How To Reach Out To People Without Pissing Them Off

February 12, 2014 Emily Bauer

B2B Marketing Outreach

Establishing relationships with bloggers and industry influencers is an important aspect of digital marketing. The larger your network of industry connections, the bigger your opportunity for growth and exposure and the more poised you are for success. Connections with industry icons and popular bloggers are invaluable when it comes to promoting your content and garnering brand support. Knowing how to reach out to someone new online is an important skill to master if you want to earn the chance to work with bloggers and marketers whose work you admire.

Whether you’re looking to persuade an industry icon to write a guest post for your site or hoping to gain positive exposure through the help of a well-known blogger, here are some guidelines to help you reach out to people without pissing them off.

Make a connection before requesting help

Before you start asking for all kinds of favors, guest posts, and mentions, reach out to potential connections with a simple introduction and a thoughtful comment about their work. Familiarize yourself with bloggers relevant to your field and connect with them at a time when you don’t actually need their help. Comment on their posts, shoot them a tweet praising their latest article or simply send a friendly email. Most bloggers and influencers are more willing to lend you a hand down the road if you’ve already established a relationship.

Manners matter — introduce yourself

Why should anyone get involved with your projects if they don’t even know who you are or what you’re all about? It’s unlikely an established blogger will contribute to an unknown cause. Regardless of how well known you or your company are, take the time to explain your brand, message, campaign or whatever it is you want help promoting—don’t place the onus on the blogger to know about or research you. Aside from being the polite thing to do, it’s easiest for everyone involved if you are straightforward and thorough in your introduction.

Do your background research

Put some careful consideration into which influencers and bloggers you choose to contact, as not all of them will be compatible with your brand. Luckily, it’s extremely simple to ‘research’ a popular blogger or thought leader, as their online presence is vital to their professional image. Read their blog or website to determine whether their focus is actually related to your brand and to discover how they prefer to be contacted. Otherwise, be prepared for people to take offense at the fact that you couldn’t at least visit their website before bothering them with an email.

Personalized messages are crucial

Another good way to avoid pissing off someone you’d like to work with is to send a genuine, personalized message. Skip the generic memos with the blanket statements that could be meant for anyone. Not only will a personalized message receive more positive responses, they’ll get you more responses, period. A custom email shows that you’ve put in the time to learn about their blog or platform and helps you leave a more impactful impression. You can also use this opportunity to explain why their readers will care about your brand or how a relationship can be valuable to both of you.

Share the social media love

The easiest way to court an industry influencer is to reach out through social media channels. And once you’ve successfully established a connection, it’s both courteous and clever to return any social media love they’ve given you. Share links to their content (and not just the stuff that mentions your brand or product) with your followers on Twitter, LinkedIn or your company blog. Mutual promotional leads to mutual gains, and promoting their website or articles will entice them to return the favor.

Initiating contact vs. strengthening a loose connection

The above guidelines give you a good idea of how to reach out to someone new for the first time, but there will also be instances when you want to reconnect with someone you’ve lost touch with or with whom you have a very loose relationship. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to strengthen an existing connection. Here are some simple tips to develop a stronger relationship with bloggers and influencers:

  • Intermittently check in with your important connections to keep the relationship alive. You can chat about their blog or relevant industry news.
  • Share their content with your followers, endorse their skills on LinkedIn, retweet and favorite their tweets, and comment on their blog to stay on their radar.
  • If you have similar areas of expertise, send them a friendly message about your latest project. If it piques their interest, they might offer to get involved on their own; and if they don’t, you’re still in a dialogue.

The value of great first impressions

Much like initiating new relationships in the real world, it’s important to be polite and respectful when e-meeting or connecting with someone new for the first time—especially if you’re contacting them out of the blue. Well-known bloggers and industry icons already have a large network of contacts, so you need to put in the effort to make a new connection worthwhile to them. Keep the above tips in mind and you’ll avoid ruining a potentially great business relationship before it even begins.

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About the Author

Emily Bauer

Emily is a freelance writer based in Toronto, Ontario who covers a range of topics from technology to travel. She holds a Bachelor in English Literature and Business from the University of Waterloo. No matter how many projects she is working on, Emily always finds time for baking, reading, and yoga.

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