Photo by Jenn Durfey on Flickr

Photo by Jenn Durfey on Flickr












Chris Abraham


Here’s the most poorly kept secret in the marketing, PR, sales, and religion world: Conversion is a numbers game. Whether it’s getting into the New York Times or going viral on YouTube, getting retweeted by @katyperry, or appearing on the 4th hour with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford, numbers matter.

We depend not only on the generosity of strangers to keep the lights on, we also depend on the law of large numbers to make sure we reach enough people in general through our ads, our mentions, and reviews to make our end-of-month, quarter, and yearly numbers so that we secure that sweet bonus and the pool we promised the family. Eyeballs, viewers, readership, ratings — it’s all about getting in front of as many of the right people as humanly possible. Right?

Why would it be any different when it comes to blogger and influencer outreach marketing? The conventional approach in outreach marketing and PR relies on converting just a handful of highly influential journalists, online writers, and bloggers who have a well-established popularity and readership. The strategy here is to cajole, seduce, and woo between one and 25 blogger-journalists to report and write on your behalf and in their favor.

The idea is that if you’re able to influence a top influencer and thus garner her influence to earn the support of your product, mission, ministry, or message, then you will win direct, endorsed access to the impossibly large number of readers, followers, fans, and friends who hang on their every word. The expectation is thus: the reputation of the A-lister will rub off on the messaging, bringing with it a (tacit) endorsement and then unfettered access to a fan base that often does base a lot of their decisions on what the most popular reviewers are saying. If I can get someone like the esteemed and popular Mr. John Brownlee to blog about my cool new designerly products, who knows how many people will queue up to place an order. And they just might. I know I would, if John Brownlee thought it was cool.
Are you able to cut through the noise?

But there are a number of catches to this perfect world: 1) How much time do you have? 2) How many A-listers do you already know? 3) How awesome is your product? 4) How compelling is your news? 5) How generous is your “gift”? 6) What is your goal? and 7) Is it OK to fail, to fall flat on your face with a couple snake eyes?

OK, if you’re going to do a top-down outreach where the goal is to influence top influencers, you’ll need some time, especially if you aren’t already in bed with the top influencers in your industry already. Dropping a tip, cold, into the tips@ drawer at Mashable is not the way this business works. There are exceptions, but all the top A-list successes I have had have always been warm and hot calls.

So, how many A-listers do you know and when do you need to launch the grand announcement? I mean, everything relies on not only the quality of your produce or message but also whether it’s newsworthy. And, if it is newsworthy, what’s in it for me, for the blogger, for the reader? Will the post or article lend prestige or bragging rights to the author of the piece? Are you Aston Martin and did you lend your blogger a 2014 V12 Zagato sports coupe? Or, are you just trying to get someone to notice your new Android app; and, if that’s the case, are you prepared to ship out a bunch of prepaid Nexus 5s with that app already installed for their testing pleasure? That V12 Zagato’s a pretty generous gift, even if it’s just a day at a local Aston Martin dealership and test drive (or maybe even a ride).