At the height of my blogging career, I received over 100 pitch emails a day. A DAY.
I wrote a tech-focused parenting blog, so the emails ranged from junk to advertising inquiries to pitches for products that made absolutely no sense for my audience. But sometimes, emails came in that piqued my interest.
What’s the difference between a junk email and one that makes an influencer actually want to take action? How can you make an influencer want to work with your brand? The initial pitch can make all the difference.
Before you prepare your pitch, make sure you set measurable goals and objectives.
What are you trying to do with your influencer-marketing program? Launch a specific product? Promote an upcoming event? Identifying measurable goals and objectives (i.e. partnering with X influencers for X number of impressions) can help you choose your target audience, provide clear guidance to influencers and be used to evaluate the success of the campaign once it’s complete.
Who are you trying to reach with this campaign? Knowing your target audience can help you determine exactly which influencers would be the best partners. Some marketers choose to use an influencer-marketing agency with a robust internal network for this part, as it can be a time-consuming hole of intense Google searches and PR checklists.
Now … back to that all-important initial email.
A single email is the first step of many in working with bloggers on a campaign and turning that into a successful relationship you can rely on in the future. How can you make sure your emails are being read? Here’s six tips:
- Interesting subject lines
Think about your own inbox. Do you have dozens, if not hundreds (if not thousands!) of unread emails floating around in there? Most influencers’ inboxes are just the same. They are communicating with readers, other bloggers/Twitter users/Instagrammers and, of course, businesses just like you. Don’t fall into the trap of using skewed marketing techniques in the subject line. This will end up seeming like click-bait. Be very direct. We like to use lines such as, “You’re In! Client Name…,” or “Campaign Opportunity—Client name.” Let them know what they’re getting themselves into before they even open the email.
- Clear goals and next steps
Every email needs to have a clear purpose and direction for an influencer to become involved. The influencers need to see that whatever you are offering adds value to their life and to their followers’ lives. Keep the word count to a minimum so they can easily see the purpose. We like to use landing pages featuring all the details as to not bog down the email and miss the opportunity to connect.
- Make it personal
Keep every step as easy as possible for them. For example, if you are asking a female blogger to review a product, send it to her and package it as beautifully as possible. She will likely appreciate and recognize the effort that goes into sending the product in a creative way. It shows you care, and it gives you another means of displaying your brand. Bloggers and influencers are constantly being hit up by brands to feature their products, and the best way to ensure great content is to start that personal connection with them from the very beginning.
- Make their time worth it
Make sure to let your influencers know their time is just as valuable as yours. For most influencers, this is their second job or just a hobby. Be sure to give them plenty advance on deadlines and offer help along the way.
- Be warm and personable
No one wants to interact with a bot. Use an email account with someone’s real name instead of just an email@example.com to reach out to your bloggers and have an arm-in-arm style of communication with them. Most bloggers are very personable and friendly people. They’ll want to work with people who are the same way. Be warm and friendly so they’ll enjoy working with you, recommend you to other influencers and want to work with you again. Make them feel like part of the team! A cold, corporate-esque vibe will come off more as a responsibility for them rather than a fun opportunity.
- Friend, Tweet, share and comment
Influencers ARE social media. Make sure they see you “liking” their content and engaging and sharing it. Offer to feature them on your brand’s social. This will give them a chance to expand their readership—and they will be grateful. The plus side to this is that it not only empowers them, but it will most likely grow your brand’s social capital as well.
Stephanie McCratic is CEO of influence company Acorn. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was originally published on Chief Marketer in April 2016 and is updated regularly.