Influencer Outreach – Mistakes To Avoid

Content marketing is no longer a secret.

With the right strategy, you can provide fresh, valuable content to your customers in an attempt to increase engagement, drive traffic, and, ultimately, boost your bottom line.

The numbers clearly indicate that content has the potential to drive home great results. To much surprise, even local businesses are using content to connect with customers.

Is writing on your own blog enough? It was in 2010. But not anymore.

What’s catching on? Influencers writing about you.

How do you get your brand in front of them? Outreach.

“Influencer outreach – in its simplest form – is the combined effort of businesses and influencers, usually bloggers, to produce the necessary content at a level of quality that will produce efficacious results”. – Ron Sela.

It’s crucial that you get off on the right foot straight away. However, you must be aware of the possible outreach blunders that need to be avoided in order achieve something like this.

Expecting a free lunch

This one is a classic. People tend to take bloggers for granted. If you make this mistake, your relationship with the blogger will never take off.

It simply cannot be a one-sided relationship. Your aim should be to create a two way partnership.

That could be achieved through any of the following:

  • Write them a testimonial for them
  • Ask for their quote and include that in your content
  • Give them access to your research data
  • Give them access to your email list
  • Share their content with your community
  • Offer a free sample/trial of your product or service
  • Host a contest/award or offer a free incentive/giveaway for their followers/audience
  • Host an interview/webinar and publish it in your blog
  • Post a review about their product on your blog, or Tweet about their product to your followers
  • Post a round-up post featuring their thoughts along with various other influencers

Shooting in the dark

Aimlessly sending emails to every influencer you find will not do you any good. If you are a tech company, and you approach a fashion blogger – all you do is look stupid.

Lack of research could also result in you approaching dormant blogs. These mistakes will result into loss of time and effort; it may even result in negative advertising or badly written reviews that can easily make your brand look bad.

Even worse, having a dormant blog write about you may never be seen by your targeted audience, wasting both their time and yours.

Cooperatize is a great marketplace for brands to purchase sponsored content quickly and easily. Brands are seamlessly connected with relevant influencers in their niche. It’s simple, and powerful – and it helps streamline your entire outreach process with the help of native advertising– guaranteeing that your product will be seen by the audience you desire. Cooperatize’s state of the art platform connects brands with relevant publishers in their database– eliminating the hassle of aimless emails that go nowhere.

By relevant publishers, I mean the following:

  • They write or share content relevant to your niche.
  • They are the kind of personality (activist, an informer, or an authority) you need for promoting your campaign or product.
  • They have good reach on their desired platforms.
  • Their followers consists of potential customers

Sending ONLY an email

If you believe that an outreach campaign can be run on emails alone, don’t expect your response rate to shoot up anytime in the near future. Influencers usually get 10-20 pitch per day, your email is very likely to get lost.

What’s better? Aim for an integrated approach – use avenues like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and comments section of the influencer’s blog.

It can be a step by step process:

  1. Share their content on your social network profile
  2. Post an informed comment on their blog
  3. Learn from their content, implement their ideas and share the results with them
  4. Sign-up for the blogger’s email list
  5. Engage with them on Twitter
  6. Send the outreach email

Another thing that you could do is, write a review for their podcast on iTunes or ebook on Amazon. This is a great way to let the influencer know that you have a clear idea about their work.

Bonus tip: When you are approaching influencers on social media, always use a personal account and not a company account. It doesn’t appear invasive; people otherwise might feel that you are sneaking up on them. Added to that, it is always easier to make a connection when you act like a human, and not a bot. Strive to not look spammy!


Not offering anything of value

Impersonal emails, generic comments, and boring press releases will not do you any good. Bloggers will simply ignore them.

Offer something that they can’t get elsewhere. For example:

In 2009, Weiden + Kennedy created a buzz on the internet for their movie Coraline by using blogger outreach. They divided the the influencer into various groups and sent them 50 handcrafted boxes of movie relics, taken directly from the film. Each box consisted of items according to influencer’s passion and it also gave them private access to an online mini-documentary that was made with them in mind.

The best part is – Weiden + Kennedy waited for the influencers to start posting about boxes instead of hyping it themselves. The fact that boxes all had unique content made sure that influencers did not waste any time in posting about it. This significantly increased the fan base for the movie and resulted in a successful box office run, collecting  $124.5 million worldwide. If you want to know more about the campaign, check out this video.

According to Technorati reports, influencers most prefer:

  • Receiving a first look or review opportunity for new products
  • Offering prizes/samples/giveaways to their blog’s audience
  • Being paid to create custom content

The best way to get other people to help you is by adding value and contributing to their lives first. It will help you to build a long and fruitful relationship.

Going only by numbers

“I noticed that it’s not people with the biggest followings that provide the most benefit. The most traffic I got came from someone with about 2,000 twitter followers – not the couple of people who had over 10,000 followers”. – David Horn

It is easy to get disillusioned by large numbers of Twitter followers, Facebook fans, or shares. But mere popularity is not enough. Suppose if you approach an influencer with a large following, for example, who mostly writes about fashion, occasionally about tech, and you ask them to review your email tracking tool – the results might not meet your expectations.

Instead of popularity, you should focus on substantive expressions of an influencer’s reach. For instance: their credibility on the topic, the number of followers who engaged with them on that particular topic previously, or how many of their followers will potentially be interested in your desired topic.

Treating it like a one-night-stand

You reached out to a blogger, they engaged, and even wrote a review for you.

All you do for them (well, mostly for yourself) is share a tiny tweet with your followers. And then? You never talk to them again. Now that’s a crime.

It is very important that you nurture the relationship, make it a perpetual one. You can build a sustained relationship by:

  • Become a regular contributor to their website.
  • Provide them with product updates and other news about your company before you give it out to the rest of the world.
  • Provide them with useful information
  • Share their content on your social media pages regularly.
  • Host a podcast/webinar series and post it on your website
  • Conduct on-site event for bloggers, for example – a restaurant can host a tasting session for influencers or in case of a tech company, they can invite influencers to speak at their own events.

Sustained relationships ensure regular influencer mentions, and this will more often than not push leads into action.

Outreach is all about building relationships. Mutual respect is at the core of it.


Author – Niraj Ranjan Rout

Niraj is the founder of Hiver (formerly GrexIt), an app the lets you share Gmail labels with other Gmail users. Niraj works on programming, customer support and sales, and also contributes to design and UI. He’s a fusion music aficionado, loves to play the guitar when he can.