Outreach has come of age. Traditional outreach channels, such as advertising and direct mail, while still having a place, have been somewhat usurped by a growing number of digital channels, enabling you to submit more targeted messages with more measurable results, writes Adam Stokes.

Building trustworthy relationships is something that takes time and effort, and ensuring that the campaign you’re working on is relevant for outreach in the first place is a creative decision not to be taken lightly.

Primarily, there are two types of outreach – direct to the customer or via a third-party, such as a blogger or journalist. Tailor your messages accordingly.

Direct Outreach

Telephone and Laptop

This is where you build your relationships with your clients. Direct outreach can include email prospecting, direct mail, and picking up the phone. Often a combination of all three is the best way forward, using different channels to build trust, learning as you go how your client prefers to be communicated with. Remember – a one-size-fits all approach rarely works to good effect. If you want to build trust you need to get personal.

So who should be on your outreach list? Existing clients or customers should be top of the list, as you try to add to the service or product they are already receiving. Previous customers should also be targeted – if they’ve bought from you before, they likely to buy from you again. Then, it gets trickier – research your market, your competitors, your local area and build out your list from there.

Third-Party Outreach

Journalist

Build trust and brand awareness through third-party endorsement. Get bloggers and journalists on board, and never underestimate the power of social media.

To successfully find sources that are both willing and effective at bringing awareness to your campaign is often easier said than done.

Before you can begin to build lasting, effective relationships that help bring awareness and traffic to your campaign, you’re going to need to know where to find them. Although there are a number of methods that can be used for finding relevant prospects, your research will always start in the same way:

Google – of course

  • Simple search queries – Use your way with words and Google away until you feel your search is exhausted.

Now the real work begins.

  • Twitter search can help to find relevant bloggers
  • com to find high authority bloggers
  • com to find social links and inspire a wider search
  • Blog directories that list relevant, valuable sources
  • PR software such as Vocus to build media lists

Finding high quality, relevant prospects that are willing to give exposure to your campaign is the most important part of an outreach campaign, and has the potential to pave the way for easier, more successful campaigns in the future. As you are building relationships, they will get stronger each time you make communication.

But remember – you may need to repurpose your message to fit your prospect – journalists will be keen to receive press releases and bloggers want guest blog content, while social media feeds off creative content such as infographics and ebooks.

Making First Contact

Telephone

Contacting your prospects can be done through phone calls, e-mail or even direct message. Determining which is the most appropriate and effective method of contact will depend entirely on the prospect, whether they’re an independent blogger, a multinational corporation, or lie somewhere in-between.

Make sure all your messages are personalised and relevant to the prospect, and be prepared for rejection or a lack of response. If you contact enough people you will reap results, and remember, just because someone doesn’t respond to your first contact it doesn’t mean they are not interested. Try them again with a different message via a different medium and see what results you get.

Only time will tell which prospects will turn out to be successful for your campaign, but if you’ve done efficient research, then you should find that all your chosen distributors are helpful to drive your campaign.

Not sure what your outreach message should be? Read our previous blog on 8 Reasons Why Content Ideation is Vital to Digital Marketing.

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About the author:

Adam Stokes joined ClickThrough as a content writer in March 2015. His role involves writing industry news articles, blog posts, product descriptions, web pages, infographics and more for many of ClickThrough’s clients. Away from his desk he enjoys writing screenwriting, creating flash fiction, and eating nothing but Cadbury’s.