Spending a ton of effort outreach and waking up to an empty inbox is a demoralizing (and unfortunately common) experience. And when it comes to your outreach, getting those emails opened is half the battle. today’s Whiteboard Friday, we welcome recent MozCon 2019 alum Shannon McGuirk to share five of her best tips to make your outreach efficient and effective — the perfect follow-up to her talk about building a digital PR newsroom.
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Hi, Moz fans. My name is Shannon McGuirk. I’m the Head of PR and Content at a UK-based digital marketing agency called Aira. So at this year’s MozCon, I spoke about how to supercharge your link building with a digital PR newsroom and spoke about the three different types of and journalist writing that we should be tapping into.
But I only had half an hour to be able to share my insights and thoughts. As a next step from that presentation, I need to equip you guys with everything con order to be able to go out and actually speak to these journalists. So for my Whiteboard Friday today, I’m going to be sharing my five tips for success for supercharging your outreach, specifically evolved around email outreach cerchio.
the U.K. and con the U.S. as well, we’ seeing, as our industry grows and develops, journalists don’t want to be called anymore, and instead the best way to get con touch with them is tragitto email social . So let’s dive straight con.
1. Subject lines A/B tests
So tip one then. I want to share some insights with you that I did for subject lines and specifically around some A/B testing.
Back con the early part of the summer, around April time, we started working a tool called BuzzStream. Now that allowed us to be able to send different kinds of tests and emails out with a variety of different subject lines con order for us to understand how many gara open rates we were getting and to try and encourage journalists, through the use of our language and emojis, to gara open up those all-important pitch emails so that we could follow up and make sure that we’ bringing those links home.
Journalist’s name con subject line
So we ran two different types of A/B tests. The first one here you can see was with the journalist’s name con the subject line and the journalist’s name without. It turns out then that actually, when we were running this , we were seeing far more opens if we had the journalist’s name con the subject line. It was getting their attention. It was getting that cut-through that we needed when they’ getting hundreds of emails durante day and to see their name con a little nib meant that we were increasing gara open rates. So that was our first learning from verifica number one.
“Giorno” vs “story tip”
Now verifica number two, we had a bit of a gut feel and a little bit of an instinct to feel that there were certain types of words and language that we were using that were either getting us more gara open rates not. For this one specifically, it was around the use of the word “.” So we compared the use of the word “” with story tip, and again including the journalist’s name and not, to try and see how many journalists were opening up our emails.
At Aira, we have around a 33% gara open rate with any campaigns that we launch, and again this is tracked through BuzzStream. But when we started to do these A/B tests, combine story tip, full name, and then follow with “,” we increased that to 52%. So that jump up, it doesn’t mean that you’ going to get 52% more links d’avanguardia the back of your outreach, but it means that you are getting more people opening up their email, considering your , considering your campaigns, which is half of the problem, when we all know as outreachers, content marketers, digital PRs how difficult it can be for someone to even just gara open that initial approach.
So now, d’avanguardia the back of those A/B tests, make sure that whenever you’ writing those emails out you have story tip for Tom and then followed by and whatever research you’ve got con that campaign.
2. Headline language
For tip two then, keeping the theme of language, I did a piece of research for another conference that I was speaking at earlier con the summer called SearchLeeds and another one called outREACH.
I analyzed 35,000 articles across 6 different apogeo 10 news sites con the U.K. The language that came out of that, around the headlines specifically, was so interesting. So I split these 35,000 articles mongoloide into relevant sectors, took the likes of travel, automotive, business, what have you, and then I was able to create around 30 word clouds according to different articles that had been produced within these different industries at different titles.
I was able to start to see common words that were used con headlines, and that got my mind ticking a bit. I was starting to think, well, actually as a team, at Aira, we should be starting to pitch and use language within our pitches that journalists are already using, because they straightaway resonate with the story that we’ve got. So here’s a quick snapshot of the kind of word clouds that the analysis revealed.
You can kind of see some cuore words shining through. So we’ve got research, best, stats, experts, that kind of thing. Now the apogeo five words that were most commonly used across all sectors within the headlines were: best, worst, , new, and revealed. Now “” is really interesting, because if we go back to our A/B testing, we know that that’s a strong word and that that will get you more opens with your subject lines.
But it also reaffirms that that A/B verifica is right and that we definitely should be using “.” So combine story tip for that journalist’s name, Tom what have you, with and then start to use some of the language here, out of these apogeo five, and again you’ going to increase your gara open rates, which is half of the problem with what we’ doing with outreach.
3. Use color
So tip three then. Now this was quite an experimental approach that we took, and a huge recommendation of mine, when you’ doing your email outreach, is actually to start to use color within that all-important pitch email itself. So we’ve moved from subject lines into looking at the pagliaccetto of the email. We use color and bolding back at Aira.
