Working in content marketing many of us know that one of the toughest and most time consuming areas of our job is outreach. This is, however, one of the most important. We all have our own methods to ensure that we get as many responses as possible. However, if you want to ensure you not only increase the likelihood of a response but make it a positive one, then you need to read on!
So, What is Conversation Mapping?
Conversation mapping is the simple process of planning out an email stream or a phone call before your initial connection, and can be done in four simple steps. It takes one standard diagram, and all of your emails and phone calls can follow the same method.
Why is This So Important For Outreach Strategy?
Planning the possibilities for your chosen method of communication will allow you to prepare for all possible outcomes. This preparation can help you plan responses to the outcomes that are negative. It will help you learn from mistakes and build out a framework for that particular vertical, which you can then use in future for other clients.
This saves time, effort, and in reality, will make for a more streamlined process of connecting with influencers and marketing your content.
This conversation mapping technique can be the difference between marketing content and praying you get a few positive responses to actually increasing the number of positive responses and not having to pray anymore!
Yes, it takes time to tailor your initial contact to perfectly suit the person you are trying to reach, but this needn’t put you off following this technique. Just think, if you don’t do this now, that carefully created and curated prospecting list will be in turn worthless and you will need to start prospecting from scratch.
Getting in the Right Frame of Mind
Think of marketing your content as a big sales pitch, and follow these four simple steps to ensure a successful deal clincher of a pitch:
- Research and analysis of who you are pitching to (including their company)
- You have to plan your pitch
- Making them believe in what it is you are selling
- Closing the deal
At the end of all that hard work, you will come out with the best result – you have sold your product and earned a commission. With content in mind, a successful end result will be that you have managed to secure a fantastic publisher whose authority in your vertical is powerful and has the reach to capture your target audience.
Now for the Important Part – The Method
Below is an example of a standard conversation mapping technique, which consists of four parts, each of these are explained underneath the diagram.
This is where you first make contact. Having done some research around the person or company you are contacting, you should find yourself in a position where this part is quite natural. Praise a piece of their work which you found particularly interesting or well done, and let them know that you have taken the time to have a look around their website.
Top Tip: You can even drop in a sentence or a phrase from their website if it fits into context.
However you decide to approach it, this initial contact should be:
- Easy to read
- Informative yet concise
Initial Outcome 1 – Negative/Worst Response
Here we are planning for the eventuality that a publisher will reject your pitch, or will not reply to your original email, even after follow-up emails (of which two should be a maximum to avoid being classed as spam-email).
In the event they reject your pitch, it is up to you to judge the tone of their rejection. This will be Response 1 – Should I ask them why they did not decide to go ahead?
Whatever you decide will be the response outcome, plan for both – that you can or should not ask for further reason – so you are able to respond quickly and not let the opportunity slip.
The thought process comes into play when you are unable to respond to their initial response, or there is no response from them. At this point you need to ask yourself what went wrong and below are some questions you should ask yourself:
- Did you fully understand the influencer’s goals?
- Did you make any grammatical errors in your email?
- Did you call them by the wrong name?
- Did you forget to reference a piece of their work in your initial email?
Top Tip: Try to figure out where you went wrong so that you don’t make the same mistake again and minimise chances of a negative or non-existent response in the future.
Initial Outcome 2 – Neutral/Some Interest
At this point you may be presented with the option of negotiation whereby you can ask questions about how they would prefer to proceed. Alternatively you can offer them more in depth information on the content piece in an attempt to turn the outcome into a positive response. This is response 2 – you have the opportunity to control the outcome to this response:
- You need to ask exactly the right questions
- Conduct a thorough analysis of their response
Top Tip: If you plan for both a negative and positive outcome to this response, you will be able to act quickly and do some damage control if necessary.
Initial Outcome 3 – Positive/Best Response
This will be the best possible outcome from your introductory email/call – they love the content and they want to help spread the word about it.
How you then go about informing them of the next steps will be response 3. Below are some considerations you should take into account when responding:
- What is it that they need to do?
- Do they need more information before they share your content?
- Is there a scheduled timeframe for publishing?
- What else do you need to do to maintain this new relationship?
Top Tip: How you respond will, again, determine the ultimate outcome, which at this point should be a done deal!
The beauty of the standard conversation map is that it can be applied to almost any outreach campaign, whether it is by email, over the phone or even face to face.
By making this a part of your overall outreach strategy, a negative or non response will not phase you. You will be prepared for every outcome and you will learn to develop your response accordingly.
If you have your own secrets for success please do share below!