By Vanessa Carlsson •

Developing Your Outreach Strategy

Ah, the art of outreach. Or in other words, how to get influential people to share content.

I’ve spoken to a handful of clients who said agencies they’d worked with in the past generally treat “outreach” as an afterthought – something carried out after producing a beautiful piece of content – and sadly all their hard work goes completely unnoticed.

Even if you create a masterpiece in line with the client’s objectives and topically attractive to the industry, I’m an avid believer in starting your outreach and influencer research as soon as possible. From day one, you should be thinking about who’s going to help flaunt the brand to the right audience and thrust it into the spotlight.

At Parallax, our outreach strategy is centre stage right from the very start of any campaign, project or new signing. The secret to outreach is building tight relationships with influencers, media, press, opinion leaders, tastemakers, and so on. We aim to take our relationships seriously – much like any personal relationship, we know that building friends takes time and patience.

Make friends before asking for favours.
Start with the brief – take a look at the objectives of the campaign, the client and the agency. From this point onwards you should have a clear idea of what your aims and outcomes might be. This is where research comes in. Use Buzzsumo , Twitter and good ol’ Google to search for influencers and build lists.

Once your list is organised and categorised, get the conversation flowing Introduce your new contacts to the brand as soon as is naturally possible. Let them know you may have something interesting for their site or something their readers could potentially enjoy in the next few months. Keep them posted regularly. Chat casually via social media (tips on using social media to optimise digital pr) and interact with their content. Build the trust in the most authentic way possible.

Give them what they want.
Now you’ve made friends, developed a trust and gotten to know each other pretty well. You’ve got a handle on what they like to post, what they love talking about, what they absolutely hate and who they follow. By this point, they should know a lot about the brand you’re representing.

Knowing your influencers is just as important as learning about your demographic. This is why building content at this stage can be an effective part of your strategy. If you know your influencers well enough, you’ll be able to create something they’ll actually want to share, engage with and be associated with.

Get into the rollout flow.
At this point you’ve got a great piece of content, tailor-made to your and influencers (and the target demographic), all lined up with the objectives set at the start of the project. Now you just need to get it out there!

There are quite a few tools available to make this process quick and easy. Just remember to use these tools wisely as automating an email might have a really negative outcome. I suggest blocking out a few hours of your day to focus on the actual rollout. You’ll also find out in your ‘friend-making stage’, everyone likes to receive news or content in different ways, so remember to address accurately.

Keep it going.
As soon as your content has been shared, your influencers’ followers will start engaging. Keep chatting with them; add them to the influencer list you made at the start of the project and send them info when suitable. Publicly thank anyone that interacts with your content either on social media and/or their own blog. You could even feature them on the client’s blog or your agency blog. Remember to monitor and collect stats throughout the entire campaign to accurately report and constantly improve.

Crafting out the outreach strategy at the initial stage will play a big role in not only getting your content out there, but getting it to the right audience. It may seem tedious, but the more time you spend nurturing your influencer relationships the easier it will get. And before you know it you’ll have a wide network of valuable, thriving influencers to help spread great content and build audiences on behalf of your customers.