With blogger outreach, if you want to be heard above the din of the Internet, you need to speak clearly and with persistence.
It’s not uncommon for someone at a loud bar not to hear you the first time, or even twice.
If you assume someone isn’t interested in getting to know you better just because they don’t hear you the first or second time, then you’re doomed.
The Internet is the busiest, loudest, most distracting place ever created. It’s global, impersonal, and mostly anonymous.
In a bar, you can sit right next to the someone you want to meet, and then just bide your time until there’s a lull in the noise or you can catch an eye.
The Internet’s just not like that. Social media is noisy and tends to be an insider’s club. We resonate with people we already know, be it in our Inboxes, our rivers of news, or our walls — and we tend to tune out unknowns. In social media marketing, most of us are unknowns, most brands are unknown, as are most services.
To score the digits in content marketing, you need three things: confidence, conviction, and stay-with-it-ness.
When singles talk about being attracted to confidence, what they’re really saying is that they’re attracted to transparency and authenticity. Confidence conveys a deep belief what you’re pitching has integrity. Like the dweeb approaching the supermodel, folks who don’t really believe they belong doing what they’re doing, pitching what they’re pitching, saying what they’re saying, finish last.
What separates winning content marketing campaigns from the losers? Persistence. From my experience, too many new media marketing campaigns lack bravery and persistence. They do the messaging equivalent of “Ahem, excuse me, if you would be so kind, ahem, I don’t mean to bother you or anything, ahem” rather than “Hello, my name is Chris Abraham, damned glad to meet you.”
It’s understandable. Brands are afraid of the online world — especially earned media, where anything that a brand says and does can be used against it. Over time, shell-shocked from seeing everyone around them being shot down and repeatedly being warned by the media that blogger outreach is a mindfield, they live up to the maxim of once-bitten, twice shy.
Tenacity in Pitching Bloggers
If you really want to be successful in earned media marketing, you’ll need to reach out not once, twice, but three times. We have learned this from direct mail and email marketing, especially when it came to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaigns: If you’re aggressive and email your core demographic repeatedly, you may make a few enemies and suffer a few humiliations “ but you’ll probably also raise a lot of money from loyalists.
Bloggers are generally more often rugged individualists than people pleasers, and most brands aren’t used to being challenged.
When it comes to my strategy for blogger outreach, I am committed to reach out to as many bloggers as possible, from the the A-lister all the way down the long tail to the hobbyists, the passion players, and committed content nerds and geeks. Back when I help promote Mizuno running shoes, my minimum requirement for outreach was the blogger had, at some point, discussed running, jogging, fitness, or getting in shape.
Nearly eight thousand bloggers received a personalized email offering them first access to Mizuno’s Mezamashii Project, test Mizuno shoes, be considered for sponsorship, and invited into the Mizuno communications and marketing fold.
In many ways, it was a corporate olly-olly-oxen-free and an easy sell: Top quality product, sleeper brand, and the promise of free gear to test. Many of the A-listers were already contractually sponsored by other shoe brands, so the long tail really paid off. Many of these bloggers “had never been kissed” by brands, though they all winsomely hoped their day would come.
The Long Tail of Blogger Outreach
Even with the deck stacked, we still needed to be persistent.
Upon receipt of the first email offer pitch, many of the bloggers assumed it was spam. It rang all the “too good to be true” and “who, me?” buttons. It wasn’t until the second outreach when the flood of responses came in with eager “Yes, pleases”.
The result: Mizuno earned hundreds of earned media mentions and thousands of registrations for their Mezamashii Running Community in the space of four weeks.
Brave and Bold Wins the Game
In the Internet age, it’s no longer enough to be the best looking or most interesting, you really must be the most brave. You need to get yourself off of that bar stool and dive in with making the introductions.
The world has become flat, thanks to the Internet, and if you just wait until your Prince Charming comes to you on his palomino horse, then you’ll really only get what you get — and that might be nothing at all.
So get out there and ask.