Ask anyone involved in marketing and they will tell you that publishing content is a key part of any strategy. More consumers make buying decisions based on articles than ads. The digital age has turned everyday people into product researchers, testers, and reviewers. Most people search the internet for product information over the actual product pages created by the manufacturer. Nielsen says that “Ninety percent of consumers surveyed noted that they trust recommendations from people they know while 70 percent trusted consumer opinions posted online.” The value of a mention by an influential blogger cannot be overstated but why do so many companies, even major household names, fail at their ability to reach key publishers and influencers?
The value of a mention by an influential blogger cannot be overstated but why do so many companies, even major household names, fail at their ability to reach key publishers and influencers? In our many years of outreach and relationship building, we have come up with some of the most common pain points that bloggers, publishers, influencers and website owners experience that cause them to never respond or to fall silent.
Lack of Value Placed on their Time
Many publishers note that some of the people who contact them assume that their time is free and that they have it in excess.
Dan Schawbel from Personal Branding Blog stated:
“The best advice for people looking to promote content is to build strong relationships with website owners first, before trying to get them to promote your content. The more you give to them, the more they will want to reciprocate. If you are a "taker" and want people to work for you, then you will be sadly disappointed.”
It can take several hours or more to research, develop thoughtful content, and write the average article, sometimes even longer. In the case of a product review, the blogger needs time to actually use the product to provide an accurate review.
Show that you are invested in the process and not just looking for a quick post by developing a long-term partnership that is mutually beneficial.
Generic or Spammy Looking Email
What does your publisher outreach list look like? It should contain a lot more than just a list of names and email addresses. One of the biggest complaints that publishers have about the emails they receive is that they are often rife with misspellings, grammatical errors, and even wrong names — and that they receive the same canned email as everyone else, often repeatedly.
When asked what causes him to skip over emails, Ivan Widjaya, founder of Noobpreneur replied:
“Canned emails. There are certain templates that agencies are using over and over again. I know because I've worked with dozens of agencies, and some of them are apparently using the same outreach tools that produce (very) similar emails.”
Our most successful outreach has come from sites that we actually follow and engage with on a regular basis. Most publisher pain points can be addressed with more research, focusing on what is most relevant between the blogger and the brand, and having a commitment to building a long-term relationship.
Irrelevant or Generic Pitches
Publishers know their audiences. They have to; they wouldn’t have any followers if they didn’t. That’s why many publishers will skip over an email when it suggests or contains content that is completely irrelevant to their audience. Targeting your publisher’s audience is not only going to gain you better access to publishing but also can garner you some credibility with their readers. This type of information is not a secret and can often be found right on the Homepage. Other places to gain insight on an audience is the About page and Social Media. In many cases, you will see better interaction from a targeted piece of content to a smaller more interested audience than to several thousand that have little to no interest at all.
Lack of Follow Through
Treat your outreach like any other business relationship. Not replying promptly makes it appear that the relationship is not a priority; not answering all questions can show a lack of commitment. Repeatedly asking for the same information will lead to the belief that you have only skimmed messages instead of taking the time read through them. Everyone is busy and publishers with popular sites are no exception, they often require a team of people to produce and edit quality content on an on-going basis. So, if you follow through on your commitments and provide what you promised when you promised it, then you will have a much better chance of being published again and again.
Publishing content is an important part of any marketing strategy. The ability to reach key publishers is just as important. Since many agreements are made with the equivalent of a digital handshake, once a promise is broken most site owners will simply move on. They want to know that their time is valued and they are typically not going to chase down an unreliable source. Especially when there are so many others waiting to take their place.