What You’ll Learn in This Lesson
You’ll learn how to get the word out about your product, services, or content by reaching out to influencers in a way that’s effective and scalable – without losing that personal touch.
Table of Contents
- Why is Promoting My Products/Services/Content Important?
- Step 1: Sort Your Database for Good Opportunities
- Step 2: Create an Outreach Template
- Step 3: Write a Great Outreach Message
- Performing Outreach in BuzzStream
- Step 4: Open the Outreach Module
- Step 5: Select a Template
- Step 6: Select Your Email Address
- Step 7: Customize Your Email
- Step 8: Send Your Email – Now or Later
(If you already know why you need to promote your work to get attention, you can skip this section.)
Many people – particularly those who come from technical or creative backgrounds – detest marketing and think that a strong offering is all that’s required to succeed in the world.
Unfortunately, that’s just not true. History is littered with great products, great services, and great content – that were far better than the competition, and yet never succeeded.
Distribution is the hardest challenge in a world with too many products, too many services, and too much content, and this is especially true in 2016. To put it simply, if you don’t tell people about your content and product, they won’t get seen.
Good Outreach vs Bad Outreach
Now, there’s a scummy, spammy way to do this, and a way that adds value to the recipients of your messages.
The spammy approach is not a true option– even though it can work – not only because it’s rapidly becoming less effective, but because you’ll heavily damage your brand. (You don’t want to be the company that sends those spammy link requests, do you?) Instead, we want to strive for outreach emails that provide real value to your recipients, in other words, “good” outreach emails.
Good Outreach Emails
Great outreach emails are value-additive – they tell the recipient about something they didn’t know, that’s relevant to them, and offers substantive value.
Great outreach emails are Personalized, Positioned, and Persuasive:
- Personalized – Only the recipient could get them, and it’s clear to the recipient. You can tell in a second if you’re on a mass email list – and this is especially obvious to busy bloggers and site owners who get them constantly.
- Positioned – Why is your offering a good fit for the recipient? How will it help them accomplish their goals?
- Persuasive – Which of Robert Cialdini’s 6 Persuasive Triggers are you invoking? Does it have social proof? Scarcity? Authority? Something Else?
Now that you know a little about good emails and bad emails, let’s look at how to do outreach in BuzzStream.
Step 1: Sort Your Database for Good Opportunities
Let’s say I’ve helped create a new iPad app and I want to promote it. I’ll start by filtering my database to find everyone who’d be interested in reviewing my app. Lots of blogs don’t review iPad apps, or they only review apps for kids, or aren’t a good fit for some other reason, so we won’t approach them.
Should I pitch to everyone in my database?
While some people may tell you something like, “Pitch Everyone! It doesn’t cost you anything,” we haven’t found that to be a good approach. I’ve yet to see a busy blogger say, “Well, I’ve never done anything like this before and this isn’t really what I write about, but I’ll cover this!”
Additionally, if you repeatedly appear in a blogger or journalist’s inbox with irrelevant pitches, you can count on not getting your email opened when you have something relevant.
Making your list in BuzzStream
Let’s say you want to find blogs that feature fitness infographics with a Domain Authority above 40.
To start, click on the Filter Button:
Which will bring up the ‘Filter’ options:
Here, you can filter by a large variety of criteria, including:
- Tags (We highly recommend tagging opportunities so you can find them in the future. Tagging strategies and structure will be covered in a future lesson.)
- Which Team Member that Contact is Assigned To (We’ll discuss team management further in a future lesson)
- Website Type (in case you’ve added to that field)
- Link Type (in case you’ve filled that field out)
- Relationship Stage
- Contact History (when you added or last contacted that person)
- Email Template Used for Outreach
- Location (if you’ve added a location)
- Scoring and Metrics (so you can filter by Domain Authority or Rating)
In this example, let’s say you’ve been tagging your leads, so you’ll start by opening the ‘Tags’ dialog.
Now, when you sort by tag, you can find lists of certain kinds of properties:
Click on “fitness” to filter by websites tagged with “fitness.”
Now you’ve sorted your database by sites that are fitness-related, and would be interested in your fitness infographic.
