So today, I want to talk about something that can be really beneficial for your video business. Or any kind of business. I want to talk about client outreach.
This is something that anyone can do online and immediately raise their profile, start getting press/media and get a lot of clients and business, too.
You see, a lot of people start out their video business (or any kind of business) and don’t really know how to get started. They have an idea, but they don’t know how to get attention from potential clients, other videographers, the media, etc.
So how do you get attention on your business and let others know that you’re here?
What this technique that I’m going to describe basically does is send smoke signals that let others know you’re here.
One of the biggest questions I get from readers is how to ‘use the digital marketing stuff’ to grow video businesses. As I’ve described in the past, I’ve had a lot of success using tried and tested content marketing principles, as well as cutting edge digital marketing stuff with platforms like Reddit.
And you need to listen to this, because I’ve done client outreach successfully with my production companies, as well as right here on Filmmaking Lifestyle.
How I Got an 89% Response Rate on Client Outreach Email, Got Links and Social Shares Up the Whazoo…And How You Can, Too
So I want to say from the get-go that some of the advice here will lean heavily on my experiences doing these techniques here on Filmmaking Lifestyle.
Like with the Reddit and content marketing principles pieces, I have kept direct examples of my production companies out of this article due to issues in the past with people not being happy with me promoting my own companies.
With that out of the way, hopefully you get a lot of out these tips…
I follow the digital marketing space closely. I like to learn from as many skilled people as possible. And I know that if something works successfully in an industry, it can be transferred into other industries (like video production and filmmaking).
So I followed Neil Patel’s advice to message every person you’ve linked to in an article on your site.
Yes. EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON.
If you follow his stuff, you’ll know that Patel links out to 30-100 people in each article and posts pretty much every day. If you don’t know his name, and don’t follow his stuff, I suggest you start now by reading the link I mentioned above.
Patel has some great material on digital marketing and he’s one of the foremost authorities in that space.
Hold up! Let’s get up to speed
First, let’s take a step back. In saying that you email everyone you’ve ever mentioned in an article, I’m assuming that you’re writing on your production company’s website.
Writing articles about what you do, the projects that you’ve worked on, as well as general video production information is one of the best things you can do for your video business.
Not only will it help you rank well in Google, but it will gradually generate a buzz about your work and place you as an authority in your industry.
Don’t know what to write about? Unsure what I’m talking about here? Check out the Content Marketing For Video Business article. That will get you up to speed.
I’m not talking out of my behind here. Content marketing has been revolutionary in all kinds of industries since the internet began. It’s just a shame that the video/film industries are a little slow in catching up to that revolution.
And content marketing isn’t just writing. Content marketing covers any kind of content that you produce for your business — whether that’s blog posts, videos, social media posts, SlideShares, etc etc.
Why Email Everyone You’ve Ever Mentioned?
Right, so we’re emailing everyone we’ve ever mentioned in your blog posts and other articles on your production company website.
Here’s why I did it.
Not only are you announcing your presence to other people in your niche/industry (and even those outside of it, depending on who you’re linking to). You’re also putting yourself in a position to grow your site massively.
I used Patel’s template for blog outreach and tweaked it a bit.
The template basically says:
“Hey, I like your stuff. In fact, I even linked to your stuff in my article here.”
You link to the article and give a call to action like:
“Feel free to share this with your audience, as I’m sure they’ll get a lot of value from it.”
This message has a number of uses:
- introduces yourself to those in your niche/industry. Both plays to their ego and announces your presence.
- gives you the chance to get social shares from them.
- gives you the chance to get links from them.
- and more (as we’ll see below).
This style of outreach is so great because it combines so much outreach into one email.
It’s a link building campaign, a guest blog campaign and a social media sharing campaign all built into one email!
I don’t link out as much as Patel, but I started doing this for the blog posts on my sites. As I mentioned above, I’ll use Filmmaking Lifestyle for this example.
So far I’ve emailed out for 20 articles (as of this writing, I have over 200 here), which equates to 182 links.
So that’s 182 emails sent to 182 different people.
Note: I don’t message this outreach to people multiple times. For instance, if I’ve linked to a site or person multiple times in the same article. Obviously, doing so would be overkill.
Here’s a chart from rabbut that shows you what you’re going to be doing:
So How Exactly Do You Do This?
So as you can see in this very article, I link out a lot to pages and articles both on my site and on external sites (other people’s sites).
Linking out is one of the tenants of ‘webmastering’ and is something Google (and other search engines) both appreciate and use to rank the value of websites by.
As you’ll see around the site, the links I use are often passing mentions and I rarely use any kind of flowery language or anything to ‘butter people up.’ Occasionally, I’d say something like, “as this great article from the awesome x-site shows.”
But most of the time I just hyperlink related words and then use that term on Google to find value-some content to link to that will help my readers. It really is that simple. Give value.
Here’s an example from Filmmaking Lifestyle:
Like I said before, if you’re not already using content marketing and writing about your industry, then you need to get on it as soon as possible.
So once you have a number of articles with value-some links in them, the people you’re linking out to know that you’re linking to them, right?
Wrong. Well, sometimes they do if they’re really on the ball, but not always. I do, but I’m weird and have things setup behind the scenes to monitor my mentions around the web.
Unless they’re a weirdo like me, you need to tell people that you linked to them.
