So you’ve planned, designed, and launched your blogger outreach campaign, and it’s going great…. Until your response rate suddenly falls flat.
What’s gone wrong?
Well, there are a number of reasons why an outreach campaign can stop working.
Your content ideas may have become a little outdated, for example, or your research may not be up to scratch.
However, before you start trying to find fixes, take a look at the date on your calendar. If you’re heading towards the end of November, things may get tricky!
November to January — the holiday season — is typically harder than the rest of the year when it comes to blogger outreach. That’s because many bloggers will be in ‘holiday mode’.
While they may still be posting new updates to their own blog, they’re likely to be cutting down on some of the less vital tasks, such as reading pitches from new contacts.
In fact, Hubspot estimates that there’s around a 6% decline in email open rates from the end of November, as more and more of us start to enjoy all the festivities.
But this isn’t great from a marketing perspective.
As we all know, every outreach campaign needs a good flow in order to succeed, so holding off on communications could be detrimental in the long run.
This is especially true if you’re pitching time-sensitive ideas. So what are the best ways to increase your chances of being heard amongst the jingle jangle of Christmas?
We’re going to delve into the what, the how, and the when of outreach during the holiday season with a few simple yet effective blogger outreach tips.
What to Send
At this time of year, you might find it beneficial to slightly adapt your usual approach, placing greater priority on exactly what you’re sending to your prospects.
While subject lines are important at all times of the year, they are even more important right now, with festive subjects generally seeing greater success.
According to the Experian Festive Insights report, for example, subject lines containing the words ‘Xmas’, ‘Santa’, and ‘Festive’ see a 54% higher open rate on average; that’s certainly something to keep in mind.
And how about content?
Consider what sort of ideas are going to appeal to bloggers at this particular time.
Of course, time-sensitive ideas are common, but even if you’d prefer to stick to more evergreen topics, your content is still a hugely important consideration when it comes to creating your pitch.
Source: socioboard blog
As we can see from the data above, while Thanksgiving-related content is popular, the more year-round topics of shopping and beauty still perform better.
Try to find ways to blend evergreen content with the sorts of ideas that bloggers will want to cover throughout the holiday season.
If you’re contacting a lifestyle blogger, for example, consider family-focused content as people may be spending more time with their families and friends.
Travel? How about cold destinations, or a piece about local tradition?
Something that’s vital to remember, however, is that it’s not really worth getting too caught up in the design of your pitch at this time of year.
Twinkling lights, a picture of jolly old St. Nick… while Christmas is a time of craft and creativity, try not to spend too much of your effort on aesthetics.
Why? Because despite your best efforts, open rates will generally be lower during the holiday period, so why waste time if many of your emails will go unopened?
It’s much better to focus on bringing value to your prospects.
What you should be getting caught up in, however, is personalization.
While personalization is important in blogger outreach throughout the whole year, this idea of human contact is even more vital during the holidays.
It’s a time when we want to feel special, and it’s also a time when some bloggers may find themselves alone or feeling lonely.
Personalization goes a long way, and can really help to form the beginnings of a lasting relationship which could benefit you and your business well into the future.
How to Send
During the holidays, one of the most important aspects to take into consideration in regard to the ‘how’ is ensuring that any emails you send are optimized for mobile.
It’s important to remember that standard working hours and standard working environments tend to go out of the window during the holidays, with bloggers taking time off, or travelling to see family and friends.
It’s reported that more than half of all emails are opened on a smartphone over Thanksgiving, so make sure your prospects can read them.
You’ll also want to ensure you have a solid plan in place and be clear on exactly what it is you hope to achieve over the holiday period.
While incorporating some festive cheer into your pitches usually won’t go amiss, try not to stray too far from your ultimate target in your communications.
This isn’t the time of year to be wasting anyone’s time.
If a blogger is willing to open your communication during the holidays, they’ll want to see that you’re concise and clear, not waffling on about the excitement of pumpkin spice.
When creating this plan, ensure that you’re taking into account your year-round tone; not just your festive voice. This is especially true if you’ve already been in contact with a prospect previously.
While it’s easy to let the magic of Christmas get away with us, consistency in communications is key, so make sure that how you’re sending your emails, and what you’re sending, is in keeping with your own tone of voice, and your own ideas.
And while we’re on the subject, don’t make any Christmas promises you can’t keep!
When to Send
You know what you’re sending, and you know how you’re sending it… but when is the best time to send it?
Well, that’s a tricky one, but if there’s one thing that’s certain it’s that we don’t like spending time away from our email… even during the festive season!
It’s reported that more than two-thirds of Americans check emails over the holidays, with Hubspot suggesting that open rates dip through early December before rising rapidly just before Christmas Eve and declining once again until New Year.
Source: Slideshare HubSpot
And when it comes to frequency, don’t be afraid to up your rate of contact over this period.
It’s the holidays; people are generally in a good mood and you may be able to ‘get away with’ being a little pushier than normal.
However, now is a good time to segment your contact list.
If you’ve had no responses from a blogger in the past, bombarding them with emails over the holidays may well see you relegated to the ‘Naughty List’ for good.
Stick to bloggers that have shown greater engagement levels.
Retail traffic is famous for rising rapidly over the holiday period.
After all, we have big bargain days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and we have all those people receiving money or vouchers for Christmas, or buying themselves those must-haves that Santa didn’t bring.
It’s not surprising that retail figures go through the roof at this time of year.
Blog traffic, however, doesn’t quite see the same results, and many bloggers and non-retail websites report staggeringly low web traffic at this time of year.
For this reason, some bloggers may choose not to publish any new content over the holiday season.
If you’re finding that, despite following the advice above, your email outreach campaign simply isn’t seeing much success over the festive period, don’t be deterred.
Of course, while it’s possible that your campaign may not be working for some alternative reason, if you’ve been successful up until the holidays then chances are it’s the time of year that’s causing your problems, not your approach.
Keep on swimming. As things settle back into place in the New Year, and everything returns to a sense of normality, your campaign should pick up right where it left off.
However, it’s still important to keep your communications efforts flowing if possible over the festive period, demonstrating a commitment to building relationships, showing off your ideas, and ensuring that bloggers have your details to hand when they’re ready to begin publishing new content.
Don’t give up: keep sending emails through the holidays.
But of course, we all deserve some time off over the holidays! And this is exactly where automated outreach tools can help.
Automation is one of the most significant advancements in digital marketing, and it’s enabling us to keep managing our holiday marketing campaigns effectively without the need to be ‘always on’.
From scheduled emails to content generation assistance to automated follow-ups, these tools really can be lifesavers over the holidays.
Throughout the year the holiday seasons are eagerly awaited, and your customers are no different from it.
They enjoy, cherish and love to be free from everything during that time just like you and everyone else.
But there’s no shame at all in asking for a little help over the busiest time of the year!