Outreach is the practice of emailing your content to people who would probably be interested in it.
The goal of outreach is to get your recipient to link to your content, post it on their social media accounts, or otherwise promote your brand.
It's an art because it requires creativity and a leap of faith to start promoting new content. It's a science because you can track your results to refine each email for the most links or social media shares.
With that in mind, the process of an outreach campaign typically follows this pattern:
- Determining target criteria
- Finding targets
- Drafting emails
- Sending emails
- Tracking results
Determining target criteria is the first step. This is where you think of people that might be interested in hearing from you.
For example, if you created an infographic about social media, a blogger that talks about social media would be a natural target.
Next, you have to find targets. This means searching Google with keywords that are related to your content's topic.
That'll reveal content similar to yours and the author who wrote it. Record the author's name and look for their email address so you can contact them.
Typically, an author will have an email address listed somewhere on their publication. They may also have it listed on their Twitter account, Google+ profile, or somewhere else.
You can also use the browser plugin Rapportive to find users based on the email addresses they use for their LinkedIn accounts.
Once you have your list of targets, it's time to start drafting emails.
Make your messages short and sweet, and use eye-catching subject lines. Always include a link to the content you want to promote.
The easier you make it for someone to see your content, the more likely they'll be to promote it.
Now that you have your email drafted, it's time to send emails.
But be careful — you're sending unsolicited emails. Only send one per person, and only follow up if you haven't heard from someone for a week or two.
After that, don't email them with the same content. You'll be considered spam, and in some cases, that can get your whole domain blacklisted.
If you're careful and considerate, you won't run into that problem. Only send emails that you would want to receive yourself.
Last, it's time to track results. Evaluate the success you've had with certain messages or subject lines. Make changes where needed and see how they impact your next batch of outreach.
It's difficult to nail down a specific formula that works for outreach on your own. You're constantly emailing new people with new content, so the inconsistency makes it tough to find elements that are guaranteed to work.
Still, you can probably find a few patterns of success when you track enough emails.
The easiest way to track emails is with a spreadsheet. Record your recipients and include a draft of your message every time you promote new content.
It makes life much easier when you want to nail down an outreach formula that works.
With outreach done, it's time for the last step in creating ultra-long content.