When I first started using BuzzStream for Taylor & Hart’s internal outreach 6 months ago, I was completely unfamiliar with its functionalities and, needless to say, too proud to admit that an online platform could outdo my personal efforts in PR.
Coming from a country where endless phone calls to journalists and influencers, befriending them on Facebook, and ‘bribing’ them with small gifts are accepted outreach tactics, I was only familiar with these aggressive approaches, which were very different from my personal idea of leveraging soft skills and building real relationships.
Very soon, however, it became clear to me that the digital outreach assistance a tool like BuzzStream only facilitates my job and humanizes my efforts, putting it at the top of my list of PR resources I trust.
How we pitch different audiences with BuzzStream
Working for a tech start-up specialising in custom designed engagement rings, I have many varied outreach techniques at my disposal. Our BuzzStream database has become an endless source for organisation, exploration and planning for all of our outreach activity and influencer relationships.
We organise our outreach into three main categories, each one requiring a specific approach. The categories we normally target are:
- Business and digital marketing journalists
- Niche media outlets
- Lifestyle/fashion/celebrity media
Let’s dive into each audience, and our best tips on how to reach each one.
How we reach out to business and digital marketing journalists
Things are relatively easy when we reach out to business and/or tech media outlets, as we have a lot to share about our experience as a tech startup company and the key tech functionalities that enable our business.
Our experience has been that business and digital marketing journalists are usually the most approachable and the most responsive. Because of the ever-changing nature of their field, these guys are always looking for the latest news and are really great to work with.
We make sure we know who we’re talking to
As with other media sectors, the best thing to do first is try to identify the right person to contact and figure out what they write about. We all know that journalists receive tons of information daily and your email needs to be special to them in some way.
Thus, do your research, don’t just send a press release. BuzzStream allows me to be personal, yet efficient in how I plan and send my emails to these journalists and bloggers.
We pay attention to our subject lines
As seen here, we have selected only 9 people for this outreach piece but we got 100% opens. The subject contained the three most SEO-friendly words for our type of business ( tech, jewellery, startup) and we quickly managed to engage with a short but prominent business media list of journalists.
We use Twitter to supplement our outreach
Twitter is a great way to say hi to someone who’s work you’ve been following and been interested in. This is how we got ourselves a short publication in Virgin.com and this one had to happen really fast. Literally, 5-minutes-fast. We mentioned the content manager in a tweet, saying ‘’Thanks for the follow X, also enjoy the Virgin posts.’’ Then we immediately replied to a journorequest they had posted.
In a few minutes we had exchanged direct messages, emails and got ourselves a follow link where we talked about tech tools we used in our job.
What helped us complete this outreach piece was the perfect timing to match a specific journalist’s field of competence with our own ability to deliver a brief and concrete response.
We find more influencers using BuzzStream Discovery
If we are going for a news item that has to reach as many people as possible, BuzzStream Discovery helps you organise a fairly massive stock of potential contacts, from which you’ll have to select the most relevant ones and familiarise yourself with their previous work.
We keep track of conversations and follow-up
After reaching out to that group of journalists, the rest is just to keep track of responses – hopefully a number of those guys will get back at you and if you’re persistent and show a genuine understanding of their audience and style, eventually some will. In my experience, building a relationship with a business or tech media representative is easy once you’ve kindled their interest.
Usually, due to the short deadlines those media stick to, you can start a relationship relatively soon. They are very responsive on Twitter and LinkedIn and unlike bloggers who only ‘’heart ‘’ tweets, business and marketing-orientated journalists tweet back are much more to the point. Do not waste their time with long overtures and creative writing – they will appreciate your contribution only if it is direct and straightforward.
Concrete example: Seedrs campaign garners increases in social engagement and links
We recently launched a major crowdfunding campaign at Seedrs and I relied heavily on BuzzStream to plan, structure and follow up on the people from my media list.
The round is still half-way through but we can already observe several favourable stats.
