Look at the following email; it’s a cringe-worthy example of outreach at its very worst. But the mistakes it depicts, however exaggerated, are made every single day. Learn how to craft an outreach email worth responding to in our guide below.
Only one place exists where strangers can reach out to strangers and build strong, respected relationships without ever meeting face to face. The Internet, and its living, breathing mass of communities, has created a new marketplace and its currency—visibility. Influencers, the word spell check is ever aching to correct, have become a permanent fixation of modern social marketing strategy.
With the right language and tender, brands are winning themselves massive bloggers and their engaged followers. Email has become the standard form of communication, but outreach campaigns have yet to be perfected. From the mass of outreach emails sent every day, some range from vague to overloaded, others informal to cold hard facts. More than providing clean copy that doesn’t get in its own way, your initial outreach email has to finesse the influencer. Here are 10 steps to crafting a pitch perfect email, as well as a hypothetical outreach email we’d use ourselves.
The Smooth Opening
Subject: Join iAcquire’s Blogger Network
1. Use a straightforward subject line. This is inarguably one of the most important parts of equation. Just like a headline, your email subject should be short and to the point. Don’t be vague and informal. Make sure to mention your blog and what the opportunity is.
Hi [First Name],
2. Go easy on the greeting. The name of the game is simplicity. The reader should gloss over your hello without a thought. So no “Hey Lizzie!!” and no “Dear Mrs. Taylor.” When addressing an influencer, go with first name only, unless they refer to themselves on their blog as Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc. Otherwise, there’s no need to bring titles into the game when you’re looking to open a comfortable back and forth line of communication.
My name is [First Name]. I’m the [Position] at iAcquire.
3. Introduce yourself. Present yourself in a similar, open manner so you two are on the same level. Tell them your first name, your title, and the company you work for. Link back to your site. Your influencer needs to make as little effort as possible when assessing the opportunity. Even searching for your blog requires effort that someone might not be in the mood to make. Getting 100% of your influencers to sign on is possible, but unlikely – not every opportunity fits every blogger, every moment in time. The point is to not let the minutiae cloud the blogger’s judgment. Keep the effort barrier as low as possible.
2014 is ramping up to be our biggest year yet and we’d like our blog and iAcquire’s blogger network to grow with us.
4. Tell them your goal. There’s no need to beat around the bush doling out compliments and talking vaguely about your brand’s goals. Get to the point quickly about what you’re looking to do. Do you have a campaign? Is your brand on a mission to expand its blogger network? Tell them that. As always keep things brief at one or two sentences max and link to the necessary content.
We’d like to offer you an exclusive position in that network.
5. Dish out a whopper incentive. Give them a reason to pay attention to the rest of your email. If your company is offering a spot in paid blogger network, have a single sentence explaining that. If it’s not a paid opportunity, that’s fine too, but let your language work for you. One word can make a difference in boosting an influencer’s interest. Instead of contributors, call them “Star Bloggers.” Instead of a Q&A call it an “Exclusive Feature.” If cash isn’t in the equation, look for ways to boost their reputation. The path to making a steady living as an influencer is a long one. To get on that level, first you need to build a name that means something.
iAcquire strives to work with the brightest minds in content marketing. Considering the heavy hitting posts [Blog Name] is constantly producing—Monday’s [Post Name] really hit the nail on the head – we believe you would be the perfect fit for our blog.
6. Explain why they’re a good match. Give them a unique, researched reason why they should be working with you. Personalize, personalize, personalize. 90% of every outreach letter is a template. Every influential blogger knows that, so it’s up to you to make that last 10% punch. Show them that you’ve done your homework. Make a point to mention their blog by name. Compliment it, but only do so sincerely; anything less won’t land. Don’t say you think their blog is so well thought out. Take 10 minutes to look it over, then pick a specific post you genuinely like. Explain how it symbolizes the exact features you’re looking for in your campaign, your blogger network, etc. That one unique sentence will give the rest of your letter a chance.
We’re not looking for a heavy commitment. All we would ask of you is a bi-monthly post on a subject of your choosing.
7. Lighten the extent of their involvement. Influencers are busy people. Explain as broadly as possible what it is you’re proposing, pointing out how easy and simple their task would be. Use the follow up email to dive into the details of the content creation process. All you need to say here is how quickly they’ll be able to hand over everything you need if you’re running a campaign, or how little they’ll need to do if they join your network.
iAcquire currently has 5,134 Facebook likes and 2,969 Twitter followers and is eager to share the social love.
8. Highlight the benefits. Don’t just repeat your whopper incentive. If you have impressive traffic or social stats, name them all to the very last follower. If you’ve built the reputation of some megawatt influencers, name those connections. The influencer is also looking to grow their reputation and exposure. Make the benefits of the opportunity painfully clear.
The deadline to accept our offer is Wednesday, January 15. Please let me know if you need further assets or more time to consider the offer.
9. Set a deadline. Give the blogger a comfy amount of time to just agree to be in the campaign, or join your network, etc. This time should not overlap with major holidays like Christmas or Fourth of July, when the Internet typically checks out for the week.
I look forward to speaking to you soon,
10. End it short and sweet. The only pointer here is don’t get in your own way. No long-winded sentences about your bright future together. Be concise and polite.
Before Hitting Send…
- Do a read through. Make sure you’re not using tired language. Skip the “amazing”– “ultimate” – “best.” Don’t repeat words, and don’t get too verbose. The email should be light, easy, and positive.
- Be sure to use language that makes the influencer feel special. They know they’re not the only ones being reached out to, but that doesn’t mean you need to point it out. Even if there will be many star features, many more bloggers being added to the network, etc., avoid mentioning it. Focus on their single contribution.
- Take the email in, visually. It should look like an easy read. That means no thick paragraphs. Keep them short, 4 lines maximum, and put spaces between each. The less cluttered, the better.
- Triple check the template, and let another pair of eyes see it. Make sure the email is filled in properly. The number one quickest way to lose a reader, an opportunity, and a campaign is by a simple grammatical error. Every word counts.
Influencer outreach can be done successfully when language is warm, to the point, and methodically composed. Now it’s your turn to sound off. What obstacles have you encountered in your influencer outreach campaigns?