The simple formula for effective outreach

In this post we will cover

Nearly all content marketing campaigns need some outreach to promote that content to a broader audience. If you're not doing this, your efforts will produce much fewer results than they would if you reach out to other groups or organisations. What's more, the relationships that you'll build along the way are worth the extra effort.

Why outreach matters

Without outreach, most content marketing campaigns won't reach the audience they would reach otherwise, and you also miss out on the opportunity to gain links and mentions that will help the page rank better. Outreach can also help you to make connections with influencers and gain more exposure for your content. As you make these outreach relationships, the influencers will be more likely to share your content because they trust you.

What types of outreach are there?

When starting an outreach campaign, it is essential to look at the content you're trying to promote and decide whom you would want to engage with because this sets the style of the campaign and how you craft your emails. For example, suppose you've got a data piece that you think is newsworthy and your outreaching to journalists. In that case, you probably want to follow an entirely different outreach template than you would if you were just promoting an industry review or commentary piece.

The keys to effective outreach are preparation and research. Before you start your campaign, ensure that you have a target list of people and groups that your content would be relevant.

At ContentFlower, we build what we call a 'target universe' for each campaign that comprises everyone who we think would benefit from hearing about the content we have created.

A simple formula for journalist outreach

Engaging with journalists is an entirely different task than reaching out to peers within your industry. Generally, journalists are extremely busy and have specific requirements for what they are asked to write about.

The key when reaching out to journalists is to make their life as easy as possible. We still have to stand out from the thousands of other emails that they get each week, but we have to balance that attention-grabbing requirement with making sure that we give them everything they need to be able to write a story about our content quickly and easily.

An effective formula for reaching out to journalists can be broken down into three elements:

  • An attention-grabbing headline
    Journalists get literally hundreds of emails a day, so making sure that we catch their eye with a good subject line and the headline is key to getting them engaged enough to read the rest of our message. Try to be direct and make sure the headline will appeal to what they typically get asked to write about.
  • An image that confirms the story in some way
    We are distributing the press release for most content pieces, so we want to make sure that we make every effort to bring the journalist into our email and engaged. A simple image that sums up the story and its theme can work wonders in helping to confirm to the journalist that this is a piece of content that they should at least read further to understand
  • A brief description and links to every relevant asset they might need.
    Yeah, we need to be able to say in a couple of hundred words at most what the content is about, what is relevant to them, what is unique about this that makes it newsworthy and how you have provided everything they need to get writing quickly and easily.

If you look at typical new stories that cover your topic, you'll be able to see in the content of those new stories the sorts of things that the journalist will be looking to get that will help them write their story. For example, if the content is about a particular company or person make sure that you include all the information about who that person is or what that company is so that the journalist doesn't have to go and do additional research to set the scene or explain the story themselves. If there is data, make sure that you include a link to a Google Drive or Dropbox folder with everything that will help the journalist to include that data in their piece.

The quick and simple way to promote content to your niche

If you are preaching to other people in your niche, it generally helps to be brief, friendly, and as efficient as possible. The way to do that is to start your email by sharing the link to your website or blog and then have a couple of paragraphs about what kind of topic you are writing about and the things within your niche that are worth discussing particularly. You want to say why this is worth spending time on.

It often helps to make sure that they understand you are aware of the content that they create as well and to open up the possibility of some sort of mutual collaboration that will help both parties.

Some common outreach mistakes

Avoid these common mistakes and make sure you monitor every aspect of the outreach that you do. Adjust to make your campaigns fly.

  • Boring, dry emails don't get engaged with
  • Edgy or pushy emails risk alienating the people you want to engage with
  • Not following up at an appropriate timeframe is always a mistake
  • Including large attachments
  • Getting peoples names or titles wrong
  • Not responding quickly

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