- We have raised brand awareness among jewellery writers, and more importantly – potential investors.
- Social media engagement increased by up to 20%
- Do-follow links to our Seedrs campaign increased by 30%
By following the tips we covered above, we see that whoever you’re reaching out to, make sure you get to know them first. That will give you the best shot at building a relationship, and seeing victories across different success metrics.
How we reach out to niche media outlets
Another audience that we pitch to a lot is niche media outlets, and when pitching a new product or when you have very specific news to share, we’ve learned that imagery is key. At Taylor & Hart, we specialise in bespoke engagement rings, so high-resolution and well-styled photography is a major factor when we promote our products.
Although we do have collection rings, we usually deliver on specific unique customer requests and craft our jewelry according to our customers’ specific ideas. This is where CAD designs and 3D printing come in handy and play a crucial part in outreach as one of our topical areas of interest.
It is then important to find niche media outlets that would be interested in our products – in our case it’s anything wedding and jewelry related. Those are the guys that stand between the business and the fashion side of companies. They appreciate both our beautiful designs and business model and strategy, so we need to impress them.
Internally, we secretly call them Big Easy’s, but believe you me, easy is a massive understatement. It is a matter of professionalism to be following the niche media in your field and initiate interaction at any possible chance so you don’t get out of sight.
We keep emails to the point, and let images do the talking
When pitching a product to these niche outlets, keep your emails nice and short and make sure you send your imagery both as an attached file and as a visible inserted low-res copy in the body of the email.
This piece illustrated above was about the endless possibilities of custom design. We pitched it with a giphy and lots of attached images, and earned a mention on the Huffington Post Blog. This campaign a long-term project which will certainly continue to be a source of education and inspiration for jewellery addicts.
We’re not afraid to start building a relationship from the ground up
Last thing when pitching these niche outlets: As a PR specialist, I know sending that first email can be hard.
But don’t sweat it! Do your best and hit send. The more you get out there, the more you’ll start establishing good relations with niche media, and that means you’ll have the prestige and authority you need when selling high-value products.
How we reach out to lifestyle, fashion, and celebrity media
The hardest part in my job is to reach out to lifestyle, fashion, and celebrity media. This is where it hits you that you can’t rely solely on your BuzzMarker when pitching a story to someone who probably receives dozens of hot-topic emails every day.
We don’t fear rejection. We follow-up (nicely)
Yes, my BuzzStream secret stash is full of bloggers and influencers, and I have access to key names in every possible lifestyle and fashion magazine, but so do hundreds of PR specialists. A hard lesson I had to learn was to be rejected and be rejected ten of times before a small success actually occurs. Initially I’d take it personally and would grow discouraged immediately.
This is how discouraged you can get when it comes to pitching lifestyle and celebrity news.
But then I learned to follow up in the most friendly tone possible but remain relaxed and prepared for never hearing back from the other side.
We give relationships time to grow
Persistence is key in this type of communication, and no digital tool can help you in get more replies than time. PR is about building professional relationships and solid trust and those take a lot of time, maybe a career of time.
This is how I established my own outreach credo. I researched those journalists and scrolled down through a great deal of their tweets. I took notes and read their articles. I hardly ever resort to email templates.
We know when to use templates, and when to send unique, heavily personalized emails
Paradoxically, the template feature that BuzzStream boasts is fantastic, but my experience shows that the individual approach is much more efficient when it comes to this type of audience. Templates are good reference points, they allow you to keep track of your relations from their very beginning, but I think one should be very careful using them, especially when reaching out to this type of media, as you may overdo it with impersonal, lifeless sentences that will reveal the automation.
There might be nothing of ‘Eureka’ status in what I’ve said above but the point is that you can make the most of your BuzzStream only if you actively engage in its use and pick carefully from its immensely resourceful database. I’ll be the last to deny the power of technology, furthermore, I love finding out about tools that make our life easier. I take advantage of them but also don’t let them take control over my job, it can’t do without me just as I can’t without it.