More often than not, outreach happens in the form of email. You’ve identified a website, journalist or blogger you’d like to collaborate with and you now wish to introduce yourself and your brand. Step one was to find their email address. Now that you’ve got that, how should you go about writing that first email? Here’s a few tips I’ve learned from years of outreach.
First things first
The first line of an email isn’t always easy! Should you go for a casual ‘Hi’ or a more formal ‘Dear…’? I tend to use ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’ most of the time as it feels friendlier. After sending out a few emails you’ll get a sense of what is preferred among your audience.
Always make the effort to learn the blogger’s name, even if it’s not clearly marked on their “About” page (if it’s especially hard to find, this will make your email stand out more). Add it to your greeting to make it more personal. And NEVER send out “Hi [NAME]” from a template – always double-check your emails!
I then go on to introduce myself by stating my name, role and company in a short sentence.
What do you want?
In the dawn of outreach marketing, most “How To” articles recommended starting off outreach emails with heaps and heaps of compliments to the blogger or website owner. I feel like both brands and bloggers have gotten over this now thankfully and we can all be a lot more honest with each other.
Of course I still add a sentence or two that demonstrate that I have actually spent quite a bit of time on their website or blog and appreciate their content. Most of the time, bloggers will take this as a sign that you are an actual human with good intentions and not an SEO machine.
I then clearly state what it is I want – to collaborate with the blogger on a piece of content, write a guest post for them or simply let them know about some new content they may be interested in. Try to start relationships with ‘generous’ emails – giving them insight or great content and not asking for anything in return.
Keep it short
Successful website owners and bloggers receive hundreds of emails a day, so they certainly don’t want to read a massive e-mail. Keep your email short and sweet, clearly explaining what you can offer them and what you’d like in return (if anything). If they want more information, they will email back. This avoids them feeling annoyed at you and maybe even sparks curiosity!
This is especially important for journalists who have even less time to read emails and really just want to know: what is your story and why is it good? Clearly laying out that information and nothing else will make them much more likely to reply to you and run your story.
Make it easy for them
Your email signature should clearly display your email address, phone number and company website for quick reference. Do not try to send any attachments as this may redirect your e-mail into their spam folder.
As I said, bloggers receive hundreds of emails a day. So if they do not get back to you immediately, it does not mean they are not interested in your proposal, it may simply mean they haven’t gotten around to opening the email yet or have forgotten to reply. Sending a polite chaser email a week later will spring them into action if that is a case, and even demonstrate your strong interest in their website. I’ve forged many influencer relationships that were worth pursuing thanks to chaser emails!
Keep the relationship going
Even after you’ve successfully secured content placement, don’t end the conversation there! Keep the relationship going by sending them interesting content from time to time (without expecting any links or shares!). Or even send them friendly emails from time to time, just to check in. Building strong relationships will enable to co-create unique content down the line and really stand out from the crowd.
This outreach tactic is dubbed “The Nudge” by Rand Fishkin. Find out more about his other tactics in this Whiteboard Friday video.
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