Using social and outreach to place off-site and create advocates

| 23 Apr, 2015

Senior Social Manager, Hannah Rainford and Outreach Executive, Maria Bain come together to debate outreach and social activities across the marketing funnel.

In particular, sharing the most useful tactics and tools to generate brand awareness, then cultivate brand advocates. 

Smart outreach

Maria: Outreach is the art of contacting and outreaching to individuals and online publications and outlets to try and place your content marketing for your SEO efforts.

Hannah: One of the things we'll do at the start of this is we'll look at Brandwatch. Brandwatch is a social media monitoring tool and that will allow us to look at brand competitors' conversations around that, but it also allows to look around industry themes.

For example, we could look around keywords about the summer and actually what conversations are happening. Are people talking about holidays? Are they talking about whether it's going to rain or it could be that they're thinking about where they should go and that kind of thing? And actually being able to pinpoint these conversations, who's talking about them and actually what content is being shared and from websites. It's going to be really crucial to this outreach process.

Maria: This is exactly where we tie in Gorkana, which is actually a PR database. It’s an online database of journalists and publications, all their contact information and their career history. What we use it for is to find those targeted outreach contacts that have been identified by Hannah. We’re trying to find people that are going to be most interested in our content pieces during the outreach process.

Outreach is most successful when you have a targeted name. A named recipient is always better than an info@

You might not get heard. You might not even get seen.

By using Gorkana's database, you can not only search individual editors for content verticals and subject areas, but you can also use the database to search sectors. Maybe you have a lifestyle or business sector and it will pull up all those publications in that area, which is really fantastic for when you're prospecting before outreaching. It gives you an idea of platforms that would want your content.

Ongoing relationship cultivating

Hannah: A really crucial bit of content that comes from Gorkana is that it could actually give you the Twitter handles of journalists or bloggers. If you can take these and put them into a Twitter list, and it could be by journalists, it could be by a content theme, because actually you want to maintain these relationships. You don't want to go through all this hard work of outreaching someone and then ignore them. Over time, you actually want to build these relationships and you want it to be ongoing especially it could be interesting content that you're sharing.

Maria: Exactly. This is where we use Twitter outreach; not only email but Twitter and social outreach. There's so many different platforms that you can contact a person by. It doesn't always have to be a cold email. Obviously emails are better for getting that chunky pitch out, the sort of nitty-gritty of your content, but sometimes a tweet, "Hey, would you be interested in something like this?" or, "I've seen you've written about this," can warm that lead up before you send that initial email out.

Also in regards to sharing and interacting with those people and influences on Twitter, BuzzSumo is a really great platform to search what content has been performing really well online. Basically BuzzSumo is a content analysis platform, which you can also find influences. Obviously Brandwatch is slightly better for that.

Content analysis and tailored Twitter lists

But for content analysis, BuzzSumo is really fantastic. You can plug in the domains - your website, your online publication - and it will draw a list of the top performing social content, so a content that's been shared the best over social channels. This is a great insight not only into maybe your pitch email saying, "I've seen that this previous content works really well. We've got something similar that you might also be interested in." People want to know that something is going to work. By inputting that, you're not only showing that you've been on their website but you're also getting an insert into what's going to work on their platform.

Hannah: As I was saying earlier, I was talking about Twitter list. You've got your contacts - people we've found in Gorkana, people we've found in Brandwatch, other people you may have found in BuzzSumo. You create these Twitter lists around themes, around journalists, and you want to maintain and nurture these relationships, because as I was saying before, you've gone through all this hard effort of outreaching. You don't want it to be a cold lead next time, because you haven't spoken to them for a year or 6 months. Actually have a time you want to engage with these people on Twitter.

Creating Twitter lists means actually you can go in and you can monitor what they're saying. It could be once a day. It could be once a week, once a fortnight, however much time you can spare, and just going in and seeing actually what you can engage with. It could be that they're talking about their holiday wondering where to go or the best places to go in New York. Actually you can engage them in that way. It could be they're actually asking for some content that you could actually provide and actually it could be the next time that you've got their content. You were saying it's a warm lead. You've already spoken to them, but it could be actually they're researching a piece and they think of you because you've had all that contact. They're the first person that you come to.

Actually in this whole outreach process, you're not outreaching. They're actually coming to you and that's the ideal situation that you want.

Maria: A lot of time we find that you outreach to someone, you pitch your content, they love it, but it's not a great fit. This is where monitoring their channels can be great to find opportunities for different bits of content that you could pitch. Maybe it wasn't a good fit then, but you've seen that they've started talking about something else and you go, "Wait, this might be of more interest and a better fit."

By monitoring what they're saying online, what they're doing, what they're sharing, you get a much better idea of what might be more successful during the outreach phase. Additionally engaging with them so you don't look like... No one likes a cold call and no one likes a cold email.

Top and bottom funnel activity

Hannah: Social and outreach, it's at the top of the funnel - brand awareness, getting customers to come into the funnel. It also sits at the bottom of the funnel. It's this advocacy. It's this retention. It's really important, because you're putting all this effort into brand awareness using social media, using outreach, get those customers in. You really need to focus on actually how you maintain those people at the bottom of the funnel. How do you get them to keep coming back? How do you get them to spread your message through word of mouth and recommend you to other people?

There's lots of things that you can do. It could be as simple as getting someone to like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter. It could be getting them to supply their email address, so that you can send them out emails all the time and keep them coming back to your websites providing them with offers and that kind of thing.

Maria: With content marketing and the outreach and the placements, we're obviously trying to target those top of the funnel. There are seekers and amplifiers; the seekers being people going out looking for content wanting to be engaged, to learn, to be advised. 

Hannah: And to be entertained as well.

Maria: Exactly. And then you've got your amplifiers. It's people looking for content to share with their followers. They want to be able to find something engaging and go, "Look, everyone. This is what I found. This is the content that I want to share with you." By placing your content on the most relevant sites, the ones you've determined through Brandwatch, listening through your Gorkana, you're able to sit on those platforms where your seekers and amplifiers are, and get your message across as well as possible.

True brand advocates

Hannah: And then what you'll need to do is you'll need to turn those seekers and amplifiers into joiners. Joiners are the brand advocates. They're the people that love your brand. These are the people that are going to spread your message word of mouth.

The amplifiers are going to do that as well, but actually these are the people that love your brand and they're the people you want to pass your message on. You need to make sure that not only are you creating content for seekers and amplifiers that's going to entertain them or provide them with information. You need to create content for your joiners. This could be something as simple as creating a Facebook ad using custom audiences. You're using your email database to serve them with a Facebook ad that offers then 10% off or a free white paper, something that says, "Thank you for being a loyal customer." They're media content marketing efforts.

Each social persona has its funnel place and tactic

You've got content for your seekers, your amplifiers, and you can use outreach for that. And then you can use social to create content for your joiners. That's the way to make content marketing a success. 

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