I had just returned home from the grocery store, and my daughter was playing “Overwatch” on the couch. As I put away my sundry purchases, I mentioned to her that I’d bought plain drinkable yogurt and planned on mixing in honey powder for a healthy snack.
“Why would you do that to yourself?” she asked me, aghast.
Her snarky comment made me laugh hard enough to tweet it, and it wasn’t more than a few minutes later when a drinkable yogurt company responded to my tweet:
I replied that I “just might do that,” and the Früzinga social team said:
Curious to know if the brand would follow through, I sent them my home address and waited to see what would happen next. Two days later, this happened:
I received a FedEx insulated package of their whole line of drinkable yogurt. And a couple coupons, too!
I’m not a food blogger. And as a dad/mom blogger, I don’t write product reviews or do giveaways. Though I have a fairly healthy Twitter following, it’s not global influencer level. But I am active and vocal on several social platforms and I share about my brand experiences often. So the Früzinga team did a nice job of monitoring online conversations about drinkable yogurt and turned my off-the-cuff tweet into a way to generate more visibility and maybe sell some products. I tweeted a thank you and included a photo of my free yogurt, I’m writing about the experience here (less as an endorsement — though it was tasty — than an acknowledgment of their savvy marketing), and I’m also a new customer. And all for the cost of shipping in a fancy box.
When WideFoc.us does online outreach for our clients, we take a formal approach to finding influencers and gatekeepers, but we also spend a lot of time monitoring relevant conversations and engaging with target audiences on a real-time basis. We may not be as salesy as Früzinga was to me (“Buy our stuff!”), but we’ll offer advice and encouragement in order to build trust and interactions. And sometimes we’ll send off a coupon or free product as a random act of kindness, knowing it could translate into something positive for our client.
We also have an effective process for influencer outreach. Our hands-on approach creates a steady stream of interactions with thought leaders, media gatekeepers, analysts, and relevant bloggers, creating a personal relationship that builds trust and results.
The process goes like this:
Social Media Targets Document
We create a set of recommended blogs, journalists, analysts, professional journals, and/or online groups that are likely prospects for earned coverage, and we break the list down by audience segment and qualifying indicators.
Softening the Market
We start to build relationships with likely influencers by sharing their content and engaging them in conversation on social platforms, so we're already on their radar when we contact them about coverage or sampling.
We personalize every email to a potential influencer in order to demonstrate familiarity with their work. But we also write client-approved boilerplate copy used in the body of the email. This is essential.
Outreach and Follow-up
We track conversations, knowing that, often, the first email or message will be declined or ignored. Patient relationship-building and communication is key. Once a media outlet or influential blogger has agreed to write a review, do an interview, or participate in a giveaway, we notify the client and make an introduction.
Owned Content and Ongoing Interactions
We don't stop communicating with the influencer after coverage has happened, because we want to build on that relationship for when we have future product launches or stories to tell.
Report and Renew
We provide reporting on all placements, and renew an active, dynamic list of potential influencers, to build a consistent rollout of owned content.
This bifurcated approach — formal outreach alongside real-time conversational interaction — is super-effective in increasing visibility and coverage for our clients.
Kudos to fruzinga for getting on my radar!
—by Eric Elkins
As CEO and Chief Strategist of WideFoc.us, Eric brings nearly two decades of experience to our clients. In his other life, he’s a single dad, an avid eater, and a bourbon aficionado.