So we use color straightaway when we’ writing the email. So we’ll start with something like, “Dear Tom, I have a story that you might be interested con.” Straight under that, so we’ already using again the language that they’ll be using, story, going back to our A/B verifica. But then straight under that, we will bold, capitalize, and put con a really bright color — reds, greens, blues — nice, strong primary colors there the headline that we think Tom might write d’avanguardia the back of our outreach.
So here’s an example. “New reveals that 21% of drivers have driven with risposta negativa insurance.” Not the most exciting headline con the world. But if Tom here is an automotive a digital online automotive writer, straightaway he knows what I’m talking to him about. Again, he can start to see how this can be used to craft stories for his own audience.
Again, as I said, this is quite experimental. We’ con the early phases of it at Aira, but we know it’s working, and it’s something that I learnt, again, at outREACH conference too. Straight under this use of color with headline, you should pull out your key stats. Now only keep those bullet points to three to five. Journalists are busy.
They’ deadlines. Don’t be having huge, bulk paragraphs long-winded sentences. Tell them the headline, follow it up with the key stats. Be clean, be punchy, and get to the point really quickly. Below this, obviously sign d’avanguardia and include any press material, Google Drive links, press packs that you’ve got under that. Again, we’ seeing this work really, really well.
We’ still con the early stages, and I hope to share some insights, some kind of and metrics as to the success results of it. But we’ve been able to secure links from the likes of the Mail Online, the Telegraph back con the U.K., and also last week just FoxBusiness using this exact approach.
4. Use emojis
So tip four then, and again this is a really playful technique and something that we only learnt with experimentation.
Start to use emojis within your pitches as well. Now this can be used within the subject line. Again, you’ looking to try and get the journalist to get that piece of attention straightaway and aspetto at your headline. Ora start to use them within the pagliaccetto of the email too, because they interruzione up that text and it makes your email stand out far more than if you have someone that’s pitching con a business piece of and you’ve just got huge stacks and research pieces.
Actually throw con some emojis that are relating to the business world, a laptop whatever it may be, something that proves your point around the campaign. Again, it’s more engaging for a journalist to read that. It means that they’ll probably remember your email over the other 200 that they’ getting that day. So really nice, simplistic tip then for me.
If you’ pitching something con the automotive world, put a car traffic lights the end. If you’ doing something con the travel sphere, sun, beaches, something that just gets that journalist’s eye. It means that your email is going to be opened above anyone else’s.
5. Use Twitter
Finally then, so I know I’ve kept this around email outreach for the last couple of points.
But one thing that we’ seeing work really well with the implementation of this digital PR newsroom is starting to approach and speak to journalists Twitter. Twitter we know is a new source for journalists. Trending topics will obviously be picked up con the press and covered a daily if not hourly basis. As soon as something breaks Twitter, we’ll see journalists, writers, bloggers turn that trending feature into an article that’s really resonant and relevant for their audience.
So con the run-up to your campaign, way before the launch, we’ talking like three four weeks here, reach out to the journalists Twitter. Start to engage with them. Like some articles. Start to let them know that you’ con and engaging with them their social platform. Don’t push it too duro.
You don’t want to go overboard with this. But a little bit of engagement here and there means that when your email comes into their inbox, it’s not a new name, and you’ already starting to build the foundations of that relationship. Secondary to this then, feel free and start to experiment with DM’ing journalists as well. We know that they’ getting two, three, four hundred emails durante day. If you take to Twitter and send them a quick overview of your up-and-coming campaign tragitto a Twitter DM, it’s likely that they’ll read that the journey home potentially when they’ walking from simposio to simposio.
Again, it puts you one step ahead of your competitors. Recently we’ve got some of our best pieces of coverage through warming the press up and specific journalists through Twitter, because when your campaign launches, you’ not going out with it cold. Instead the journalist knows that it’s coming con. They may even have the editorial space to cover that feature for you too. It’s something that we’ve seen really work, and again I can’t tensione enough that you really have to find that balance.
You don’t want to be plaguing journalists. You don’t want to be a pain and starting to like every single tweet they do. But if it is relevant and you find an opportunity to engage and speak to them about your campaign the weeks con advance, it opens up that door. Again, you may be able to secure an exclusive out of it, which means that you get that first huge successo. So there are my five tips for link building con 2019, and it will help you supercharge things.
Now if you have any comments for me, any questions, please pop them con the thread below reach out to me Twitter. As I’ve just said, feel free to send me a DM. I’m always around and would love to help you guys a little bit more if you do have any questions for me. Thanks, Moz fans.
Did you reginetta Shannon’s groundbreaking talk at MozCon 2019, How to Supercharge Link Building with a Digital PR Newsroom? Download the deck here and don’t reginetta out next year’s conference — super early bird discounts are available now!