So, what are the R.E.W.A.R.D.S. of outreaching content? Unfortunately, it’s not trophies or champagne, or even a little box of chocolates… Sorry.
However… this (hopefully memorable) acronym is really helpful for getting better results from your outreach efforts.
It’s a tough world out there – and often makes you feel like a terrible salesperson when you don’t get it right – but remember, everybody makes mistakes and everybody gets it wrong, and it’s OK if you do. Any time it goes slightly wrong and you don’t get the result you were looking for, regroup, analyse, change your approach and try a different way of engaging with people.
I’ve put together a list of R.E.W.A.R.D.S. for you to keep in mind when outreaching your content. They’re all things I’ve learned so far on my journey to becoming a Content Outreach Superstar! It’s still early days for me, but these pointers are already helping me get better results for my clients. Here goes…
Respect who you’re talking to. Often this can be lost in translation. It doesn’t mean treat them like an authority or be scared of them, it means be aware that they’ll likely be busy and will probably have their own requirements and pressures. A journalist might want your content, but they won’t want a load of gumpf in your approach. Quickly explain why your content is good for them; if you feel like you’re waffling, or don’t know what to say, take it back to basics and just explain what the content is and where you want it to go.
Manage your expectations and don’t expect amazing results straight off the bat. One thing that struck me hard when I started doing outreach was getting responses saying no, or worse, getting no response at all. It took me a while to get used to the idea that though you’re passionate about it, not everybody wants what you’ve got to offer, and getting used to having no response is a crucial part of having more confidence while outreaching.
Is the content newsworthy? Ask yourself, can you see it in the pages of that publication, or on the home page of that website? Journalists aren’t interested in something that won’t attract readers, and unless you feel like you’d want to read/see it, you won’t sell it to the journalist as content they’ll want to share.
The approach is all about knowing who you’re talking to. It seems like a silly thing to say because of course, you know who you’re approaching, but be wary of making assumptions. Research that writer/journalist (via their website or social channels), find out if they prefer email, phone or social media, and whether they want content that’s ready to publish or if they prefer to re-write and edit. Do your homework and you’re more likely to get a response, even if it’s a rejection. Some journalists have open DMs on Twitter and the particularly content-hungry might even give out their email address, so you shouldn’t have to go too far out of your way to make contact.
Make your content relatable to your outreach target and their audience. Give some background, introduce the brand and link to previous content, so the person you’re sending it to has context and feels like they can relate to the content. Hopefully, this connection will make them feel compelled to publish it.
Understand your content. Who do you want to be reading it? Would you be interested in it if you were in that audience? Is it a press release, a blog or a news piece? Having these snippets of information before you start outreaching helps to solidify your understanding of the content and how to effectively ‘sell’ it to journalists and editors.
Trust your common sense! If you’re not excited about getting it out there and don’t feel like it’s working, try something else. It’s OK to have a flop, it happens to everyone. Imagine you’re trying to sell someone a mattress that you’ve slept on, and you know it’s uncomfortable, but you try to sell it anyway… That’s what it’s like trying to push content you don’t believe in. Have faith in your content, and if it’s not working, don’t force it and try something new.
I hope these top tips help you out as much as they’ve helped me over the last few months. Click here to download or print these pointers as a handy infographic, and please feel free to share your own content outreach tips with me. I’d love to hear from you!