There are two types of outreachers. Those who understand how their emails are received and those who do not. The former enjoy greater success, while the latter bemoan less lousy response rates, time wastage and cranky editors.
While it is true that editors have their nit picky preferences, the adage “He who has the gold makes the rules” applies. At the end of the day, it is our responsibility as outreachers to understand their objectives and comply with their guidelines, or else, no dice.
I don’t consider myself a master outreacher, but I have learned a few things about editors that will either make or break outreach. Here are five ways to make our friends, the editors, thankful this week.
Editors despise outreach from SEOs, link builders and the like. If you have Mickey Marketeer written all over your email, you’re toast. Here are 10 signs that your outreach email stinks:
- The word “Greetings”
- No personalization
- Phony compliments
- Question that are answered on the site
- Compensation requests
- Wrong person addressed
- Written poorly
- Grammatical errors
- Irrelevant brand mentions
- Random link inclusions
Let’s say you really offend an editor. What’s the worst that could happen? How about this scenario:
Your business (or your client) gets publicly named and shamed by an editor whose patience for lousy outreach has worn unbearably thin. You then get reprimanded in comments by said editor’s army of followers. The editor, who feels he has been taken for a fool one time too many, reports to your client and personally zings them for the work you have done on their behalf…to be continued.
This is a legitimate PR disaster. All because someone failed to do their own due diligence and caught the editor on a bad day. I can’t imagine one would just sleep off a debacle like this. It would follow you home from work and haunt you into the next week.
Never forget that when you send that outreach email, you represent yourself, your agency and/or your client. When you outsource your work, you outsource your ethics.
Guest Posting: The 10-Year-Old Rat Race
Editors are constantly peppered with guest post requests via email and social media messages. I don’t see this ever changing.
We’re in the middle of a gigantic rat race for attention. People in forums have been talking guest posting for 10+ years. I suspect it will continue to be a link building staple for a long time, but only those who do it right will see its true benefits. Editors have become very SEO savvy and read extremely well between the lines. It’s more challenging now than ever, but I think we can all agree that it’s for the better.
The main point here is that most editors have seen it all. They can pick up the scent of a rotten outreach email a mile away. I think for the most part, editors enjoy being pitched to. They just don’t enjoy being taken for a fool.
The good news is that we have the experiences of other people to freely draw upon. You can improve your outreach strategy quickly. Mind your p’s and q’s, learn and apply, and your outreach should come to life and shine midst the commotion.
Set Yourself Up For Success
The connection between trust signals and conversions is undisputed. The same applies to outreach.
Sending an outreach email from a hokey Gmail account is spammer style. Gmail accounts are helplessly unofficial and extremely quick to set up, which is why editors have become leery of them. Set yourself up for success by making outreach official.
It only takes five minutes to set up a email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with your client, and five hours of outreach to realize that, actually, the path of least resistance is using a Business email.
Tools boost productivity and help you manage your relationships with editors. They’re also expensive. For that reason alone, they may not be a good fit. It’s also a lot of work to read reviews, watch demos, learn the features, test the product and ask for recommendations. Do whatever you have to do to stay organized. No shame in using Google Drive.
In my experience, agencies with a custom solution are happier because they are able to dig deeper and mine better quality prospecting results. They’re also not paying for add-ons that they don’t need.
Due diligence is time consuming. But, think of it this way: one doesn’t just simply lob an empty hook into water hoping to catch the big fish. He’s strategic, because he knows that fish aren’t stupid, and that as long as he keeps throwing crap out in front of them (not talking about channel cats), he’ll be ignored despite there being opportunity.
Find common ground with the editor. Give them reason to like you besides offering “high quality, original content at absolutely no cost to you” jargon (because they haven’t heard that one before). What else can you offer?
For example, if you are asking for a guest post, provide Facebook or Twitter stats and offer to promote the editor’s site on your end as soon as the post goes live.
Some of the outreach emails I’ve seen editors rant about are just awful, and it reflects extremely poorly on the industry. So before you hit send, re-read the email and ask yourself, “Am I asking for something for nothing?” and most importantly, “Have I done my own due diligence?”
Those of us who work for marketing agencies are often the worst offenders. We need to do better, much better.
Outreach is an indispensable part of marketing whether you’re doing it for business development, advertising or some sort of promotion. Realize it’s importance. It’s worth putting a little extra heart into. Show that you’ve done your due diligence and your outreach campaigns will have greater capacity because editors will be happy to work with you.
Devin Harper is an SEO Account Manager at Nifty. He joined the team in 2013 and lives with his wife and three children in Burley, ID. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, playing tennis and pickleball with his wife, and being involved in his kids’ sports and activities.