Over the past month, I’ve been working away on a blogger outreach campaign for 2017. In fact, one of the campaigns is now completely subscribed for the next year. As in, all the way to the end of December 2017.
I’d love to pretend that this was all down to my organisational skills, but it’s not. It’s largely because my team used a couple of tactics to create a bit of momentum ahead of the campaign which increased our chances of success.
I’m going to start with a disclaimer; the campaign we were working on was a decent one. There was a natural attraction for people to work with us.
Put it this way, we weren’t trying to flog a toilet brush for review, and we weren’t trying to get bloggers to post yet another infographic for the pure reward of “fresh, original and relevant content”.
We were offering a chance for influencers to collaborate with a well-known travel brand by doing something they already love: creating something special in the kitchen, or having a day out to explore food in their local area.
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, there is still the story of the tactics that we used for the campaign to generate buzz. I want to share these with you in the hope that they may be helpful for your own campaigns in the future.
I’ve also included a few more ideas that could work for you outside of what I did for this specific campaign.
The work for this campaign started before the project was even fully signed off by the client. Saying that, we had a good idea of what would be agreed, and it allowed us over a week to start getting people involved. This brings me to point one:
Set the scene and create an example
As I was working on another campaign at the time, I was fortunate enough to be able to share an exciting opportunity with relevant influencers on Twitter.
This had two benefits. Firstly, I could discover any targets that I’d missed for the campaign. However, this wasn’t overly important to me as my team had already been working hard on sourcing some great influencers and having conversations with them.
The real reward here was being able to attract the attention of people who were outside of my requirements. In this case, those people based in the UK rather than the US and Canada. With this, the bait was set and I got some bites when I posted it.
What was important was that the example of this big opportunity was still available to view when I took the next step…
My next move was to drop a simple tweet to get people actively wanting to work with me and my team on the campaign, rather than us approaching our targets completely cold. Warm leads are nicer to work with, and it didn’t take a lot of effort to achieve this.
This had a secondary advantage; as momentum for responses picked up, there was clear social proof to other influencers that they should get involved too. And this was all without even knowing exactly what the campaign would be. All I said was “Exciting UK foodie & travel blogger projects over the next few weeks”, so this could have meant anything.
In the end, I received around 130 replies, a similar number of likes, and a few retweets. It got to the point where I had to close the request due to the sheer number of responses, telling people to stay in touch for future campaigns.
Start a countdown
In my conversations with influencers, I told them I’d get in touch within a couple of weeks, and in my tweet I made it clear that I had projects coming up over the next few weeks. This showed that I wasn’t desperate, but that I was merely seeking some suitable candidates to be considered at the right time.
I’ve seen outreach project timelines communicated even better than this by other brands, who actively promote that they’ll start their hunt for influencers on a certain day, and will count down to it publicly. With the right message and imagery, this can be a powerful way to get the right people on board.
Create a newsletter
If working with influencers is going to be a regular activity, it can make a lot of sense to get a solid group of people together who are happy to hear from you about possible campaigns in the future.
You can do this by having an email newsletter that is specifically created for influencers who want to be added to your lists or database. By making some of the bigger opportunities exclusive to those subscribe to receive your newsletter, you will likely increase the number of people who sign up. This means more bloggers who are open to hearing from you about your campaigns.
Check out this example from icelolly.com on Twitter:
Ask for nominations
When you begin looking for the connections between influencers, you soon realise that there are many established friendship groups, and new ones being created all the time. The good community spirit of many bloggers is ideal, as you can use it to your advantage.
Instead of just asking people to put themselves forward for an opportunity, you could ask people to recommend others who they think would be a perfect fit. This gives people the feel-good factor, but you’ll benefit from this too by having up to twice as many people referenced in conversation with you. That means you can grab the details of the person who was nominated, as well as the influencer who nominated them (if applicable).
I have one final bonus tactic that can help to keep the momentum going, and that’s once the campaign is underway:
“We’re already close to being subscribed…”
As I referenced in my opening paragraph, the project that I’ve been working on over the last month has been somewhat of a whirlwind success. Yet the unusual thing about this campaign is that we were looking for people for the entirety of 2017.
Getting people on board for January through to March seemed like a logical place to start, and if I’m honest, we were going to recruit influencers for the rest of the year when we felt like it was closer to the time.
But once we’d filled the first few months, we figured we’d try our luck with a few more; after all, bloggers already knew we were working on a campaign and I said we’d be in touch. By the time August was filled, we started to get inbound enquiries asking if we had space left – the campaign concept was seemingly being spread directly through the community.
When I came to sending the last outbound emails for November and December, I could prove to influencers that this was an opportunity that was very much in demand by saying that we were almost out of spaces. It wasn’t even another 24 hours before I had confirmation that the year was fully subscribed.
What you can take from this is that sharing success can make the opportunity available seem a lot more appealing. This could be done by showing off a previous outreach campaign if you don’t have anything to show for your current one.
So that’s my story, but how have you boosted your outreach campaigns by increasing buzz amongst the blogger community? I’d love to hear your own examples, so leave me a comment below to get in touch.