Next, to find all of those sites that have a Domain Authority above 40, you’ll click on the ‘Scoring and Metrics’ tab:
This tab opens to show you some dropdown menus:
To sort by Domain Authority, add “40” to the ‘Domain Authority” Field, and then select “>=” from the dropdown.
Press ‘Done,’ and now you have a filtered list of websites that are perfect for your campaign.
You can always see what filters are active in the upper left, above the grid:
Step 2: Create an Outreach Template
Getting Ready for Outreach
(These next steps will only be possible for you if you’ve connected your email account to BuzzStream. If you haven’t done that yet, here’s a step by step walkthrough on how to connect your email.)
We’ll start by creating a template.
What’s the Best Way to Use Templates without Losing That Personal Touch?
It’s almost never appropriate to send an unpersonalized email template. Bloggers get lots of emails – when you send a template email, it’s very obvious.
However, the reality is that sections of your email – like a press release, information about how to download an app, or a link to a piece of content – will be the same from email to email.
That’s why you can use templates as a starting place to write a personalized email. Emails can be personalized just before you send them in BuzzStream, so you can make the standard section your email part of the template, and then customize it before you send it out.
How to Make a Template
To make a new template, start by clicking on the ‘Outreach’ button in the main navigation:
Then select ‘Create Template’ from the dropdown:
Now you’ll see the template creation screen:
Start by naming your template – in this case, “Fitness Infographic Pitch #1.”
It can be helpful to name your templates with numbers at the end, or some other way to identify different versions of your pitch from one another. That way, if you decide to try an alternate version of your pitch (with a different value proposition, description or even subject line), you can see which version receives the best response.
You can select whether to share this template with your coworkers, or to keep it to yourself. Additionally, you can choose whether to show this template in all of your projects, or just in that specific project. You can always change these options later.
One of the great things about having all of your outreach data in one place is that you can use it across your entire project – from prospecting, to record keeping, to outreach, and reporting.
BuzzStream has a series of dynamic merge fields, which add information from your BuzzStream account and contact records to your outreach emails:
You can use fields like:
- Website Name
- First Name
- Last Name
- User Name
And any custom fields you add to BuzzStream in your emails. These fields will be automatically filled in with information from your BuzzStream account when you prepare your outreach emails.
If you haven’t added this data to BuzzStream, don’t worry – BuzzStream won’t send an email without that information. Instead, it will be shown as blank before you send it, and BuzzStream will suggest you fill it in.
Writing Effective Outreach Emails
Next, I’ll choose a subject line and start writing the base of my message.
What should you write? Ask 10 outreach specialists what’s the key to a great email, and you’ll get 10 different answers.
Some best practices are:
- Don’t be too long, but don’t force the blogger to do additional research about who you are, what you represent, what you’re offering, or why it’s unique. A good email is long enough to cover everything and no longer.
- Tailor your pitch to the blogger. Busy bloggers get lots of pitches, so you’ll want to stand out.
- Show you’ve actually read the blog. Make reference to something specific about it.
- It can be better to try to get an engaged response before you make an ask, especially for hobby bloggers.
- Whenever possible, it’s better to get an introduction to the blogger in question. You’ll always have a credibility problem cold-emailing influential people.
- Always think about it from the perspective of the publication and the blogger – how does your offering help them?
- Have they covered the topic before? What do they think about it? Do a quick site search with Google’s “site:” command and see if they’ve covered your material before.
- Try to do something for the blogger/site owner before you ask them to do something for you – at least share or comment on an article before you ask them to do something for you.
Writing Your Outreach Template
Start with an email subject. Different outreach professionals swear by different methodologies – from simple request-oriented plates, to sharp, clever lines designed to stand out in a crowded inbox.
In this case, you’re trying to get people to feature your infographic, so use something like:
“New calisthenics infographic for [Website Name]”
You can also test a different subject line and appeal like:
“Make your readers sweat — in a good way”
In this case, go ahead and put subject line 1 in the subject line field:
Now it’s time for the email message.
Try something like this:
You can start with “Hi [firstname],” and BuzzStream will automatically populate the first name into that field.
If there’s not a first name in BuzzStream, this will appear blank, and you can put it in yourself.
