There are people out there who believe Jersey Shore is the biggest waste of airtime since Fox started airing reruns of M*A*S*H (Seriously, who is still watching that show?). I’d argue, however, there are some valuable lessons SEOs can learn about outreach from the mistakes and philosophies of the rowdy, promiscuous cast.
There’s nothing more humiliating than attempting to convince someone you know what you’re talking about – and then getting it all wrong. Check out this example when Deena makes a mistake while trying to call Mike a pyromaniac:
Wasn’t that painful? As an SEO, you never want this to happen to you. You’re probably going to have a few clients that you know nothing about their obscure industries. Make sure you do all your research up front. Talk to the client, research industry jargon, and read a few blogs. Don’t write the email until you have a reasonable grasp of the topic.
When it comes to outreach, efficiency is key. The more people you can contact in the least amount of time, while remaining effective, means more leads for less money. Nothing boosts efficiency like a well-planned routine, and what better routine to mimic than the Jersey Shore boy’s G.T.L. (Gym, Tan, Laundry)?
[G]et a List of Influencers
Before you send anything, find out what groups you will target (industry professionals, potential customers, industry bloggers, etc.). Once you’ve got your groups, go out and find influencers that fall within these groups. Make sure to collect all of their contact information that is available (phone, email, Twitter, etc.). There are multiple free resources you can use to find these influencers, such as Outreachr, Klout, and Topsy.
Don’t be afraid to go after the bigger names! It doesn’t take that much extra time to write the email, and the payoff for your client can be enormous. Just don’t focus so much time on the big fish that you forget to pick the lower hanging fruit – most of the time, they’re the bread and butter.
[T]hink about Your Outreach Approach
Outreach emails are a delicate balance between being informative enough without boring the reader, being confident without being cocky, and flattering the receiver enough to make them like you, without making them feel like you’re desperate.
It’s a good idea for efficiency’s sake to type a generic email for each target group. It is not a good idea to send out a mass email to the group without making adjustments based on the needs of each individual influencer. Take the time to run through their site or blog and see what they’ve been talking about. It will give you an idea about who their audience is and how to phrase your message.
There are a number of great resources out there for how to write efficient and effective outreach emails. Make sure to check them out after you finish this blog post.
[L]ook Out for Responses
After you send out your emails, it’s time to wait for replies. When an influencer contacts you with questions, make sure you’re quick to answer and send details they need to share your content as easily as possible. This is critical. People have short attention spans, and they don’t want to work too hard to do you a favor. If you’re slow to respond, or your content is too difficult to share, you may lose opportunities.
Sometimes you won’t get any response. That’s when you have to start thinking outside of the box. Remember your list of influencers? You’ve only utilized one contact medium for them. It’s time to get on the phone or send them a tweet!
If there’s one thing the Jersey boys are good at, it’s quantity. Reaching out to as many influencers as possible means, eventually, you’re going to bring a few of them home. But, watch out for the grenades! Finding an influencer you can bring home to mom (the client) is ideal, but be prepared for sure-thing situations that turn out to be unattractive once you shine some light on them. If you send out all your emails, do your follow-up, and still get no response – go back to step one of G.T.L. and identify some more influencers to contact. The more people you contact – with a good pitch – the better chances you have of succeeding.
Follow these lessons and you’ll have influencers D.T.F. – “down to forward (your content)” – in no time at all.