Over the past month or so, we’ve been publishing a kind of series on how not to suck at influencer marketing. Today we’re taking a different approach and showing you how to absolutely rock at it, with the help of a bunch of other rockstars.
We’ve already shown you ways to improve your email pitches and the biggest mistakes you want to avoid in your outreach, but today we’re showing you what that actually looks like “out in the real world.”
What influencer and marketing outreach looks like when you do it well.
To do that, I rounded up some of the smartest marketers in the industry (and on Inbound.org). But instead of your average, overdone expert round-up of quotes from marketers talking about their outreach, I’m showing you the real thing!
In today’s post, you can see the actual outreach emails that influential marketers have sent to connect with influencers, land guest posts, and other big wins!
It’s kind of a lot to read through, so I’ll keep my own witty and amazingly helpful comments to a minimum. A lot of these examples really speak for themselves, so instead I’ll jump in to “set the scene” of each email and point out the best parts of each email and why they’re so awesome.
Let’s get to it!
Influencer outreach examples
The round-up invite
First we have the expert round-up. They’re kind of a tricky piece of content – when they work, they can pay off really well for everyone involved. But they’re basically everywhere and not everyone is doing them well.
That means that influencers are likely somewhat disenchanted with getting invited to participate in expert round-ups. Take the biggest influencer you know, and I would say they’ve been invited to be quoted in at least one in the past week.
So when you do reach out to someone about a round-up, it needs to be great. It needs to give them a reason to pay attention.
Here’s how Vijay Khandekar, a growth marketer at SERPed.net, did it:
Why it worked: by mentioning the names of other VIPs that had already agreed to submit a quote, Vijay added social proof that this isn’t just another round-up of “so-so” content that will get a few reads before falling off the face of the content earth. A post with the influencers mentioned is gonna get out there!
“Notice me, Neil Patel”
This might be the most creative outreach we’re featuring today.
Andy Crestodina, co-founder and strategic director at Orbit Media, was determined to connect with Neil Patel a few years ago for a piece of content.
As one of the most visible marketing influencers, a regular outreach email would just be one of hundreds. Instead, he pitched a guest post and sent that over, outlining all the details of why Neil should be paying attention to him!
“I wrote a blog post called ‘6 Reasons Neil Patel Should Call Me’ and had one of his editors send it to him. I really don’t remember what happened next. I think I just wanted a short quote from him and he happily provided one. But it was definitely a serious / awesome outreach email,” Andy told me.
Here’s that post:
“6 Reasons Why Neil Patel Should Call Me
Every piece of content has a target audience. Usually, it’s a group of people relevant to the business. Sometimes, the target is more focussed. In this case, it’s very focussed. The target audience for this blog post is one person: Neil Patel.
Why hasn’t Neil called? Well, he’s a busy guy. I get that. But if he’s going to pick up the phone and dial, here are a few reasons he should consider calling me:
1. I plugged his product in Inc Magazine
When Inc. Magazine called, I was happy to gush about Crazy Egg. This was way back in 2011.
2. I drive 12,000+ visits/month to his websites
I’ve written several high-ranking guest posts for KISSmetrics. My post on Google Authorship ranks #1 in Google for the topic:
3. I’ve mentioned him countless presentations.
I do a lot of teaching and speaking. When I do, I often mention Crazy Egg. I also sometimes teach the web marketing tricks I’ve learned on Neil’s sites.
4. I’ve written posts about Neil
I recently wrote a post specifically about Mr. Patel. It was a summary of a presentation I went to. There were half a dozen speakers, but I was there to hear Neil. He didn’t disappoint.
5. We have a lot in common
We’re both web marketers, compulsive bloggers and Analytics geeks.
What would we talk about?
It would probably be a short, casual conversation.
Websites are marketing tools, but they’re also networking tools. Although my focus here is ridiculously narrow, this post is an example of how content can connect people.
Every good post ends with a call-to-action. Here’s mine: give me a call sometime. XXX.XXX.XXXX.
Why it worked: I mean, this is obvious. This is some next-level outreach and creativity and focuses less on what Andy wanted out of the situation (which we already taught you not to do!) and focused on why Neil should care. Beyond that basic, I doubt many influencers receive emails like this.
The pre-outreach outreach
I’m a big fan of using multiple platforms to connect with influencers – it shows connection, gets your face out there (in front of theirs), and can be a great way to build a longer-term relationship.
But it needs to be done carefully – if you send someone an Insta DM, tweet, Facebook message, LinkedIn request, and email pitch all containing the same “Wanna be in my roundup?” message, you’re going to seriously annoy people.
The key is to use different channels at different times, like how Goran Mirkovic, digital marketing specialist at Four Dots, use social media to introduce himself to influencers, then followed up with this email giving them all the deets:
Why it works: In our last post about outreach, we talked about which platforms are best for pitching an actual collaboration or making an “ask” from an influencer. Email is almost always best, but connecting on social first can warm up a cold lead.
By the time Goran emailed these influencers with a longer message containing the details, they had already agreed or expressed interest.
Short and sweet
I think some big kudos need to go to a 4-line email that got results. We’re all great marketers and content creators here, but it’s a huge challenge to convince someone in four sentences. I don’t think I could do it!
Then again, Matt Ambrose of The Copywriter’s Crucible is a direct response copywriter, so this is his jam. Here’s what he can do:
We have two things in common:
1) An admiration for Churchill
2) We both posted about what he could teach us about marketing this week:
Why it works: Well, timing does play a part here – they wrote about the same topic the same week, clearly they had to become friends. But Matt also says “this email got me an interview for a $15k mastermind group with one of the top players in the direct response world.” That takes more than good timing.
