Inbound links to your website are an important part of your SEO and digital marketing strategies. Building them, however, takes time and effort; well-executed outreach campaigns are your best bet at building quality links which will have you ranking higher in search engine results pages.
Connecting with larger and more authoritative websites via backlinks has always been at the heart of SEO. Links don’t just come from websites and blog posts, they come from real people and to secure these links, you’ll need to know how to communicate with them.
Without effective outreach efforts, your marketing campaigns won’t go very far. Good outreach takes research, effort , and dedication. If you are willing to invest it, you can get a lot out of it.
However, there is more to outreach than sending out X emails a day. Here are a few pointers that will help you elevate your campaigns, and get you noticed and well-connected.
#1 – Know Your Business
If you don’t know your business and industry inside-out, how can you know whom you should be pitching? This is the first, most basic and often forgotten step of any outreach efforts.
Understanding your company’s value, its style and your target audience is important, and you must have all three of these down before you attempt any form of outreach. If you can’t express your value in simple words to the people who matter, you are not going to get far.
#2 – Curate a List of Influencers
Being organised lies at the very core of any successful outreach initiative. It is always a good idea to keep a centralised list of potential influencers you have found through your research.
Your list doesn’t need to be anything fancy and there are a variety of ways you can compile one. Google Docs is great, but there are dedicated tools such as our lovely Outreach.Buzz which you may find useful, especially if you have a complex outreach plan.
#3 – Prove Your Credibility
When you are reaching out to people, you need to give them a reason to care about your business and give it more than a passing thought.
Mediocre work and bland efforts don’t deliver results. Prove that you are a credible and worthy business, brand or service by providing real examples of your successes – your work is the best indicator of your value and this is where you can really sell yourself to an influencer.
#4 – Keep Pitches Brief
When reaching out to an influencer for the first time, keep your pitch concise and to the point. It is likely that this person receives many pitches per day; they don’t have time to read long and wordy paragraphs.
Before you begin exchanging value and demonstrating your credibility in detail, you need to capture their attention. When you have done this, you can go in for the hard sell.
The most common outreach mistake is putting too much information in the very first email pitch, but this can easily cause an information overload on part of the influencer and lead to it being deleted or forgotten about.
#5 – Don’t Expect Something for Nothing
If somebody with importance or influence is going to use their time to help you, you need to provide something in return; a mutually beneficial offer is always going to get a better response than a unilateral one.
You may feel like you have nothing to offer, however, that’s not quite true – if you are running a business, then you likely have lots of relevant industry experience which you can use to provide support and advice.
Have a think about what you can offer either personally or through your company. If you provide a service, could that service be useful to any of the influencers you want to target? There’s always something you can offer, even if it may not appear significant to you.
#6 – Use Social Media
Many influencers use social media as their main method of communication and you shouldn’t be afraid to send pitches through it. In fact, using social media can be better than email, as influencers may see your pitch sooner.
Influencers can quite easily be contacted on the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, and this is probably a better way to send your pitch if they use it often.
Social media is the new way to do business, and that includes reaching out to influencers. However, make sure you find the right way to do this, by brushing up your social media skills. You don’t want to alienate someone with an inadequate tweet.
#7 – No Response Doesn’t Mean No
You should always follow up on a pitch. Influencers are busy, there is no skirting around this fact, and not getting a reply doesn’t mean you have been unsuccessful, it just means that they are busy.
After around 48 to 72 hours since sending your first email, there is nothing wrong with following it up with a friendly and straight to the point email. You should give them enough time to respond in the first place, so leaning towards the 72-hour mark is ideal.