If you’re like me, you’re always trying to squeeze the greatest return possible from the limited time you have for influencer outreach. Which means that I always seem to find myself trying to balance efficiency and personalization when trying to reach influencers to amplify our content. On the one hand, if I can reach out to more people, then more will have the opportunity to get their eyes on our awesome content. On the other hand, if I just use a templated email and don’t personalize the outreach at all, the chances of those influencers actually looking at the content I’ve sent over gets far slimmer. It’s always going to be worth taking some time to personalize outreach. But the question is “how much?” Let’s take a look.
Finding The Right Influencers
Before you even get started writing your email, you need to get your targeting right, because sending the perfect email to the wrong person is a tragedy. So make sure that this person is likely to write about the content you’re sending over. For most publications, you can see a list of all the articles the writer has written in the past. When looking through their articles, ask yourself a few questions.
- Have they shared outside content previously?
- Have they written content with a related theme, or content that cites the same research?
- Have they written content with the same news values?
Most influencers don’t only write for one publication, either. With a quick Google search for their name, you can find their articles on other publications. Usually, they also have a personal website (find this on Google or in their Twitter bio) that will give you an even better idea of what their beat is. Looking a bit further into your targeted influencer in this way also gives you an idea of their writing style and their interests, which will help to personalize the actual outreach. Another thing to take note of about the writer is their seniority. In our “How to Create Content for Publishers” webinar, Kyle shares the tactic of reaching out to editorial interns at publications, and details how to find them.
An editorial intern is likely to be less swamped than other staff members and more in need of story ideas. If you can’t find a specific writer at a publication that seems to be a perfect fit for your content, the editorial intern may be the ideal contact.
Writing Your Subject Line
Subject lines are the first thing a writer sees, and your first chance at getting them to check out the content. If your subject line doesn’t intrigue an influencer, they might not even bother to open the email. Sometimes, just switching up the way you word a subject line and keeping it brief can be enough. I’ve found a lot more success in mentioning past work they’ve done. For example:
Follow up to your article on x.
This gets their attention because it’s directly about their work, shows the relation between your content and their beat and shows that you’ve done your research and know what they write about. Of course, this isn’t always to be available to you, and you definitely don’t want to just blindly say “follow up” if there’s no tie-in. If there isn’t, keep your subject line short, sweet, and relevant to the content itself.
Writing The Email Body
In the body of the email, it’s efficient to have a templated skeleton of your email. Working with a platform like Buzzstream (which allows you to A/B test different templates), you can try a few of these templates, with slight variations in each. This gives you the option to make it more relevant to a writer, and move away from any templates with lower response rates. I start most emails off with something more personal to the influencer. If it’s going off the “follow up” subject line, I’ll say why this would be a good follow up. On that note, if the original article did really well on social media, it’s important to mention because it means they can have another potentially successful article. If it’s not relevant to a past article they’ve written, I’ll share why this would be a good fit for their readers. It’s important to explicitly show how this content will benefit the writer. Without this, what incentivizes them to share? In most outreach, I pull out an interesting statistic from the content to pique someone’s interest more. Sometimes this is just another opportunity to personalize influencer outreach. If we’re sharing a map, I’ll pull the local statistics when sharing with a local writer or, if they’re area is featured, mention that. Once in awhile, it’s worth it to take this even a step further. If you know a piece would be perfect for an influencer but they have a specific beat that isn’t explicitly mentioned in the content, a little research may be beneficial. For example, if a piece of content is about a general content and I find a writer that talks about millennials and this topic, I will do research to find the direct tie into millennials. Giving an influencer the angle they need to write about something significantly increases your chances of a share.
Each step throughout influencer outreach is equally important in getting your content amplified. Finding the influencers who best fit, getting their attention in a subject line and showing them the benefit of the content in the email help lead to your end goal of content being shared.