Matt established a shared interest right away and didn’t waste anyone’s time saying more than he needed to.
Other marketing outreach examples
Since not all the examples we received were directly related to influencer marketing, but were still great and can be used for inspiration, we decided to include a few other examples of just generally amazing emails, too.
“You impressed my boss”
João Aguiar, SEO manager at Mobidea, took an approach to flattery that I haven’t seen before, while also adding in a lot of relatability.
Trust you’re fine!
My boss has told me about an article (10 Most Common Technical SEO Issues) that’s on your blog and I really enjoyed reading it. I remember struggling with #8 Href lang tags when implementing it on my clients’ sites. I felt a little bit nervous at that time!
Anyway, I mentioned your article in of my posts, as it fits in well and makes a lot of sense to me, considering my target audience. It’s called How to Write SEO-Friendy Content in 2017. Our blog is pretty popular and reaches more than 75k readers a month.
In case you happen to be interested and enjoyed my article, would be great if you find a place to mention it in one of your articles as a detailed guide on how to write SEO-Friendly posts!
Have a nice week Karl!
Thanks, in advance.
Why it worked: João’s secret was, “I started by mentioning that my boss had referred the article to me, which instantly added more value since it was referred by an expert.” Mentioning how you found an influencer is a popular tactic, but name dropping your boss tells someone, “we all like you here, get to know us better!”
Here’s what you’re missing out on
Since Jason Quey of The Storyteller Marketer is one of the first people I think of when I think of influencer marketing experts, I was really interested in seeing his approach to a different kind of outreach.
This is a template for what he’s sent to prospects before:
I’d love the opportunity to work with you, so I made a personal video to show you how COMPANY could gain an extra 50K visitors/month in a year through content marketing.
I estimate you’d make $216K in year 1, and $2.9MM in year 3. Savvy? 🙂
Here’s how I’d do it: VIDEO LINK
Is this something you’d be interested in learning more about?
Ciao for now,
Why it works: As Jason explained, “Although the email is a template, it’s personalized. The video links to something I created just for them.” I can’t agree more – regular readers know that I love templates… as a starting point. They save you time writing the same info over and over again, and that’s great. You can use that saved time to make the other, customized parts even more personal, like by creating a custom video!
Gigi Rogers, marketing manager at Strikingly, totally gets my need for marketing to still be fun. I’m talking gifs, emojis, jokes… “let me entertain you!”
Here’s what a fun pitch looks like:
Subject Line: Here’s my pitch…with gifs.
Hey there [person’s name],
My name is Gigi (yup, this is me).
I’m a marketing manager over at Strikingly, and I dig your site.
Ever since [influencer] mentioned you, I’ve been reading over your articles (especially yours [author’s name]) and like that you’re dropping nuggets of knowledge on us.
(Especially the negotiations article. And yes, I am guilty of non-stop talking when the uncomfortable silence bomb drops. Sigh…)
I wanted to reach out because we’ve written a few how-to pieces that are jam packed with information your audience will find, immediately, actionable (because that’s how we roll).
We can repurpose either of these articles, for you, to be shorter (we dig long form here) and hyper focus on ONE specific point from each article.
Here’s the gist of two:
1) Gist of Article 1 (talked about the end results and touched on the strategy and what people could take away from it)
2) Gist of Article 2 (talked about the influencers we mentioned in the article, the end results, and the strategy)
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I look forward to hearing from you ladies in the near future.
That Doritos and confetti based life-form at Strikingly,
Why it works: there’s just SO much of Gigi’s awesome personality in here. It’ll immediately endear the recipient. How can you read it and not want to reply, work with her, and throw confetti with her? Yet it still manages to include all the important details and benefits for the recipient.
The songwriting seller
Here we have another EXTREMELY fun outreach email from an account executive named Luke at Yesware (submitted by Sr. Content Marketing Strategist Elise Musumano).
Now, this takes talent. This takes skill in a type of writing that most marketers are unfamiliar with. I try to write songs all the time, and they’re awful.
But this AE wrote a whole song verse for his email:
Why it worked: oh, so many reasons! First, he did his research well enough to know that Linda likes Luke Bryan, so kudos for that. Then going to the effort to write this songs shows some serious dedication, and establishes right away that he’ll be fun to talk to and work with. He also included the other important information a good pitch needs. Finally, I can guarantee you no other sales pitches had customized song lyrics – Linda will remember this.
The one that worked on me
Finally, let’s look at a pitch from this very blog! Andrea Lehr, Brand Relationship Strategist at Fractl, sends amazing emails. Obviously they work for us, and she’s been featured by a lot of people who clearly feel the same.
Here’s how she pitched us her post about decoding viral content:
Why it works: the most important thing is that both ideas she’s pitching are really great ideas with interesting studies and data to back them up. She also gives us a lot of info on them, which could feel overwhelming if it weren’t organized into such a skimmable list. She backs up the ideas with social proof of where her work’s been featured, and then becomes my immediate online BFF by mentioning Beyonce and Hamilton, proving her research (and excellent taste).
You’ve got the ingredients. Create your outreach recipe.
Don’t these guys and gals have that tricky outreach email mastered? You see a lot of the same tactics again and again – tactics we’ve talked about over the course of this series – like showing your research, using social proof, and laying out the important details.
Now you’re ready to send some emails.
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