If you don’t know the site owner’s name, you can go with “Hi (name of site) team,” and avoid addressing anyone as “Webmaster” or “Blogger.” People hate that.
Always make the section you need to personalize impossible for you to ignore. We recommend giving the section its own paragraph, typing [PERSONALIZE PERSONALIZE PERSONALIZE], and highlighting it in bright yellow so you don’t forget to change it when you send out the email.
In this section, try to reference a recent post or something else unique about the blog, so the author will know you’ve looked at their site and this isn’t just another mass email blast.
For example, if you email padgadget.com, you might mention something about how you enjoy their Flashback Friday series, or have been using their app tracker to do trend analysis and how you appreciate that resource.
In this case, your ‘ask’ from iPad blog to iPad blog is going to be essentially the same – will you review the app and write about it?
There’s some ideas to keep in mind when crafting your emails:
- Social Proof: If you have a relationship with a publication or author that your contact will recognize, name drop them. For example, you could mention another magazine that’s covered your app, or talk about the number of positive reviews your product has gotten to show the recipient your pitch is worth their time.
- Make it clear why you’re contacting the site: A sentence like “We want to go out to the iPad community…” would do it.
- Give them an incentive to respond: One way is to include a sentence like “Let me know if that sounds good and I’ll send over a promo code…” Of course, you could send someone the promo code in the first email and that would be okay, but a call to action and required engagement increases the chance that your recipient will actually complete your big ask.
Try ending your outreach email with “Thanks, [User First Name]” That way, other people on your team can use this template, and BuzzStream will automatically put in their name into that dynamic field.
Now, press “Save”, and BuzzStream will add this template to your template collection:
Now that you have your email template ready, it’s time to reach out to bloggers.
To start, go back to the Websites tab filtered on websites tagged with “fitness” and have a Domain Authority of 40 or more.
Now it’s time to select the contacts you want to reach out to. In this case, it’s all of them in your filter.
Because you’re selecting all of these contacts, click the Select All box at the left, to the top of the grid:
Now it’s time to reach out to these selected contacts.
There are three ways to reach out to contacts through BuzzStream – through the Outreach Module, the BuzzMarker, and the BuzzBar.
If you have a well-maintained list and a pitch that doesn’t require a lot of customization to the individual blog, the Outreach Module is more efficient. If you need to customize each pitch heavily, or are less familiar with the blogs you’re working with, the BuzzMarker is the better option because you can see the sites you’re reaching out to. Try both methods and see which one works better for your projects.
The Outreach Module in the Websites & People Tab
You can also email contacts through the Websites and People tab.
To start, select the sites you want to reach out to, and click the Outreach button:
Then select Start Outreach from the Outreach dropdown:
Then, you’ll be prompted to select a template:
BuzzStream records your the number of times a template has been sent, its open rate, click rate and response rate, so you can understand at a glance which of your messages are the most successful.
To select a template, click its Start Outreach button.
Next, the Outreach Module will open:
On the left, you can see your history with the contact – including notes you and your team members have added and previous communications.
You can also see links you’ve added to BuzzStream in the Links tab, contact information and social accounts in the Profile Info tab, and the 10 most recent posts on the blog in the RSS Feed tab.
On the right hand side of the screen, you can see your email, and all of the options around selecting outbound emails and templates, like setting follow-up reminders, and setting up open and clickthrough tracking.
Select Your Outgoing Email
Again, this feature will be more useful if you have multiple clients, but you can select your email from the dropdown to personalize who the email comes from.
Next, customize your email. Add some personal details about the blog based on our notes, with the right And customize it for iLounge.com:
Now you can send that email immediately by clicking on Send and go to next contact:
Or schedule it to be sent at a later date, through Send later:
No matter which way you send the email, BuzzStream automatically loads up the next contact in your list and fills out merge fields. It also adds the email you sent to that website’s history, as well as changing the relationship stage to ‘attempting to reach’.
Congratulations! You Finished Lesson 3!
Well, that was a tough lesson, but you got through it. Now you can bask in the buzz, links, social shares, and mentions you’ll receive with your newly found wizard-like promotion skills.