The fear of rejection.
A lot of people dream of becoming bloggers and yet they’re unable to force themselves to write their first article. They’re afraid that it won’t be good enough and the whole world will see that.
But the fear of rejection doesn’t end there.
You’ve tamed your inner critic by investing tons of hard work into your article and you’ve published it on your blog, because you think it’s great.
Now it’s time to show it to the authorities. And immediately the next round of “the fear of rejection” kicks in.
What if your perception of “great article” is different from how authorities see it?
What if you discover that something you’re so proud of is not actually as good at you thought it was?
That is exactly what happened to me. And luckily, I managed to learn from it.
Reaching Out To Rand
There’s an article on BloggerJet that took me more than a month to write.
It’s called “How To Write Content Strategically: The Guide To Getting Traffic, Subscribers & Sales With Your Articles” and it’s a mammoth 7000-word piece with tons of tips, examples, case studies and even custom visuals.
I’m convinced that it’s the best piece of content I’ve produced to this date. And my confidence made me want to show it to the top people in my field.
I’ve picked Rand Fishkin as one of my primary targets. This guy has a Twitter following of over 200K raving fans and a single tweet from him could do wonders to my blog.
Actually I’m an adequate person and I perfectly understand that Rand will most likely ignore a “cold email” from a random guy, trying to make him tweet his article.
But luckily I wasn’t a “random guy”.
So here’s what I wrote to him:
And it worked!
Even though I had this weak connection with Rand, I didn’t honestly expect him to reply to my email (I’m sure he doesn’t have a lot of time for such things).
But he did:
Obviously I got a bit discouraged, that my content wasn’t good enough to make him want to tweet it.
But that email made my brains work and I’ve learned quite a few lessons that I want to share with you.
Lessons I’ve Learned From Reaching Out To Rand Fishkin
Lesson #1: Even a small connection is way better than nothing
Despite the fact that my article on Moz was wildly popular, it happened 5 years ago and I’m sure Rand doesn’t even remember it.
But I’m convinced that it’s the fact that I’ve mentioned that article, which made Rand treat me differently and actually reply to my email.
Go out and do good things for influential people:
- comment on each of their articles;
- write for their blog;
- help them promote their products or services;
- link to them a lot;
- offer your help in the fields where they are not very skilled, etc.
This will dramatically increase your chances of getting some help from them in future.
Lesson #2: Only reach out if you think it’s a masterpiece
There are 150 articles published at BloggerJet to this date. Some of them are lame, others are better and a few are real solid.
But only one article out of 150 was worth showing to Rand Fishkin (in my humble opinion).
And even though Rand admitted it was “a very comprehensive and lengthy piece and I’m sure will be helpful to some folks” – it still wasn’t good enough for him.
Despite the fact that my article didn’t make it to Rand’s Twitter feed, I’m sure it didn’t ruin my credibility either.
But what if I emailed him this article? – How To Send A Mass Message To All Your LinkedIn Contacts (Simple Tool)
I think he would consider me an idiot and put me to his blacklist.
Only reach out to top people if you’re convinced that your article is worthy. Otherwise you’re going to shoot yourself in the foot.
Lesson #3: Top people are very picky about their social sharing
Rand is a top marketer of this planet. Hundreds of thousands of people watch religiously everything he says and does.
What are the odds that he will tweet a 7000-word article that neither he, nor anyone on his team have read?
I guess he could possibly tweet that same article if it was a guestpost at Moz, because this means that it was thoroughly checked by his editorial team.
But tweeting a 7000-word article on a blog he didn’t even know exist? Who knows what’s in that article…
If you really want an influencer to tweet your article – go submit it on his blog and make his editorial team approve it first.
And the last thing I want to share with you guys is two psychological principles that I’ve used in my outreach email.
Two Psychological Principles I’ve Used In My Outreach Email
Both tricks are the courtesy of Dr. Robert Cialdini that I’ve learned from his amazing book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”.
And to be honest with you, I’ve used them subconsciously, but still…
1. The Principle of Reciprocity
Humans generally tend to return favours and once you do someone a favour, he will feel obliged to reciprocate.
My super successful post at Moz was some kind of a favour to Rand, which I’m sure was the main reason why he replied to me.
2. The Principle of Consistency
According to Robert Cialdini, we have a deep desire to be consistent. Once we’ve shown our commitment to something, we’re then more inclined to go through with it.
I told Rand that I was an author of a post, that was once very popular in his community, which led to an assumption that my other article might be just as good.
Obviously that wasn’t enough to make him tweet it, but at least it made him click the link and skim through it.
Please Adjust Your Influencer Outreach Strategy
The topic of content promotion and specifically “influencer outreach” is getting tons of attention lately.
Even my own inbox is regularly bombarded with “cold emails” from random people, trying to make me tweet their articles.
But I’m hoping you can learn from my story just as much as I did. Use my takeaways to adjust your outreach strategy and get the best results without shooting yourself in the foot.
And I’m really keen to hear your own “influencer outreach” stories!
Did you ever reach out to the top people in your field?
Did it work?
UPDATE: Even though Rand told me he can’t tweet my article, it magically appeared in their Moz Top 10 newslertter which brought me a ton of new visitors: