There are many reasons an outreach team can fail at earning coverage for a brand. The team can be made up of unqualified outreachers who don't have the skills necessary to get coverage. Or maybe the team is missing an efficiency-focused manager holding its members accountable for actually getting any wins.
But what if your outreach team is made up of really qualified members and run by a manager who ensures there is accountability? If your outreach team is still struggling to get coverage for your brand, chances are you aren't giving them projects they can actually pitch.
Why Your Outreach Team Can't Pitch Your Brand
The Pitch Doesn't Offer Bloggers What They Want
Bloggers are motivated by a variety of different things, such as money, branding opportunities, and partnerships. No matter what motivates them, though, all of them have one common interest – providing the best possible user experience for their readers.
Take a step back and think about what motivates you when reading a blog. Typically, you're looking to be entertained, inspired, or given advice. Have you ever gone to a blog to make a purchase? Have you ever said, "I need a pair of shoes, let me go to X blog to buy some"?
The answer is most likely no. Readers don't go to a blog to purchase something. Sure, there are impulse buys, but consumers would only land on a blog if they put a relevant query into Google and landed on one or they really like a certain blogger's style and want to get a second opinion.
What does all of this have to do with your brand? The key learning here is that you need to know what readers expect when they go to a blog.
Bloggers know that their readers want to be inspired or entertained – not read a bunch of advertorials touting a specific brand. Thus, you need to make sure anything you pitch to a blogger aligns with where readers are at in the funnel.
If you submit a guest post laden with optimized links to your product page when it is supposed to be an informative article, the blogger will most likely reject it. Similarly, if you pitch a piece of content that is about why your brand makes the best shoes and telling your company story, you will most likely be ignored.
Takeaway: Make sure to develop a marketing project that aligns with the type of content bloggers and their readers expect and want. Typically this content will be top of the funnel and not include your brand at all.
The Pitch is Too Tangential…
Many bloggers look at their blog as if it is their business. Since their brand can be affected by the business partnerships they pursue, many bloggers are upping their standards and researching the companies that pitch them. As such, if a leather couch company is pitching them an infographic on vampires, the blogger will think two things:
- Does it make sense to work with a leather couch company?
- Is this leather couch company an expert on what they are pitching (vampires)?
If your outreach team is pitching a blog, your brand better align with their content and pass that first question. If not – you need to make sure your outreach team is prospecting and pitching to sites correctly.
For question number two, is your outreach team pitching a project that makes sense for your brand to be executing? If not, a blogger most likely won't work with you because they want to make sure any content they highlight on their blog is accurate for their readers. What are the chances that a leather couch company is an expert on all things vampire?
Takeaway: Don't pitch a project around a subject that your brand isn't qualified to be talking about. Bloggers will look at your site and if they don't see any proof that you are indeed an expert on that topic, they won't want to work with your brand.
…Which Doesn't Make Your Brand Look Credible
If your company isn't qualified to be talking about a specific subject but your outreach team is pitching it anyway, this doesn't make your brand look credible. Bloggers want to work with companies that align with their own brand and will help legitimize their blogging business. No one wants to work with someone who can potentially bring bad juju.
Why is this credibility so important? Let's go back to the story of you, the consumer.
When you go to the Internet to find that perfect pair of shoes, what company do you end up purchasing from? Is it the one with the shady website, thin information, and poor customer service? Or is it the company that was bursting with useful information on its site, social "votes" via comments, and a strong social media following, and excellent customer support?
Consumers want to purchase from a brand they can trust. Credibility is so important to establishing this trust, so don't blow it by pitching projects to bloggers that don't help bolster a credible and consistent brand message.
Takeaway: Only pitch projects that align with subjects your company is qualified to be talking about in order for your brand to appear trustworthy. Ensure all content you create aligns with a consistent and credible brand message.
How to Make Sure Your Brand Is Pitch Worthy
The three takeaways from above is a starting point for ensuring your brand is pitch worthy:
- Pitch projects that align with what bloggers and their readers are expecting.
- Pitch projects only on topics your brand is qualified to talk about.
- Pitch projects that not only align with a subject relevant to your brand, but that also reflects a credible and consistent brand message.
Remember that bloggers look at your website in order to determine if they want to work with your brand. Thus, that credible and consistent brand message needs to be present on your site – think of your website as your brand's personal portfolio on which bloggers will judge you. Thus, even if the content you pitched to them hits all three points from above, if there isn't anything else in your "portfolio" to validate that your brand is qualified to be working on said project, the blogger might still reject or ignore your outreach team's pitch.
Hitting those three points for only one project isn't enough. You need to consistently work on projects that hit those three points, and all of those projects need to consistently be displayed on your website. How do you ensure consistency and hitting this checklist on every piece? Implement a content marketing plan.
Still not convinced content marketing can improve your outreach team's success rate? Watch this DistilledLive video explaining how content marketing creates brands that are actually pitch worthy.
Image Credit: Rich Anderson/Flickr