And ways to keep your sanity…
There comes a time in a digital marketer’s life when some things can’t be entirely automated.
Handpicking bloggers requires a little bit more effort than putting a few tags in Outreachr, sitting back and waiting for a CSV file. I’ve been involved in a few smaller projects recently, and although they’ve turned out well in the end, I’ve almost gone insane with some of the hurdles that I’ve faced along the way (some colleagues may dispute the use of the word ‘almost’).
So what makes me go a bit loopy? A number of things. If you feel my pain then let me know in the comments below. However, before you reach for the Valium, take a look at a few of my pointers for some easy prescribed relief.
Where The Devil Is Your Email Address?
It’s rather inconsiderate of you that you’ve not mentioned your email address anywhere on your blog. Do you know what this means? This means that I am unable to contact you, so that you, yes you, get to promote my client to your community (which you’ve built up yourself) while I give you a load of free stuff. How very dare you. Of course I’m joking but it’s such a ball ache having to get in touch with a blogger via a public comment box, and ask them to get in touch with you.
So what’s the remedy? There’s a few, and forgive me if they sound like obvious solutions.
- Google “blogger’s/blog’s name” and “email” or “contact”. Quite often the blogger may have written a guest post elsewhere and their contact details follow too. Sounds simple, but have you done it before?
- Type “contact” into their internal site search. It can sometimes pull up and old post where it has once been mentioned.
- Use Rapportive – it is a nifty plugin for Gmail which enables you to see a preview of a person’s profile picture, links to their social media accounts and a brief bio associated with the email. But what we’re looking for is the email address, so how’s it supposed to work? We have to work backwards, and, in conjunction with another tool – the Email Permutator – made by Distilled’s Rob Ouseby. It allows you to find almost anyone’s email address. Check out the original blogpost for a more in-depth tutorial, but in essence, if you have the blogger’s first and second name, along with the blog’s domain, you can use the generated email possibilities – along with Rapportive – to find that illusive email address. Test out each address the Email Permutator provides, and copy and paste the options the address bar in Gmail. If Rapportive confirms the details with a bio and picture etc, the email’s a good ‘un.
I’m stalking Hannah…
What’s Your Name?
There’s no trace of the blogger’s name. Anywhere. You’ve checked their Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and contact page. You’re not going to break rule number one in in blog outreach and start your email with “hello there” or “dear blogger,” are you? There may still be a few avenues you can tap:
- As with unearthing email addresses, try searching “name” and the URL of the blog. Again, the blogger may have been interviewed on another site where their first name has been mentioned.
- My least favourite thing on the internet is Klout, but in this situation it proves to be not entirely worthless. Type the blogger’s pseudonym or the name of their blog into the site’s search facility.
Trust me, the extra time searching for a name is worth it.
There is a God: Mail Merge
I don’t know quite what I’d without this bad boy. It’s perfect for blog outreach as it sends personalised emails without having to edit each one individually. So for example, it will detect the email address and the respective blogger’s first name.
- Draft your email in Gmail and save with your desired subject line.
- Where you might say ‘Hello Blogger’, replace it for the syntax ‘Hello <<first name>>’.
- Set up a Google spreadsheet. In one column enter the bloggers’ first names, labelling the column with ‘first name’ (don’t worry, it gets easier from here) and in the second column enter the respective email address (labeling the column accordingly). Got it?
- Click on ‘Tools’ on the top menu and select ‘Script Gallery’. In the new window’s search facility type ‘Yet Another Mail Merge’. Hit install, authorise, and then ‘grant access’ in the new window.
- When you return to your original spreadsheet, you should see ‘Mail Merge’ as a new tab. Select ‘standard merge’ from the drop down menu.
- When asked, the recipients you want to contact are in your email column.
- A new window will appear with a list of all the emails in your drafts folder. Select the one you want to send. At this stage, I normally check that it works on a few colleagues’ emails – sometimes Mail Merge takes a duvet day. Plus, you don’t want to spam all those bloggers with ‘Hello <<first name>>’; a tad impersonal I’ve found.
- Check your name is as you’d want it to appear, and then hit send. A new column in your spreadsheet will tell you whether the email has been sent successfully.
Hello… Anyone there?
For some people, the reply button is like playing Splat the Rat at a fairground: an instinctive reaction. For others, checking the inbox is a painful once-a-week experience. Most bloggers are pretty quick to get back to you but – and it happens to the best of us – an email can get lost in the clutter, opened or unopened, and quickly forgotten about.
Is it common for you to chase up unanswered emails? Is it part of your routine? I’ve found that when written with a bit of charm and personality, a second ‘reminder’ email can work to boost your response rate. There are two avenues to choose.
- If using Mail Merge, use a Google spreadsheet to keep track of who has responded and who hasn’t. Mail Merge with a new reminder email template.
- If you’re manually sending emails, I recommend installing Boomerang for Gmail to remind you that they’ve not replied. Before you hit send, under the subject line you’ll see ‘Boomerang this message’ and ‘if I don’t hear back’. Choose from the drop down menu to select a date when you want to be ‘boomeranged’.
If you’re having a bad day doing blog outreach and want to let of some steam / indulge in mutual misery, then tweet me @Heather_McKay.
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