Have an Outreach Ask? Here Are Some Tips to Help!

Have an Outreach Ask? Here Are Some Tips to Help!

 Photo by izusek/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by izusek/iStock / Getty Images

Do you have an exciting project launching? Are you looking to spread the word about the work you do or an event coming up?

If you’ll be reaching out to people in your community and network (or people you don’t know) to ask them for their help, there are a few ways to help streamline this process and make it more likely for them to spread the word!

Don’t be rude and ask last minute or be pushy! Be aware of when you’re asking:

  • Make sure to reach out with enough time for people to include your ask in their content calendars for their social media plans and their newsletters. Depending on the ask, you’ll want to do it anywhere from two weeks to a few months.
  • If you’re asking them to write something for you either via your platforms or their own, give them plenty of time to write the content. You don’t want to ask last minute because they might not have time or they plan far in advance.
  • Be aware of their schedules and what is going on in the community. You don’t want to ask them in the middle of an event or during a busy time of the year because your ask might get lost in the shuffle. If this isn’t a specific event you’re looking to spread the word about, try to avoid holidays and other key times of the year in your community.

Post content before you ask! When you reach out to ask people to spread the word, include links to your content in the ask:

  • Right before your ask, post on all of your platforms (website, social media, blog, newsletter, etc.). This is a post that someone could easily share on their pages.
  • Some people might not have the time or the manpower to draft content, but they want to help. Providing links to your posts allows them to easily share these without having to search on your pages. They might even share and still include drafted content with their posts. This also helps to drive traffic to your platforms.

Short, sweet, and to the point! Make the email ask actionable: People are less likely to read and act on an email that is long and doesn’t have a clear ask.

  • Include a catchy subject line asking for help.
  • If you are reaching out to someone you don’t know, introduce yourself and the work you do.
  • Ask for their help to spread the word (bold this).
  • Provide background information for your ask. What, when, and why (bold what your specific event, project, or announcement is). Tell them when it is happening or if it is ongoing. Let them know why you need their help. If you have any links with background information, you can include those here.
  • Include the links to content you have posted in a bulleted list. Each bullet should be what the platform is and linked to the specific post.  Let them know they can share these.
  • Attach photos they can use.
  • Include a document with drafts of posts for them to use.
  • If this is an event for the future or you’ll be posting leading up to it, let them know you’ll send a reminder or that you’ll be posting leading up to it.

Don’t make them do all of the work! Create a document with drafts for people to post: If you reach out for help and don’t provide anything to help them spread the word, it creates more work for them. This might also decrease the chances of them spreading the word. They might not share it in line with your messaging either.

  • This document should include drafts of language for ALL platforms for them to use (website, blog, newsletter, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc.).  Some drafts can be utilized on multiple accounts. Even if you might not be on a platform, someone you’re asking might be on it.
  • Encourage them to tweak the posts if they are able to. This helps your posts to be varied.
  • It’s a good idea to provide one to three different drafts for them to use on the social media platforms. Include more drafts for them to use on Twitter.
  • Include the posts you have up here, again, and they can share from them.

Is it okay to reach back out if you haven’t heard from them? Follow-up, but not too much:

  • You can definitely follow-up. They might be busy, they might have missed the email, etc.
  • Wait at least two to three days to reach back out, but waiting about a week is a good rule of thumb.
  • You don’t want to follow-up too much though. Follow-up once or twice. If you follow-up again, it might be worthwhile to reach out to someone else or reach out on another platform.

Show your gratitude! Thank them:

  • If they offer help or they help without letting you know, be sure to thank them.
  • After your event or announcement has passed, thank them again. Specifically, share information about it. How many people were reached, information about the event, etc. Basically, you want to send them information not readily available online.

Here are some other things to keep in mind!

  • Let them know that they can reach out to you for help.
  • Make sure to return the favor. If they ask for your help for something, be sure to try and help out.
  • If they create original posts, keep track of them and share or like them.

A game plan for your outreach helps you and everyone else and can increase your chances that people will spread the word!