30 Tips to Improve Your Influencer Outreach Campaign
If you’re reading this, you understand the importance of influencer marketing and may have even started your first influencer marketing campaign.
If you want to maximise your results, you’re on the right page.
You’ll learn how to perform a highly targeted and results-oriented influencer outreach campaign focusing on three stages:
- And after outreach.
We’ll give you actionable tips, hands-on examples, and three top-performing templates. We even have a unique step for B2B brands that few marketers are doing.
Keep reading below.
Building an influencer outreach campaign is similar to baking a delicious meal.
You need to have the right ingredients and follow the correct steps of your recipe first.
And that’s precisely what you’ll get from this section.
Warning: The first five sections may seem to be from another movie. But trust us; they’re essential for effective outreach. Give it until section 6 to see the magic happen.
1. Know Your Goals
The first step in any campaign – including this one – is having clear strategic marketing goals. Here’s the trick:
Step 1: Express these marketing goals regarding your outreach objectives.
- I must partner with real estate journalists to get expert quotes for a contributor-based article.
- We need fitness influencers to promote our innovative barefoot trainers.
Step 2: Narrow your goals using numbers and deadlines:
- Set the correct number of influencers to meet your goals.
- Consider how many creators you must contact to get this number.
- Set a time limit for the onboarding process.
Step 3: Set your key performance indicators (KPIs):
- Delivery rate
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Click-to-open rate (CTOR)
- Reply rate
- Conversion rate
2. Research Your Competitors
Most marketers miss this step, though researching your competitors can give you valuable insights.
Remember: The competitors who are successful in influencer marketing already did much of your research. They have already identified successful and unsuccessful practices.
You can use all that.
Look at their:
- Unique selling point
- Type of influencers they partner with,
- Type of content they offer to their audience
- The social media channels they’re using.
Let’s say you’re retailing hair extensions, and your main competitors are Insert Name Here. A quick look at their Instagram profile will show you a slew of content types, hashtags, and influencers:
- Relatable content:
- Easy how-to posts:
- Community spotlights:
All this will help you in steps 5 to 12. But for now:
3. Research Your Audience
We started this section by saying that influencer marketing is like baking a delicious meal.
But “delicious” is a subjective concept. Imagine giving your toddler squid ink risotto.
You must research your audience before meal prepping and an influencer outreach campaign.
Pro tip: Focusing on your customers’ values is more effective than creating a customer avatar when planning an influencer outreach campaign.
Follow the steps below:
- Brainstorm different values your prospects might have.
- Pick the five most common values across all audience segments.
- Determine your prospect’s pain points.
- Based on the values above, determine where they want to be.
- Figure out how your potential influencers can take your customers there – i.e., the solution.
Let’s pick up the same example as before.
Your audience is made up of women who need easy-to-use hair extensions. They value beauty and self-care but may require the locks they wish for.
Your influencers should:
- Produce content about hairstyle and lifestyle.
- Take a natural, organic approach to content creation.
- Be able to convey your message.
4. Look at Your Past Campaigns
Your past campaigns are a treasure trove of data into:
- Successful and unsuccessful messages
- Audience profile
- Channels that work best for your people
- Opportunities you missed
- Previous marketing budgets
- Goals and objectives you met
Now here’s the step when all this starts coming together:
5. Build Your Creative Brief
The creative brief for influencers is like the recipe for that mouthwatering meal you’re trying to cook.
Remember: You need the recipe before choosing the ingredients. It’s the same with an influencer outreach campaign.
You can’t simply pick influencers if you don’t know what you’re trying to build.
This is where you’ll use all the data you gathered in steps 1-4. You already know your:
- Strength and weaknesses
- Audience’s values and how potential influencers can address them
- Competitors’ successful tactics and missed opportunities
Based on this knowledge:
- Outline your campaign’s mission. Be very specific about it.
- Include clear deliverables.
- Include visual guidelines, such as Infographics and a Pinterest board.
- Underline essential details, like props, lighting, and background.
- Add a short list of dos and don’ts.
This piece of paper summarises the exact type of content you need. Now, you’ll need to find influencers who can produce that content.
6. Decide the Influencer’s Niche
Your influencer outreach campaign has more chances of success if you’re messaging the right people.
Even a mediocre outreach message can hit the mark if you send it to the correct creators.
Here’s how to zero in on the right influencer niche:
- Consider your industry.
- Consider adjacent niches related to your industry.
- Review your brief.
Let’s say you want to retail keto diet bars.
Your industry is diet and nutrition, specifically keto. Now, you can focus solely on Keto influencers for your outreach campaign.
But your audience may not necessarily follow a ketogenic diet.
They may be interested in health supplements to reduce brain fog or feeling full for longer. In this case, parenting content creators can be an excellent option.
And here’s the thing:
Keto influencers may already sponsor other keto brands – that’s your competition. Momfluencers may represent a better solution because:
- They can get you qualified prospects that follow your customer value profile.
- They help you reap an opportunity your competitors missed. That means you can uniquely position your brand apart from the crowd.
Isabella Granmyr is a nano-influencer who fits this profile. She’s a mom, security guard, and fitness addict, so she is both busy and interested in health:
And she was easy to find, browsing by #momlife and #fitness on this platform.
7. Choose the Influencer’s Size
There are different types of influencers depending on their follower size.
- Nano-influencers: 0-10,000 followers
- Micro-influencers: 10,000-100,000 followers
- Mid-tier influencers: 100,000-500,000 followers
- Macro-influencers: 500,000-1,000,000 followers
- Mega-influencers: Over 1,000,000 followers
Before choosing the right influencer size for your marketing goals, consider the following:
- Nano and micro-influencers are the most engaged, so they’re the most persuasive.
- Micro-influencers typically have experience collaborating with brands and are likelier to be more professional than nano-influencers.
- Micro- and mid-tier influencers are also the most likely to answer your messages and have time for collaboration.
- Micro-influencers are also the likeliest to be open for a more extended collaboration.
- Macro- and mega-influencers may not even see your outreach message unless you’re wowing them with something unique. But more about that in a minute.
8. Use the Right Tools to Find Influencers
There are many tools to find influencers; you can pick one or many.
For example, GroupHigh and BuzzSumo find influencers according to your topic. Traackr is more expensive but will help you set up more extensive campaigns.
Pro tip: Before picking an influencer discovery tool, tap into your common sense.
- Determine the social platforms your audience is using.
- Browse these online communities, looking at the most engaged creators.
- Analyse your existing relationships with influencers.
- Analyse your customers, employees, or distributors’ databases to see if you can find relevant creators there.
- Take the time to survey, asking your audience who they’re following.
Then, input these findings into your software to source the right influencers. A good influencer discovery platform will crawl the web and render the best-suited creators in seconds.
9. Look at the Influencers’ Follower Quality
Step eight gave you a rough list of creators.
These people are the likeliest to sway your audience. They’re also the most likely to respond to your outreach message.
Now, it’s time to see if they’re legit.
- Review their profiles manually, looking at their followers.
- Click on a few profiles to see if they seem legit. Stock photos and lack of personal info are red flags.
- Analyse the impressions your potential creators get. Do these comments and likes come from real people?
Pro tip: Free fake follower checkers will show you if the creator is shady.
Look at nano-influencer and colour consultant Tressie’s profile. This post garners very engaged comments, and Tressie offers in-depth advice to her followers:
That’s why nano-influencers can be more persuasive than more prominent creators. That brings us to the next point:
10. Analyse Their Engagement Rates and Audience Interactions
Next up, analyse your potential creators’ interactions with their followers. You want to determine if these people can influence your audience.
- Use an engagement rate calculator to get a bird’s eye view of their performances.
- Use this data to shortlist the most engaged influencers.
- Conduct a manual verification of their profiles, analysing the quality of engagements. Make sure these interactions are genuinely valuable, not just superficial comments.
- Shorten your list further.
11. Perform Qualitative Analysis of Their Content
This step ensures your influencers’ content matches your:
- Brand’s values
- Customers’ needs
Pro tip: The influencers who are already engaged with your type of content are the most likely to:
- Open and reply to your outreach message
- Be high-performers in your campaign
Let’s get back to our keto bar example for a second.
Busy parents interested in healthy on-the-go snacks are more likely to appreciate your message. Parents who are more interested in fashion may not be.
12. Build a List of Influencers
After doing all the steps above, it’s time to build your list of influencers.
- List them in importance to determine who you’ll reach out to first.
- Make sure the contact details are updated.
Pro tip: A simple Google or Excel sheet will help you track these creators. Here’s how the table header should look like:
|Influencer name||Contact info||First outreach message date||Reply(yes/no)||First follow-up message date||Second follow-up message|
13. Perform Influencer Mapping (Best for B2B Brands)
If you have a B2B brand, take the time to do influencer mapping. This will help you reach out to the most involved influencers in your community.
That maximises your open rate and the likelihood of getting the best-suited creators for your campaign.
You aim to find connections between influencers:
- The ones who are most connected are the most relevant in their community.
- They’ll also get you the most exposure, thanks to these connections.
Here’s how to do influencer mapping:
- First, find and shortlist your creators following the steps above.
- Draw your goal in the middle of an empty sheet – this will be your map.
- Arrange the influencers around that goal. The ones likeliest to help you meet your goal should be nearest to it.
- Place similar influencers closer together.
- Draw lines between creators who influence each other.
- Look at where most lines are pointing to and choose those influencers.
14. Try to Build a Relationship
To maximise your open rates, you can build a relationship first.
- Follow on social media.
- Send them a DM about something else.
- Do some ego-baiting by praising a piece of content they wrote.
- Be helpful by outlining a broken link or catching another mistake.
- Check to see if you have mutual acquaintances that could help you start a conversation.
- Try to meet them at events in your industry.
1. The channel you’re using shows you how to contact them: If you became friends on LinkedIn, write a recommendation for them there. An iTunes review will get you the most exposure if your influencer is a podcaster.
2. A large fame gap requires more warming up: If you are a celebrity in your field, you can be more successful with a cold email.
3. Create relationships through effective communication: Even a cold email can begin a great relationship if it’s not spammy or pushy—more on that in the section below.
15. Decide Roles and Communication
An influencer outreach campaign will likely get more results if your team members know what they’re doing.
- Assign clear roles for everyone. Schedule team meetings using a shared calendar in Outlook and share the goals of every teammate.
- Choose a social media tool that facilitates communication.
- Set a clear feedback loop and monitoring systems.
Now, everything’s set for the next step:
The previous phase helped you find the best-suited influencers likeliest to respond. You have the right tools and a team of people who know their roles.
You are ready to begin your outreach phase:
16. Pick a Good Channel
The channel you’re sending the outreach message on is essential.
- Consider where your influencers are the most active: If they have a significant presence on Twitter, reach out to them there.
- Look at their social media profiles: Some creators include their preferred communications mode for sponsored content in their bios.
- Personalisation factor: Direct messaging or emails seem more approachable.
- Research their past collaborations: You can get valuable insights into which channels other brands have used to contact these creators.
And don’t miss the step below:
17. Think Outside the Box
Marketing strategist and international speaker Lee Odden has an interesting outreach story.
One brand sent him a small package by mail. Lee found a plastic screen with a prerecorded video outreach message inside it.
Lee also used a compelling tactic to gain influencers’ attention for an outreach campaign he created:
He sent creators their favourite pies to convince them to participate in an “easy as pie planning guide.”
And these influencers used their pies to create content for the article.
An innovative outreach strategy can:
- Bring more attention to you
- Boost your open rates
- Increase response rates
- Become the cornerstone of a fruitful, long-term collaboration
Here’s how to pick an outside-the-box outreach strategy:
- Consider the individual preferences of each influencer to ensure the approach resonates with them.
- Include personalised elements such as past conversations or unique details about their preferences.
- Make your message stand out from others with creative props or humour.
- Pick a low-noise channel, such as post or direct delivery.
- Emphasise value over intentions.
Look at how a simple gift can propel your entire giveaway campaign:
18. Choose a Good Message Format
The two most commonly used outreach message formats are text and video.
Think about what will be most compelling for the influencers.
- Text messages are easier to write and read.
- Videos are easier to personalise, more engaging and better at drawing attention.
- TikTokers and YouTubers may prefer video messages on these platforms.
- Journalists or scientists may prefer lengthier text messages.
19. Sound Human and Professional at the Same Time
Remember: You’re trying to influence the influencers. These people are well-versed in social media persuasion tactics.
So follow these steps to sound professional, human, and persuasive simultaneously:
- Use a company account: But remember to present yourself and your role. You want to connect with these creators as a person.
- Personalise your message by showing you paid attention to the influencer’s content: Mention a particular detail they referred to or a specific twist of words in an article they wrote instead of saying, “Great social media profile!”
- Don’t treat influencers as AI writing tools: An exhaustive heap of deliverables doesn’t make for a good pitch. Instead, start a discussion by asking for their input into your campaign. Or by offering to send them a free product.
Let’s say you want to contact a 28-year-old mom, an Instagram parenting influencer, about your keto bars.
- Try to create a connection by discussing a reel she made about the woes of parenting a newborn.
- Say you understand that busy parents need healthier on-the-go snacks that keep them full longer.
- Offer to send a box of keto bars for them to try.
- Alternatively, send them the box directly via direct delivery with a personalised message.
20. Write a Good Title to Increase Open Rates.
Regardless of the channel and message format, you need a good title.
This title will appear in your email or DM subject line. Or it can be written on your package. Follow these tips:
- Keep it concise: Titles should be short and attention-grabbing while conveying the main idea of your message.
- Make it relevant: Include a benefit in your title if you’re sending an email, and place that benefit in your subject line’s first few words. Otherwise, it will be hidden.
- Add a call-to-action: CTAs can increase open rates because the influencers know what’s expected of them.
- Use emotions: FOMO, enthusiasm, and curiosity are all good examples.
- Use a target keyword: This should grab the influencer’s attention, mainly if it refers to their niche.
21. Offer Something of Value
Hook your influencers by offering value in your pitch. This can be:
- A praise
- An article or another resource to help them deal with specific topics they’re interested in
- One of your products
- Exclusive access to content or products before they are released to the public
- Invitations to join private groups and events related to your brand
But most importantly, influencers like to feel important. So, you can offer to:
- Include them in your campaign by considering their specific insights.
- Make them part of a bigger fight, such as supporting a specific value like inclusivity or ecology.
22. Write a Personalised Message
Personalised messages help you sound approachable and build relationships.
A customised outreach message says: “I value you.”
Here’s a neat trick to hone your personalisation:
Imagine standing behind the influencer in a line to get inside an event. How would you approach them?
- “Here are five reasons why you should work with our company today” seems odd in this scenario.
- “Hey, I just saw your post about [Topic X]. Funny enough, I had the same problem with [Topic X],” it sounds like a better choice.
And then, you can pitch your product or collaboration.
Remember: Customising your message depends on all the exhaustive research you did in the first section. That’s why you shouldn’t skip those steps.
23. Keep It Short and Sweet
A good outreach message should be 75-100 words if you choose the written email format.
You can go longer with a video or a handwritten letter accompanying a mail package.
However, you shouldn’t fill your message with fluff. These influencers are already busy.
Pro tip: Reduce the time your potential influencers invest in reading your message. This will make them more likely to accept your offer.
Instead, focus on three lines:
- Present yourself.
- Connect with the creators through a shared experience.
- Bring something of value to them.
- Explain your pitch.
- Lay your expectations.
- Include a CTA (we’ll discuss this in section 25).
All this shouldn’t be more than eight lines or a 30-second video.
24. Outline Mutual Benefits
You don’t have to be the William Shakespeare of outreach messages to get it right.
Influencers are regular people, so they’re more interested in the benefits this collaboration brings rather than the word count.
If you have the budget, you can outline generous compensation from the initial outreach message. Otherwise, try to hook them with the following:
- Increased creative freedom
- Access to exclusive perks
- The chance to matter
- Becoming part of a community
25. Include a Clear CTA
Including a clear call-to-action (CTA) in your influencer outreach message can boost its success:
- CTAs allow you to specify the action you want the influencer to take, thus keeping you both on the same page.
- CTAs allow influencers to respond faster and more efficiently. And that also fosters a strong relationship between you.
Pro tip: Button CTAs lead to increased click-through rates compared to links.
26. Monitor Your Communication Efforts
Keep a list of all the influencers you reached out to.
- Their names
- When you sent the outreach message
- Who sent it to them
- If the influencer opened/ read your message – this can be more difficult with those you sent by post
- If the influencer took the desired action (e.g., clicked on your link)
All this data helps you:
- Assess your campaign’s efficiency.
- Make necessary adjustments quickly.
- Allocate resources more effectively.
Your influencer outreach campaign doesn’t end with the first message.
The steps below will make your campaign even more targeted, thus maximising your results.
27. Write the First Follow-Up
Keeping track of all the data above also helps you understand the following:
- Who to send a follow-up message to
- How to personalise that message better
- Which benefit from outlining to be more successful.
Follow the steps below to increase your chances of success:
- Send the first follow-up 3-5 days after your initial outreach message.
- Be persistent without being pushy.
- Keep the messaging concise and casual while restating your appreciation for their time.
- Include any new updates or information not included in your initial outreach.
- Provide additional details about mutual benefits.
- Give them an easy way to reply.
Remember to register open rates and replies again. This data will be helpful in the following message.
28. Write the Second Follow-Up
The second follow-up message should come 3-5 days after the previous one. And it’s even trickier than the first two messages before it.
Pro tip: Use the insights from your previous communication efforts to improve your message.
- Highlight your willingness to work with these influencers.
- Reiterate your appreciation for their time.
- Keep the message much shorter than the previous ones.
- Restate why you think the influencer would be perfect for your project and how it will benefit them.
- Consider additional incentives, such as a long-term collaboration.
- Offer flexible opportunities for collaboration instead of just one specific project.
Remember: Don’t contact creators a third or fourth time if they didn’t reply yet.
29. Seal the Deal
A message to seal the deal is equally vital for your outreach.
This message should feature the following:
- The campaign timeline
- The general budget
- A link to the influencer agreement
- A CTA for the influencer to click and sign the agreement.
Of course, you should keep the message short and sweet.
Pro tip: Make sure the influencer agreement includes the following:
- Clear expectations about deliverables (e.g., format, deadlines, hashtags, keywords, etc.)
- More precise payment details, with milestones and schedules
- Possible rewards
30. Evaluate the Campaign’s Effectiveness
Your influencer outreach campaign is not done until you evaluate it.
- Return to your original KPIs and get all the numbers related to these variables.
- Write a comprehensive report to highlight your results.
- Compare your results with the original goals.
- Strive to determine insights about your campaign’s efficiency.
- Use your hindsight to outline potential solutions that would have made your outreach efforts more successful.
- Keep the report and these insights for future campaigns.
Influencer Outreach Templates You Can Steal
Now that you’ve read so far, here are three templates you can repurpose in your next campaign.
Adjust them to your brand, outreach goals, and influencers’ profiles.
Initial Outreach Message
Hi [influencer’s Name],
I’m [Name], and I’m a [your position] at [company name].
I read your post about [topic X]. Funny enough, I had the same problem when I [explain pain point].
That’s why your audience can benefit from [product X]. And I noticed your content aligns precisely with our intentions.
Can I send you [product X/ resource Y] to check it out? We only ask for [number of deliverables] on [channel X].
If you’re interested, hit the reply button, and we’ll talk!
First Follow-Up Message
Hi again, [Influencer’s Name]; I was following up to see if you saw my previous message.
I forgot to tell you that [significant new benefit].
And did I mention how much we’d love for you to be part of this campaign?
Let me know if you have any questions.
Second Follow-Up Message
Hey [Influencer’s Name],
I know your time is valuable, but I thought I’d try my luck one last time.
We have a new [significant benefit] coming up. But if you’re not interested in this, can we consider you for other projects?
For the record, I think you’d be an excellent match for this one.
*Insert fingers crossed emoji*
After reviewing this checklist, you have all the weapons you need to start your influencer outreach campaign.
Remember to spend enough time on in-depth research.
Reaching out to the right people maximises your success.
Build your team and ensure your outreach messages are professional, personalised, and relatable. Focus on building a genuine relationship from the first contact.
And keep track of all your results, measuring them against your goals. This will help you get valuable insights for your next campaign.