While a strong alliance with an influencer can be pure magic for your brand, half the battle is establishing the connection to the desired influencers. Especially since most subject matter experts and online influencers are flooded with brands and people pulling at them from every direction. Therefore, there is an art to crafting that original outreach, below I’ve outlined 5 critical elements to optimize your success.
1.Warm them Up!
Rather than just firing off an email straight at them, start to get on their radar by showing up in their ecosystem. For example, start by following them or subscribing to their blog to stay updated about their latest content. Engage with their content by commenting and sharing, but avoid overdoing this. Make sure you mention them when you share their content. The idea is to get the attention of the influencer and let them know that you’re genuinely interested in their content. Here’s an example we shared content from Sumodash, a great potential influence partner:
- BE PERSONAL and BE GENUINE
The advice to ‘be authentic’ has been diluted in that everyone says it, and yet you can smell a disingenuous or inauthentic outreach from the beginning.
Yes, it’s much faster and easier to use a generic template email, but putting the time into personalizing it goes along way, and it also moves you from the simple one off transactional approach to actually building a relationship.
Anyone can say “I’m an avid reader of your blog” or “I’ve been following your social media for a while”. Almost every outreach email says this in some form, however, it’s easy to spot the fakes, saying that means nothing. Rather, show them that you’ve been reading their content instead of having to tell them about it.
For instance, “I really liked your post about the difference between advertising and marketing, your perspective showed a depth of knowledge and passion on the subject, and I actually shared it with our marketing team.” This shows that you’ve actually read their blog instead of telling them that you have.
- The subject line
You can have the best email message in the world, but it won’t matter if the influencer isn’t opening it. So don’t spend all your time on the email then just throw in any old subject line. You need something that will get their attention right away, think of what will make them curious. It’s similar to writing a newsletter, you want to evoke curiosity, yet allude to what you are actually writing to them about, yet keep it short!
Making it a question is a great way to do this.
Example Subject Line: Interview for The Native Society?
- It’s about YOU not ME
This seems obvious but it’s the biggest mistake I see – the intro email goes on and on about the company and his/her benefits. While it’s essential to introduce yourself and your company, keep it brief yet to-the-point, people aren’t actually interested in you until they know that you can help or serve them. Here’s an interesting fact: the people who are considered most interesting are the people who listen more than they talk and ask the most questions, NOT the people who spend they time trying to get you interested in themselves. The same applies to outreach and emails! No one wants to read the background and history of you/your brand story before they even know why they should care! One to two lines is all you need. Make the focus be towards them and why they should care.
For example, “My name is Caleb from Essentially Healthy, an online store that sells and delivers super nutrient powder mixes across the nation. We noticed how you create awesome superfood smoothies and focus on how to make them more convenient for the healthy person on-the-go. How would you like a basket of assorted super nutrient mixes from our online store to enjoy with your family?”
This is a simple email body with a short but detailed introduction about your company. It moves right into what the influencer likes and is interested in and offers to send them product without asking for anything in return. Nothing can turn an influencer off more than being asked, or suggested, in the very first outreach to provide ‘a review’ or content for the brand before the influencer even expresses interest. You can continue with an explanation about your goal but keep that concise as well. See how there are only two instances where the first person is used: my and our. The rest is all about the influencer. The idea is to add value for the influencer so they’ll know what’s in it for them.
- Establish Yourself
In addition to showing them the value and benefit you are bringing them, you should also establish your credibility or authority in the space, in other words, way should they want to associate or trust you. This is about showing social proof, which would be to show that other influential people like them find your content or product worthy of a feature. Shane Barker points to this great example: if you’ve written a guest post for a leading blog in your niche, mention that somewhere in the mail. Take a look at how Groove’s Alex Turnbull has subtly mentioned how he’s done posts for influential websites.
Remember, marketing isn’t an exact science, it’s an art, and the human element makes us have to constantly evolve, try different things, be resilient and understand that what works magically with one person or brand can fail with another.
Even with the best practices of an influencer outreach campaign, you will inevitably still encounter influencers who decline your offer or fail to reply. In such instances, try to send one more emails that offer help and insight for the influencer instead of giving up right away (timing and persistence can be everything). If you’re still not seeing any results, reach out to other influencers and test different email bodies and subject lines following the tips throughout this book. Whatever you do, never assume that the influencer will take you up on the offer. This is also where you need to remind yourself that the long game, the time to build a relationship and offer more value in the beginning, become part of the influencers community and ecosystem will pay dividends down the road.
Can you think of any other tips that could help make your outreach stronger? Have you any great examples of your own to share?
Please let me know in the comments below.