May 16, 2018
If you’re a content creator you know that it’s a noisy world out there and that you need to spend at least an equal amount of time promoting your content and getting it out there as you do creating it.
No matter how amazing your content is, it won’t get the attention it deserves if you don’t invest time and energy in letting people (as many of them as possible) know it exists.
There are literally dozens of ways you can promote your content online, but here I’ll focus on just one and show you how you can leverage different tactics to get the most out of it. I’m talking about outreach – a proven, highly effective way to get more traffic and more engagement for your content.
You could be reaching out to influencers, relevant blogs, business partners, potential or existing customers – anyone who has the power to give your content that extra push by exposing it to new audiences.
If your content is good and offers real value, outreach will not only amplify its reach but also generate new leads for your business.
It’s important to note here that “value” is in the eye of the beholder. You first need to make sure your content is valuable and relevant not only to your target audience but also to the people you’re reaching out to. Trust me, this will make all the difference in the results you’re getting.
Now, let’s see how you can leverage outreach to gain traction with your content.
1. Build a List Before You Publish Your Content
The key to a well-performing outreach is finding influential people who are a good fit for your brand and the type of content you’re promoting. Depending on your “ask,” you’ll look for people who either wrote, linked to, or shared articles on the same or similar topic.
These are the people you can reach out to and ask to add value to your content by contributing their opinions, link to your content, or share it out to their social following. Assuming that your content is high quality and that they see your ask as an exchange of value, they are likely to respond in a positive way.
You can make the process of finding the right people for your outreach campaign a lot easier by using a tool such as BuzzSumo. This tool can help you do content research and find the people that would be worth reaching out to to promote your content.
What’s great about it is that it’s quite easy to use – after you log into the tool, all you need to do is enter a topic for your article and then sort through the results to find the articles that are similar to yours and that had the highest number of engagements and shares.
To find out who shared each of those articles, click on the “View Sharers” button and you’ll get a list of people who’ve shared it together with the number of followers they have, retweet ratio and reply ratio.
Now you can create a list of people who are worth reaching out to. Just make sure to offer them something other than a “similar article” – your content needs to be more epic than what they’ve already shared! It needs to add a new perspective or add value to the topic of the article they shared or linked to.
2. Import the List Into an Outreach Tool
Professional outreach tools such as OutreachPlus allow you to import your list of contacts and then do everything from performing the outreach to managing the relationships with your prospects and tracking the campaign results.
Once you start your outreach campaign it’s going to be extremely important that you manage it properly. You want to make sure that you’re pacing your emails in a way that’s not too intrusive and that you’re responding to every email, positive or negative, you receive from the people you’ve contacted.
Outreach tools are great for helping you stay organized – you’ll have a history of conversation with each of your prospects so no email or contact gets lost in the shuffle. Ensure that all your campaigns will run smoothly by setting everything up in your outreach tool of choice.
3. Get on Your Influencers’ Radar by Promoting Their Content
You have the list of influential people along with their contact info in your outreach tool and you’re ready to send your first batch of emails. But isn’t there something you should be doing first to increase your chances of getting a positive response?
Of course, there is! You should get on their radar and the best way to do that is by sharing their content on your social profiles. This way you’re helping them expand the reach of their content, and if you’re consistent at it and you @ mention them or their blog, they are likely to take notice.
You can also comment on their blog posts and answer any questions they post on social media. Basically, use any opportunity you get to be helpful and show you follow and appreciate their work.
That way, when you send that first email your name will sound familiar to them and it won’t seem like you are emailing them out of the blue.
4. Pre-promote Your Content Before You Publish
Many successful bloggers are using a tactic called pre-outreach to promote their content. The concept is simple – you’re reaching out to the prospects on your list before you publish your article to ask if they’d be interested in it.
You send them a “teaser” or a preview of the content to spark their interest. If you get a positive response, then they are most likely to share or link to your post once it’s live.
The only negative in this tactic is that it requires a little bit of extra work from the influencer. They have to reply to your first email and then act again (share, link to, etc.) when you inform them that the article is published. It requires some level of commitment as well as an extra step which may be one step too many for busy influencers.
5. Promote Your Content to Your List Once It Goes Live
Using this method you’re reaching out to the influencers on your list after you’ve published your article. It requires less commitment from them than pre-outreach, and if crafted well, it can get you some pretty good results.
A key thing to remember here is that the more personalized your outreach emails are, the bigger the chances you’ll get a positive response. So spend some time writing a message that is aligned with the influencer’s interests and mention any previous interaction you had with them. Be short and to the point, add value, and write a clear, mutually-beneficial CTA.
6. Do the Necessary Follow Up
You’ve probably experienced this many times – you send an email to your prospect, you don’t hear from them in a couple of days, you send a follow-up or two, and they get back to you with a response.
Unless they’re using some email tool to manage their inbox, most people will miss a certain number of emails or read them and then forget to reply.
Imagine how likely this is to happen to busy influencers whose inboxes are flooded daily with sales pitches and outreach messages. If you don’t get a reply the first time around, just assume they didn’t get/read your email. Send them a follow-up to remind them that there’s something great sitting in their inbox that they can act on at their convenience.
Also, if you were performing pre-outreach, make sure to follow up when your article is published even if they didn’t respond the first time around.
7. Track your results
In order to be really effective at content promotion through email outreach, you need to track your results to see what is working or not working so you can optimize your efforts.
An outreach tool will help you track responses, document what people you reached out to were interested in, understand the type of messaging that’s working, keep track of the people who shared/linked to your content, and more. Only if you measure your efforts will you know if it makes sense to scale them.
Promoting content through outreach is hard work – it’s not a process that you can simply set and forget. At the core of outreach is an exchange of value and it is only sustainable over the long term if you build meaningful relationships with the influencers who agree to promote your content.
Arm yourself with the right tools and follow the above steps and you will get a much higher ROI on your outreach efforts.
Ian is the founder of OutreachPlus and RazorSocial.com. Ian speaks internationally on content marketing and social media, writes for some of the leading social media blogs in the world and is often quoted in media such as The New York Times. As an award-winning tech blogger, Ian has also been published on Social Media Examiner, Entrepreneur.com, and VentureBeat.