Think for a second about how many emails you receive every day. Probably a huge percentage of those are spam, right? Now imagine being a publisher or major industry or social influencer. They get all that spam and more, with hundreds of pitches hitting their inbox each day. This should give you some kind of understanding of how important it is to write quality outreach emails and to stand out from the masses. We get some of those emails too and they’re mostly terrible.
Learning to write an outreach email and navigating options for outreach strategies can be tricky, but if you put the effort in, you’re far more likely to see results. Here are a few of the worst outreach emails we’ve received, and some suggestions for the writers so that, next time, they might grab our attention and gain our trust.
Dear Rachel, Do Your Research
First off, it’s really important to research the influencers you’re reaching out to. Start with finding people in the right niche for your content (or whatever you may be reaching out about). In Rachel’s case, she’s offering Chicago-based SEO services to a Chicago-based SEO agency. Not exactly the best target. Do your research. In content marketing, when doing outreach to get your content placed, we try to find influencers writing on related topics or who would actually be interested in what we’re offering. The content we’re sharing with these journalists and bloggers is typically something we think will help them write quality stories that they’re readers will be interested in.
Another thing Rachel should’ve included is the name of the person she was reaching out to. It’s relatively simple to find emails connected to real people, believe it or not, which increases your chances of them reading your email and placing your content. Saying, “Hi Hannah,” would make me more likely to open and read the email seeing it’s addressed directly to me. If you can’t find an email linked to a specific person, it’s still more helpful to say “Hi Digital Third Coast team,” than nothing at all. Who's next?
Michael did a slightly better job than Rachel. He at least addressed the company (in the least personal way possible, but still better than Rachel), and he also sort-of-personalized his email, by mentioning one of our past posts. An outreach strategy that can be helpful is to talk about a writer’s past work, complimenting it or asking a specific question in the beginning of your email. Where Michael fell short here was in failing to say anything specific. He could have picked any random post from the site and said the same thing. So make your personalization personal.
Michael also should have pitched his guest post with specifics. Explain what you’re offering in detail, while still being brief. Explain why we should care, what our readers are going to like about it, etc. Pitching your content is another opportunity for personalization. Pay attention to the writer’s location, their audience’s demographics, and other important details. You can pull out facts and statistics from your content to appeal specifically to these points. It’s a great opportunity to reinforce the fact that your content is perfect for them and to retain their attention.
Estimados Amigos - Please Personalize Your Pitch
Firstly, getting us ranked at the top of Google for fifty euros (about $68) - well, that's the definition of something being too good to be true. But more importantly, the person on the other end of this outreach email isn't even entirely sure what language our business operates in. Which brings up an interesting lesson.
This last example from *Arya G* is an awful outreach email, but more importantly, we received this same email four times. It is definitely important to send a follow up email after no response, but make sure it’s a follow up. Follow up emails are really simple. Usually I would just say something like this.
Hey [name], Just checking in to see if you had a chance to look at [content]. I think it’d be great for your audience because [reason]. Let me know if I can answer any questions!”
Remember to be brief and to the point. Have your initial email included for reference. Follow up emails will significantly increase response rate and help to keep your information not buried with the masses. So thanks for being persistent Arya G, but no thanks.
Who are you? What is your name? What company do you work for? What does your company do? The email above answers none of those questions. Your outreach emails don't need to be your life story (or your company's life story), but it does need to do one important thing. It needs to establish why your company is a credible source on the content you're pitching.
Don't Be Like These Guys
As you can see, outreach e-mails sent en masse without any personalization raise red flags pretty quickly in the recipient's eyes. The next time you sit down to do journalist or blogger outreach, use these emails as an example of what not to do. You wouldn’t send the same cover letter to every single job you applied to, and the same should go for your outreach emails. Write like you’re talking to a human being, convey the value you’re providing, and proofread your email. These tips will go a long way in convincing your outreach target that it’s worth learning more. To learn more about how to find the right prospects for your outreach, and how to pitch them, check out webinar with BuzzSumo.