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How We Reached Out to Influencers and Got 1K Shares In Four Days

By Sara McGuire, Last Modified
Jan 25, 2016
> Marketing

Content markets are always looking for their next big content campaign--something that will grab really the attention of consumers.

It can be hard to determine which ideas will pull people in and which ones will end up being a waste of time and resources.

As a member of my company’s marketing team, we were looking for the next big idea that would drive traffic to our blog.

Since a large portion of our userbase is marketers, we wanted to do something targeting that group.

But knowing how much content geared towards marketers was already out there, we had to come up with something that would stand out.

Related Article: Free Traffic, Anyone? Adapting Your Content Strategy for Increased Blog Visits

Find Your Content Niche

We came up with the idea of reaching out to a content marketing and SEO experts for quick, actionable tips that marketers could apply to their content creation and marketing strategies. 

Now, articles like this already about on the web. So we needed to do two things: one, make sure our topic was focused and two, take an approach that would set us apart. What would set us apart was the large number of tips we would go for (we decided to aim for around 50 influencers and experts) and answering a question that we knew content creators and marketers were asking: how do you create content that is addictive?

We decided to ask for quick tips because we wanted a large number of responses from some of the biggest influencers out there—Neil Patel, Guy Kawasaki, Ann Smarty, Oli Gardner, to name just a few—and these are very busy people. We figured if we asked them for just a quick, 1-3 sentence answer, we would have a higher chance of getting a response.

The company I work for specializes in infographics, so we knew that we wanted to create an infographic with condensed quotes from the responses we got. Infographics are a great way to repurpose content, and they can be shared across a wide range of channels. What’s more, by offering the embed code to the infographic, we offered readers something they could take away and share on their own sites and social media if they wanted to. Marketers love visual content and articles with long word counts, so we decided to cater to that.

Having identified our content niche, we started our outreach.

Put Your Plan Into Action

Using specific keywords like “content expert,” “marketing expert” and “SEO expert,” we compiled a large and diverse group of contacts. We knew that not everyone we reached out to would respond to us so we compiled a list of around 100 influencers to contact. We then drafted an email template that we use to reach out to them.

We asked two simple, open-ended questions that people would be able to answer in very few sentences: 1) What makes for good content? 2) What is your top SEO strategy? Our intention was to get a diversity of answers that would address both the creation and outreach process of addictive content.

However, while we got a modest 23 responses from interested experts, we weren’t getting the number of responses we wanted fast enough. Two weeks passed by and we were worried we wouldn’t be able to reach 50. We knew we had to adjust our approach if we were going to achieve the goal we had set out for ourselves.

Switch Tactics to Get Better Results  

We decided to switch up our outreach tactics. Luckily, because we were only looking for quick tips from experts, this was easy to do.

Basically, we decided it was time to hustle. We fired out tweets to other marketing experts on Twitter asking them for their quick tip. This method proved to be extremely effective when combined with some old fashioned persistence. We had already emailed most of the people we tweeted at, but it wasn’t until we reached out over Twitter that a lot of them took notice. Rather than needing to take the time to type out a proper email, people could just fire off a quick 140-character answer to the question. That was how we got some of the bigger names like Neil Patel, Guy Kawasaki, Danny Ashton, and Oli Gardner. In certain cases (like Neil Patel, for instance) it took multiple emails and a tweet to get them to respond--their answers were short, but that was all we needed.

We reached 46 answers and decided to stop there because something about the unusual number stood out to us. If we had continued using the same methods, though, we could have easily exceeded that number. 

Something else caused us to change our approach in another regard. While we only asked for 1-3 sentence answers, some of the experts we reached out to took the time to offer us longer, multi-paragraph responses! These responses were rich with useful information for readers but they weren’t going to fit in our original infographic format. We asked ourselves, how else could we take advantage of this outreach and offer readers something with real, in-depth quality? Then it hit us: an ebook! An ebook would give us the opportunity to include these longer responses, as well as an introduction with some research and a conclusion that drew together major themes.

Where we had originally only planned to have a blog post and an accompanying infographic, now we also had a beautiful ebook to offer as well. We repurposed our expert responses into three different kinds of content to offer readers!

Don’t Stop There!

Once the initial outreach had been done to obtain our expert tips, now came the time to do outreach for people who would post and link to our blog post. The method we used is known as The Skyscraper Technique. You reach out to people before you release your content to build anticipation for your content. Our Director of Marketing sent out an email blast to a list of blog owners and site owners who might be interested in our content, compiled by searching keywords like “content marketing,” “SEO,” and “link building.” She used the following template:

email from director of marketing for Venngage

Once the post went live, we also sent out personalized individual emails to the expert who offered tips, thanking them for their contribution and asking them to kindly share the post on their channels. Once the experts began sharing the post on their channels, we saw the shares on our post jump drastically over a matter a hours. 

Related Article: How to Approach Social Media Influencers

The Results

Within three days the post reached 1000 shares, and the numbers continue to grow. We also formed connections with a bunch of new marketing and content experts, which is invaluable!  

So How Do You Create Addictive Content?

See what the experts have to say.

Sara McGuire
Sara McGuire
See Sara McGuire's Profile
Sara McGuire is a Content Editor at Venngage infographics. When she isn't writing research-driven articles for a number of business and marketing sites, she enjoys reading graphic novels and writing music reviews.
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