Customer care can be reached at email@example.com from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CDT (GMT-5) Monday-Friday. We speak English and Spanish.
Part 2: Outreach
In our previous step, we did some research to find blogs and websites in our niche that might be interested in knowing more about Mardy’s Munchies. Now we can start our outreach.
The outreach campaign
Every business will go about the outreach process differently. If your business is service-based, you might offer yourself up as an expert or volunteer to write a piece for the blog or site. For Mardy’s, a savvy outreach campaign would be to contact the Los Angeles food blogs we found and offer them a box of cookies, brownies, tarts, and cupcakes to review.
This will serve two purposes: get people who are influential about the LA food scene talking about Mardy’s (a fantastic PR tool), and create new links pointing to Mardy’s Munchie’s website, which is great for search engine value. Anyone who’s interested in food and reads one of our local food blogs could have a chance to read the review on Mardy’s and place an order themselves. And all these relevant, quality websites linking to Mardy’s will tell search engines that the site is a good one, which can help the bakery’s website appear higher in search.
Figuring out the right approach to reach out to the blogs we’ve selected can get tricky. It’s essentially the cold-calling of the internet, and no one likes to be cold-called. But if we can hit on just the right message, we could find ourselves in front of hundreds if not thousands of potential new customers – and sitting on some nice new links to our site.
If there’s one rule of outreach it would be this: be genuine. At Mardy’s, Steve and Jana have a vision of moving the bakery out of their home and into retail space, where Steve plans to hire older at-risk youth who would be interested in learning to bake. This is a pretty cool story for Mardy’s to tell, and one that blog readers, especially local ones, would likely love to hear. When crafting your outreach message, remember to be genuine and sincere. Tell your story, whatever it may be.
When we’re crafting our outreach, we’re not going to go right in for the kill immediately. We’ll warm up to things, maybe compliment the blog owner on their great blog, or even a particular post we loved. Everyone loves a good compliment, and it’ll be completely genuine – we’ve done our research and picked this site out of many prospects.
In fact, we don’t even have to ask for a review or a link right off the bat. We can get to know the site owner and build a relationship with them on social media first. Jana and Steve are passionate about what they do, and that will come through when they approach their bloggers.
Tools to help connect
Need a little relationship building help? Social media to the rescue!
Facebook and Twitter: First, we can find out if our prospect blogs are on the big social networks like Facebook and Twitter (they probably are). We’ll connect with them there – we don’t even have to approach them right away. We can just follow them on Twitter and become their fan on Facebook, then sit back and listen. What are they posting? Do they ask questions we might be able to weigh in on? What do we have in common?
Twitter list: To stay organized, we can set up a Twitter list (or two!) and group people together for easy filtering and keeping up with users who are most important to you. For example, I have a Twitter list of Raven’s power users which enables me to keep tabs on what’s going on in the industry and helps me get to know them a bit better.
Rapportive: Once we install this simple Gmail application (email is the original online social network, after all) we’ll get rich data about everyone we’re communicating with. We can see a photo of them, read a snippet of their Twitter feed, see their Google+ account, connect with them on LinkedIn or even make notes to refer to later.
The final product
So we’ve discovered some great sites, done a little research to make sure we’re familiar with their content and the people behind them, and maybe even made some contact on social media networks.
Now it’s time to write our outreach email. We’ll use all the details we’ve gathered about this person and turn on the personality. This isn’t a form letter; it has to be authentic. As such, everyone will do it a little differently. But here’s an example of what Jana’s outreach might look like for Mardy’s.
Just wanted to shoot a note over to you to say hello and tell you how much I enjoy your website! The food scene in Los Angeles is so vast, but your site is a very fun place to keep up with everything. The post you had up on Porto’s reminded me that I haven’t been there in a while, and I need to rectify that immediately. I mean, potato balls, y’all!
I wanted to introduce myself as well…I’m Jana, and with my husband Steve I run a local Highland Park bakery called Mardy’s Munchies. Right now we’re running the operation out of our home kitchen, with Steve doing free delivery, but we hope to open a storefront in Highland Park in the near future. Our goal is to be a true “community” bakery: some place that anyone in the neighborhood would feel comfortable coming to hang for a while, meet other neighbors, and enjoy everything the neighborhood has to offer. We also hope to employ a few folks who are looking to get back on their feet and would enjoy baking.
If you’re up for it, we’d love to send you a little sampler of everything our bakery has to offer. If you’d like to write a review, that would be awesome, but no worries either way, we just enjoy sharing what we do with others who love food.
Thanks again for putting together such an awesome site! I’m off to Porto’s…
We’ll make each letter different, based on what we know about the blogger and the conversations we may have had over social media.
Now it’s time to add this progress to spreadsheet we’re keeping that’s helping us stay organized. Our list will now include:
- The site’s web address and name
- The website owner’s name and email address
- Any social media info we collected about the site
- Any other contact information we find
- New: Date of first outreach
- New: The type of link you’re asking for or have acquired
(Is it a review? Guest blog post? Interview?)
Fingers crossed for some positive responses! Next: Follow-up.