization takes time.

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How to Build Quality Inbound Links in 2013

In case you missed yesterday’s Market Motive Webinar with Paul May and Captain Todd Malicoat, we’ve embedded the slides here.

The Webinar covered:

  • Creating a Link Building Strategy for 2013
  • Finding Great Link Opportunities
  • Creating Personas and Understanding What Motivates Your Target Segments
  • Writing Great Outreach Emails

and more.

 

Big thanks to Todd and the Market Motive team for having us on – we had a great time.

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6 Link Outreach Tips & Tricks

Here at BuzzStream, we keep our ear to the ground about the latest and greatest in content promotion and outreach techniques.  Here are 6 cool tips and tricks we’ve seen lately:

Use Custom Search Engines or the Site: Modifier to Learn More About Your Prospect Site

When I look at a new site for outreach, I ask myself, “Have they written about me before? How about my competitors? Have they written about my main topics previously?” 

Now, I could read the whole blog, and for particularly high-value prospects, I’ll take this approach.  Otherwise, I want to get the ‘greatest hits’ of my brand, my competitors, and my relevant topics.

To do this, I’ll use a site: query, with my brand name, my competitor’s brand names, and some relevant keywords.  (When we do this for BuzzStream, we look for things like keywords like “influencer marketing” – you’ll have to play with the keywords to understand what’s too broad versus too narrow.) 

Now I have a digest of what that blogger has written about my brand, my competitor’s brand, and my outreach themes, so I can refer to these in outreach.

Engage with People that Pin Your Content

While finding and engaging with people who follow your brand or client but haven’t yet linked on Twitter is well documented, this method is extensible to any social network.  It’s harder to implement and requires a little legwork, but it can be very, very valuable, especially to brands with a strong Pinterest presence.

Download the Pinterest Bookmarklet from Aaron Friedman’s website.  This bookmarklet gives you a list of users that have repined your content.

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The 3 Ps of Great Outreach Emails: Personalized, Positioned, and Persuasive

Today we return to the topic of better outreach emails.

Anatomy of a Terrible, Terrible Email

At BuzzStream, we periodically receive link outreach emails.  Some are good – like high quality guest post pitches, where the author has built a relationship and made something excellent – and some are not so good. 

Let’s look at one of the not-so-good:

I don’t want to out anyone, so I’ve removed the email and referenced sites.

Why didn’t this email get a link?

-          It wasn’t personalized.  Our blog is written by a person – not customer-service.

-          It’s not positioned – the resources she suggests have nothing to do with our site, and frankly don’t belong there.

-          And it’s not persuasive. I have no idea why these area code or zip code are better than any other resources.

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