The whole point of outreach emails is to get influencers in your niche to take notice of you – and make a decision that your brand would be beneficial to their followers. They will then do one of three things:
- They will mention you in a post and include a link to you
- They will allow you to publish a post on their blog (along with a link)
- They will agree to review a product or service you offer and provide a link.
Obviously, the common thread here is getting those links and thus a much wider audience for your brand. In a secondary way, of course, this improves your SEO, especially if the influence is well-known and popular.
Connecting with Influencers
There are a few solid ways to connect with influencers – you can follow their blog, enter into discussions and provide complimentary comments. You can follow their social media pages and do the same thing. The goal of such activity is to get your brand out there, in front of them, so that they come to recognize you. Only then can you make a “pitch” to them.
Another way to connect with influencers is through email outreach. The idea is that you want to offer them something of value in exchange for their mention or review. That “something of value” is anything that they think their followers will find of value. And that is what your outreach email must hammer home – what you have to offer will be of benefit to their followers.
Common Mistakes of Email Outreach.
Spending Too Much Time Introducing Yourself
Influencers do not want to read your biography in an email. They are busy people who get hundreds of emails daily, maybe more. They want to “get in and get out” of each email that they choose to open, make a quick decision, and move on. A simple short sentence with your name and what your work is will suffice. And don’t make it the first sentence of your email – the recipient will see the first part of that sentence along with the subject line. If all it contains is something like, “Let me first introduce myself…” you are probably dead in the water.
Too many outreach emailers go overboard in attempting to prove their worth to an influencer. You are not what is worthy – what you offer is worthy.
Boring, Dull, or Misleading Subject Lines
This cannot be stressed enough. The subject line must absolutely relate to what is in the email, but it must also be engaging enough to motivate an open. You need to spend a lot of time thinking about your subject line. If you are not that creative, then headline with a question – something like, “Could you Clarify?” or “Quick Question,” or even “Odd Question.” If you choose to do something like this, however, make sure that your opening sentence refers to that question.
For example, “I recently read your post about preparing a deck for re-staining, and it was a great piece. I am wondering how you feel about oxygen-based bleach products. I have developed one which I believe could be a “game-changer” in terms of safety and ease of use.
I would love to send you a free sample of the product and get your opinion. Let me know where to send it and it will be on its way.
John Smith, Owner
Note: there was no need for an introduction here – name and company are in the sign-off.
Note: The subject line, “Quick Question” is perfect, and the first part of the first line speaks to a post the influencer wrote. This just might get an open.
Note: A bit of flattery is always good too. Compliment the recipient. You can even say that you are a big fan of his ideas and that you read his posts often.
As stated before, influencers are busy people. Outreach emails that try to explain too much about a product or service will just not be read. If the recipient sees too much text, it is likely to be deleted without being read. Note the email above – the sender did not go on to explain how he developed his product or all of its ingredients or even that his customers love it. He simply stated what it was and what benefit it offered (safety and ease of use). The details can be introduced later after the connection is made and there is interest.
“Wall of Text”
Even with a short email (and it should be short), divide up the text into at least two paragraphs. This is a psychological thing, of course, but it also makes for an easier read.
Using Sophisticated Vocabulary
Remember – you are emailing a blogger – someone who understands that the reading level of their posts must always be at about the 13-year-old level. Honor that with your own writing. Speak in a casual conversational manner, as if you were having an actual conversation. If you sound too professional, you will not sound genuine.
Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
If you know you are a poor writer, don’t write your own outreach emails. In fact, many solopreneurs who have trouble being creative, simple, as well as with grammar and vocabulary often contract their writing out to a creative copywriting service, so that subject lines, text, and grammar are both compelling and correct.
More than One Call to Action
Each email you send must have only one request. Sometimes senders want to give the recipients all of the options – guest posting, reviewing a product/service, getting a mention – in one email. When you do this, you sound a bit desperate, and the recipient doesn’t know what you really want him to do. Decide what you really want the influence to do and stick to that one thing.
Becoming Known as a Harasser
Don’t “stalk” an influencer. If they don’t respond within a week or so, let it go and move on. This does not mean that you never contact them again, but wait a good amount of time before you dip into that well again. Go back when you have a different value to offer.
Going for the “Big Boys” Right Away
If your business is relatively new and you are relatively unknown, then going after the top influencers in your niche will probably result in rejections. Begin with the second-tier influencers first. Better to get those mentions, reviews, and links from several of those second-tier folks than absolutely none at all. Then, when you do contact the first-tier influencers, you can link to a post that has provided a review.
Letting Rejection Dampen Your Efforts
J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, received over 200 rejections of her first manuscript before a publisher said, “yes.” You can expect some of the same results. If you get discouraged, you can lose sight of your mission. Instead, set a daily or weekly goal for how many emails you will send out, and meet that goal consistently. Eventually, it will pay off. And even with a few successes, in the beginning, you are widening your audience.
The End Game
Keep your eye on the goal with outreach emails. First, you want to get mentions of some kind and a link – either the influence mentioning you, reviewing your product/service, or allowing you to actually publish on his blog. Identify those that you believe will be most receptive (remember, start with the second-tier), craft a compelling subject line, stick to the point, and ask for only one thing. Along the way, keep it simple and short.
Norman Arvidsson is a tutor, associate educator and freelance writer for the Get Academic Help. He is passionate about covering topics on blogging, content marketing, business writing and self-improvement.