Even if they know, it’s still a good idea to get in touch and tell them you linked to them. It’s a form on online networking and can be extremely beneficial to building contacts and opportunities, as we’ll discover in a bit.
Here’s Neil Patel’s template that I used (and tweaked for my purposes). It’s basically the same email just with obvious things like the person’s name and the article link edited each time:
Subject: I mentioned your site in my post
Hey [insert name]
I just wanted to let you know I am a big fan of your work. I like it so much that I actually linked to your site within my post:
[insert your article link]
I would be honored if you checked it out. And if you like it, feel free to share it with your audience.
Patel has mentioned this technique a lot on various sites and in various guises. I didn’t use these particular templates, but here’s an article with all sorts of templates.
It should also be noted that Neil Patel isn’t the only person teaching this. I just thought he’s one of the best I’ve found at explaining it.
I think it’s important to keep the outreach email as short and concise as possible. No one wants to read long-winded ramblings from someone they don’t know (yet!)
Courtesy of one of Patel’s sites (Crazy Egg), here’s an example of a more detailed outreach email. Purely for more inspiration in this regard. This one was actually sent to Neil Patel himself from someone using Patel’s strategy:
So with 182 emails sent. Let’s look at some stats from these outreach efforts.
So far (6 days on):
163 replies. So that’s an 89% reply rate (in just 6 days!).
Of those replies, all were positive (I was stroking their ego afterall).
So 86 of the replies so far have directly said that they’ll share the content with their audience. I’m sure others will too, even if they didn’t directly say they would in response to my email.
12 have said they’ll definitely be linking to my work on their own sites. That’s a pretty good built-in white-hat link building campaign inside of this case study!
7 people responded asking me in various ways to write a guest post for them. There’s your guest post outreach built in! That’s cool.
16 people responded with some form of, “let’s work together on X project.” These are obviously still in the early stages and most will probably fizzle out as most people don’t have the follow-up that I have. Lots of pipe dreamers.
3 people asked for some form of coaching as a result of this email. Again, not sure if these people will follow through (I will!), but these were folks who became aware of my material as a result of my email, read stuff and then wanted coaching/mentoring.
This very thing, on its own, has made me start a coaching/mentoring program.
2 people have responded wanting to do a Case Study on me and my work! Unexpected, but cool.
All from these 182 emails sent.
And, to be completely honest, lots of those 182 people are outside of my industry/niche and were only tangentially related to what I was talking about in a certain article. Those are the kind of people less likely to find direct value in making contact with me/sharing my articles, etc.
Why Does This Work?
Well, these emails stroke the ego of the receiver. You’re offering value to their audience and quoting their work.
Plus, you’ve already given them link juice, and they’ll appreciate that if they know their stuff.
And that goes tenfold if you run a site that Google already likes!
Importantly, you’re offering value first and not just asking for something from them (Cialdini principles).
You’re also making it easy for them to share your stuff in return, and you’re giving them good solid content to share with their audience!
Win win win!
Why this might only work for me?
I don’t think it’s just something that will work for me. I’m being kinda facecitious here, but lots of people immediately think that something like this only works for the writer of the technique.
I didn’t, that’s why I followed Patel’s advice in the first place.
My niche is quite insular and isn’t overly responsive (at least compared to some). Still, I had a couple of advantages that others might not have.
- My site is pretty good! Humble brag.
- I’m ranking well for a number of key terms. So this is a site that Google values and if people know their stuff, they’ll know this.
Following Up Further
There’s something that you can do that will explode your results even more with client outreach.
Following up is one of the most underused components of business. Maybe that’s because it seems so simple.
But like any good business technique it takes work.
So I follow up with everyone. Even those who reply.
I send a follow up if I don’t hear back, giving them a quick heads up, “haven’t heard back from you” type of deal.
For those who do reply positively, I remind them a little more forcefully with a further call to action.
So most people come back with a, “Cool, thanks for the mention” kinda response.
Well, that’s not good enough for me. So I respond with something along the lines of, “No worries. Feel free to link to any of my articles on your site. It’d be really appreciated.”
From there, you have the option to follow up further, if you want to go down that road (you can be more aggressive in trying to get something in return than I’ve been).
But I wouldn’t advise that. At least, not in my niche. The most important thing is you now have a relationship with that person in your industry.
Why People Won’t Do This
Not to be too negative here, but most people won’t do this!
See this as motivation, not negativity.
Most people don’t see the reward here. And most people are lazy.
They won’t send out 182 emails because it’s grunt work and because they don’t believe they can get results from this.
But you can.
They also don’t realise that you can perfect a step-by-step process for doing this for each blog post you publish and then outsource it.
Client Outreach — Why This is a great method
Networking is key to the growth of any business.
Getting yourself out there and known within your niche/industry is how you grow and scale and quickly get social shares and links. It grows exponentially from there.
Make no mistake about it: links and social shares, if done right, lead to clients and business.
Seriously, guys, try this and report back on your results! Would be great to see some readers following this and making big progress!
Look, this isn’t an overnight success kinda thing. I make no excuses for it taking time and taking work to do this. But this is a real strategy that will pay dividends if you put the work in.
This is about really getting yourself out there and building your business. Forget random cold emails looking for work. Start offering value and then emailing with purpose.
Not only will you build your online presence, but you’ll attract more links, more exposure and, most of all, more work.
So, are you going to take the jump and start using client outreach and content marketing for your production company? Are you already doing it and reaping the rewards? Let us know in the comments below.