Mack Web is now Genuinely. Learn more.
You’re now at the third and final stage of our influencer outreach marketing series. Remember, influencer marketing is the practice of building relationships and collaborating with influencers in order to increase brand awareness, build a community, and/or expand your network.
If you’ve missed the first two posts, you’ll want to catch up with those before continuing on to the last stage here. The first post will help you understand why influencer marketing is so important, what it can do for your brand, and how you get started. The second post will walk you through how to keep your focus on the right influencers and how to authentically engage with influencers in a way that will lead to more success when you are ready to send over a pitch. And speaking of sending over pitches, that’s where I’ll pick up this part of the series.
Step 6: Develop the Ask
You’ve done a lot of hard prep work – don’t ruin it by sending over a pitch that is 1) irrelevant to the influencer or 2) a form pitch that you have sent to others. Otherwise, going through all the influencer outreach steps and developing an actual relationship with the influencer will have been in vain.
Your pitch needs to make sense for her site. It needs to be personalized based on the relationship you’ve developed with her. And it needs to be lucrative for the influencer.
Lucrative doesn’t necessarily mean paying her to blog about your company (although many bloggers do make a living from their blogs and you should respect that). What I mean by lucrative is that working with your brand should elevate her influence, boost her work, or help her expand the work she does on a passion project.
As much as possible, when you pitch a collaboration, put the influencer first and your brand second. After all, you’ve already vetted the opportunity with this influencer so you know it’s a great thing for your brand to work with this person. The influencer may still have reservations about working with your brand so your pitch should do as much as possible to ease those concerns.
Developing your Pitch
What do you actually need to include in a pitch?
- Develop a great ‘ask’ (meaning what you’re asking them to do), something that really fits the influencer’s focus or reporter’s beat. And if you’re not a great idea generator, bring in team members who can help with the brainstorming after you give them background on the influencer and goals for the project.
– A great tip from Adria Saracino is to give an influencer a few topic ideas to pick from if you’re suggesting a content collaboration. As Adria puts it, you should create an either/or situation rather than a yes/no.
- Explain who you are or who you work with and why your company would be great for the influencer to collaborate with.
- Ask them what they think about the ideas you’ve mentioned.
- Thank them for taking the time to read your pitch.
Here are some additional resources on creating great pitches:
- There’s this oldie, but goodie Whiteboard Friday with Rand Fishkin
- These tips from John Brandon via Inc. are great reminders
- Matthew Barby has some pointers on writing a perfect pitch email with this example from Paul Sawers:
Here’s an example of a pitch email to request a quote for a blog post:
I work with [Company and explanation of what company does] and we’re big fans of your content! [BONUS: add in an example here of a recent post you liked or an important topic you both believe in. The more specific, the better!]
I’m putting together a blog post about [topic]. Could I ask you to share your expertise with our readers through a quote we can include in the post? If you have any suggestions for [specific topic – it’s better if you have a specific request for a quote or a question the influencer can answer], that would be great.
If you could provide a quote to me by [deadline – follow up on the day you set so make sure to give yourself some buffer room], I’d appreciate it. Please let me know if you have any questions in the meantime.
Sending your Pitch
Once you’ve got your pitch developed, you need to send it out.
- Write the pitch using the outline above.
- Find the influencer’s email address. I have pitched people via email and via social media. Email seems to work better.
– Most bloggers have their email addresses on their contact or advertising pages. Reporters often have their email addresses in their social media bios.
– If you can’t find an email address, try sending them a message via social media asking them to private message you their email address because you have an idea you’d like to run past them.
– Using the contact form on the site is the least effective way to get in their inbox. Avoid it at all costs.
- Follow up via email a few days after your initial pitch. Keep it short and do it as a reply to your initial email so they can review that one to remind themselves of your original pitch. Here’s an example of a follow-up email you can use:
I wanted to check back to see if you might have a quote we could include in our post about [topic] on our blog. Our readers would love to see a quote from you, especially about [topic they specialize in]. If you do, I’d love to get that quote by [deadline].
Thanks for your time!
Step 7: Keep the relationship alive (and adjust your Engagement Pipeline).
While you’re waiting for a response, keep that relationship going via the influencer’s blog, social media channels, wherever she is active. You wouldn’t want all your hard work to go to waste. Remember, this relationship will help you reach your goals for your company and is worth all the hard work you put into it.
Try pitching an influencer a few times before giving up on the relationship. Much of this is trial and error so don’t get discouraged if you hear nothing back after your first pitch. Keep connecting with the person and vary your pitches with different ideas for collaboration. Follow up with the person at least once after each pitch email. If they never respond to your pitches, leave them alone. They’re not interested. The good thing is there will always be someone else who could be interested in that awesome idea so save your pitch ideas in case you find an influencer who would find the idea relevant to her.
After you collaborate with these influencers, look at your analytics to see how that collaboration affected referral traffic to your site or conversions on your site.
In Google Analytics, you would look under Acquisition, then All Traffic, then Referrals. Plug in the links of their blogs (if they’re a blogger). If they are social media influencers, look at the Social section (Network Referrals) under Acquisition and see if there was a spike on that particular social network around the time of your collaboration. To check out long-term effects of collaborations with influencers, make sure to add in annotations to your Google Analytics for each collaboration you did and with whom.
Finally, don’t look at this relationship as a ‘one-and-done’ after you’ve collaborated with that particular influencer. Build them into follow-up collaborations as they come up in your strategy. Have a blog post about a certain topic that you’d want to quote them on? Email or call them up. See an opportunity for them to gain press coverage? Pass it along. Have another great idea for collaboration for a timely topic? Send it over. Keep influencers in mind as you plan projects going forward.
Recap of Steps
You want to add new people into your Engagement Pipeline so you’re constantly in that process of research, connecting, helping, and pitching. All these steps work together to get you from figuring out what type of influencer you want to reach all the way to continuing to build a relationship with these influencers long after the initial pitch.
The last bit of advice I can give you is not to leave outreach until you need someone to do something for you. Connecting with influencers takes time and effort, much like your in-person relationships.
I’d love to hear if you have any questions or if anything in this process is unclear. Please leave them below or reach out to me via Twitter!
Part One: What is influencer marketing, reasons why you should do it, and how to research your influencers
Part Two: How to add influencers to your Engagement Pipeline, follow influencers, connect with them by being human and authentic, and help them before asking for help
Part Three: How to develop the ask and keep the relationship alive