Getting influencers to respond to your outreach emails can be quite the challenge. How do outreach experts do it? It took me a year of research and experimentation before I formulated how to write more interesting outreach emails that would get influencer bloggers to respond. Read on to see my process.
In the beginning of my outreach career, the response rate I got was only approximately 10%. Even though I tried sending 2-3 follow-up emails in the weeks after not having a response, that number still didn’t budge.
Weeks (and tons of pitches) passed before I realized that my approach needs to change. So I started researching and experimenting so I could reformulate my strategy.
And that is exactly how the the tips I will share with you were born. Read on as I share the lessons I learned from practice as a content marketer and, by extension, an outreach specialist.
1. Build your emails along the principles of brevity, simplicity, and accuracy
Where can you get guarantees that a blogger you send an email to won’t trash it or mark it as spam? I think there’s no such safe place for anyone doing outreach.
Even the most outstanding of us had to cope with numerous fails. Yet we all come to one rule: your email and its message must be accurate, simple, and concise.
The reason this old rule still stands is that, frankly, an average businessman gets 91 letters each day. Influencers deal with similar offers too often for anyone to hook them straight away.
So, if you are lucky and your subject line catches the blogger’s attention, the core of an email must be twice as good to persuade him/her to cooperate.
So, keep your message short, strong, and persuasive.
2. Include seven essential elements of a flawless email script
Even the most outstanding email has a traditional structure behind it that is mostly repeatable. This blueprint involves seven key elements that you can apply to any outreach letter.
Below, I will demonstrate one of my frequently used email templates to influencers and point out its main components:
- A blunt and compelling subject line
The clearer the message is in the subject line, the more chances there are that your target lead will open your letter. Influencers who create catchy titles and slogans loathe reading vague subject lines.
- A short personalized greeting
Mention the author’s name and blog’s domain to show that you have written this email from scratch and with a particular purpose.
- A short introduction of yourself, your expertise, and skills
Shortly describe who you are. Your background should refer to the main aspects of a blog and the author’s interests.
- A light compliment
Show an influencer you appreciate his/her expertise. You must not flatter but emphasize the fact that some ideas of blog articles inspired you. Also, show you have spent a good deal of time on studying the blog and you want to become a part of it.
- A quick description of your goals and pitch
Any influencer knows the real reason behind an outreach email. So you must prove that contributing high-quality content is your top goal. Describe your pitch and add a few topics for their consideration. Indicate your readiness to deliver outlines quickly.
- Evidence of your competence
Add a couple of links to your previous articles related to the topic. It will prove that you can be an expert in your suggested topics.
- Your basic signature with connect buttons
Your signature should include your name, photo (preferably), occupation, and links to your social media accounts.
3. Pitch an idea of a guest post with the detailed outline
This technique can have different results depending on the author’s interest for a particular period. So begin with a profound research and focus on those aspects that are poorly highlighted or haven’t been mentioned yet.
Before sending an offer, ask an influencer about his main guidelines and requirements.
In both emails, you should emphasize your understanding of the main audience. Either way, you should contact the author before you send an outline.
Make a specific blueprint without too many details, use bullet lists, and a 3-sentence description of your message.
Here’s an example:
4. Create infographic or presentation never published in the blog
In 2017, infographics will stay ahead of other content types. The reason is that it still earns three times more likes and shares than articles.
Readers, as well as influencers, value its more approachable, visual format since it distills the information into the most important facts and simple explanations.
Another factor is that today, people have less time for reading. Meanwhile, an infographic covers only the main points of your topic backed by the latest data from authoritative sources.
Thus, website visitors consider this type of content more interesting, memorable, easy-to-understand, and valuable. This improves engagement and retention results of the influencer’s website.
However, to deliver this type of content with high quality requires plenty of resources and time. So make sure you deliver within the agreed deadline. Otherwise, any further pitches may be sent to spam.
The following is an example of my infographic pitch to one blogger. In this email, I refer to my recent interest to develop infographics type content and also point to the infographics published on the blog.
Through this exchange, I emphasized the fact that I spent time to study the blog and that this action inspired me to share my own experience with its readers.
Another observation: influencers can be easier to reach when you simply pay credit to their work in a genuine and not obviously suck-up way.
5. Use Gmail plugins to boost your outreach email efficiency
A truly outstanding outreach specialist should always have a list of tools to support his/her email strategy.
I immediately found the need to use Gmail plugins the first time I contacted an influencer. These Gmail plugins helped me to manage my emails and avoid making the same mistakes.
There are several lists of top tools online with their statistics and ratings but since it’s a personal story, I prepared my own rate of tried and tested plugins.
- Bananatag tracks and schedules your emails. It also sends notifications when influencers open your email and clicks the links in it.
- WiseStamp lets you create a unique professional signature with your photo, personal information,social media account buttons, and the latest tweets.
- Newton helps prioritize your emails, find the most important conversations, and search information from different accounts.
- Taskforce helps organize your emails by letting you create separate tasks and to-do lists without leaving Gmail.
6. Focus on little details to avoid big issues
From my long practice and cooperation with different bloggers, journalists, and PR managers, I realized that even minor email mistakes can lead to serious outcomes. Therefore, I try to keep in mind five details that always demand my attention when I craft another email.
- Include one request per letter
This is a golden rule for crafting any influencer outreach email if you expect to receive a positive response. Influencers are busy people and they get hundreds of offers each day. Demanding too much from them in one go can cause resentment and ignorance from their side. Instead, stay on their good graces by being considerate. Send a single concise message with only a single request per email.
- Choose the most appropriate time to send your emails
According to MailChimp studies, the best days to send emails are on Tuesday, Thursday, and Wednesday. The first two days are estimated to be the most favorable for high opens and click through rates.
As for the best time to send emails, I follow the recommendations on this CoSchedule infographic and have tested its efficacy on a large number of influencers.
- Do not say “please” to influencers
Never plead with influencers — just make sure to offer a mutually beneficial relationship. For example, if you’re pitching to contribute content to an influencer’s blog, you provide them with high-quality content, while their patronage will give you more credibility as a professional content creator.
- Send follow-up emails
Avoid using pre-written samples of follow-up emails. Smart and busy people like influencers can detect personalized or universal character of any letter. Keep in mind that a successful outreach strategy is all about live communication.
Below are two examples of my follow-up emails.
Notice how different the messages are for each of the bloggers I reached out to. This shows I respect their intelligence by sending them a personalized instead of an automated message.
- Write a thank-you letter
Thank-you emails will help build good, even possibly longer-term relationships with influencers. You can even get another approved pitch if you continue the conversation instead of disappearing after you get what you want from the influencer.
There is no general pattern or method that suits every blogger. So to figure out what works for you the best, you need to experiment and test.
By trial and error, you will ultimately come up with your own set of outreach tricks and techniques.
Believe me, I know how discouraged anyone would feel after not getting a response for 20 emails in a row.
In my case, for 10 outreach emails, I get an average of 7 responses. But it took me four months before I worked out my strategy and seven to eight more weeks before I saw any progress.
So if you don’t spot any results for the first few weeks, keep trying.
Veronica Hunt is an experienced content marketer from Philadelphia and currently works for StudentShare as a content manager. She sees her purpose in providing people with up-to-date info in the spheres of digital marketing, social media and psychology. You may find Veronica’s recent posts on JeffBullas.com, GetResponse.com , Scoop.it, follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn