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2 min read

Outreach Conference 2018: The Aligned Outreach Process – Stephen Panico

This article was updated on: 07.02.2022

Stephen Panico, chief growth officer at Buzzstream, took to the floor after lunch for his presentation on The Aligned Outreach Process: Proven Techniques for Exceptional Campaigns.

In particular, he spoke about the 5 techniques top performers use to get 40% reply rates. He referred to Buzzstream’s customer reply rate distribution, where the median reply rate was 12%. Some were seeing much more higher levels of success.

So how do some teams get dramatically better reply rates?

Stephen found the following commonalities:

Technique 1: they look for multiple angles

Technique 2: they target their prospecting 

The necessary elements are – site quality, sharing linking info and info about contact.

For site quality, you’ll want to check the DA/DR first, but after that consider whether a site has a lot of ads, whether it’s keyword stuffed and whether there are promoted posts.

For linking/sharing info you’ll want to look at things like audience size and audience engagement.

Info about contact involves finding the right person. Find their name, email address, and the topics they tend to write about – “topics of interest”.

Technique 3: Leverage relationships

We all know the importance of building and maintaining relationships in PR, and being able to re-engage with your contacts again and again. Stephen says it’s necessary to cement the relationship first, by simply thanking the journalist for publishing X piece of content. When it comes to referencing that relationship, mention the previous work they covered – but don’t get complacent, you still need to pitch for the latest piece of content, you can’t just rely on your new found ‘friendship’.

Technique 4: Contextualise your emails

Stephen talked about contextualising your emails according to who you’re sending them to by making them:

  • Personalised
  • Positioned
  • Persuasive

With journalists, you should cut the ‘chat’ and get straight to the story. Provide immediately usable information and sweeten the deal by offering exclusives where it makes sense.

Technique 5: Maintain flexibility

PRs will have processes in place when building their target publication lists, ready for outreach. It goes something like this:

  • Discover
  • Qualify
  • Research
  • Outreach
  • Follow up
  • Report

Stephen says while it’s important to maintain a systematic approach in places, you should be prepared to be flexible when it comes to the following areas: discovery, research and outreach.