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Identifying new routes of outreach: Reddit, forums and other methods
If you do any marketing in your business, the likelihood is that you’re already creating content, whether it’s blogs, website copy or posts about your products and services. Ensuring your brand information is available is essential in helping people learn more about you – however, it shouldn’t be a case of just leaving your content out there, waiting for someone to find it.
Outreach is the practice of creating connections and identifying opportunities that get your brand and its content in front of audiences. By providing value and seeking people interested in your offering, you can gain exposure and convert more people into customers.
Businesses have used outreach marketing for a long time in different forms, such as email and calls. However, as with most marketing areas, new techniques are emerging every day. In recent years, forums, social media, video and SEO becoming increasingly prominent for outreach. Brands that seize these trends will often benefit from the best results by targeting vast and diverse audiences.
In this guide, we have listed seven new routes for outreach that you can use to maximise brand visibility and capture leads today.
SEO isn’t a new concept. For years, any business wishing to have an online presence has been told the importance of good SEO to ensure they can be found on search engines. In terms of outreach, optimising your content with the right keywords will help interested customers to find you when they’re actively looking.
SEO practice is constantly changing as new Google algorithms emerge and competition increases across keywords. As such, it’s imperative to keep above SEO trends and patterns so that you can continually optimise your content to reach the top of the SERPs.
This means monitoring your analytics to see how your content is performing over time, checking for algorithm updates and monitoring how they might impact your website. Best SEO practice also recommends regularly conducting content audits and updating your assets to add value and stop your competitors’ overtaking you. By doing so, you can ensure your website ranks highest, helping you to capture interested users when they carry out relevant searches. This will boost visibility, ensuring your brand is seen rather than sat in the ether.
In a world where social media dominates, it might be tempting to assume nobody uses forums anymore – but you would be very wrong. Some forums, like Quora, boast millions of users who actively post every day.
Today, there are many forums to peruse. Many businesses will be aware of consumer forums, such as MoneySavingExpert, that people use to ask for reviews, make recommendations or – the thing that every company wants to avoid – complain (as pictured below). Beyond this, you will also find niche forums, such as Netmums, eFestivals and The Student Room. These target specific groups of users who share common interests and concerns.
When using forums for outreach, the first step is identifying the relevant ones based on your value proposition and target audience so you can reach people who will be interested in you. It’s also essential to remember that forums aren’t traditional places for marketing, and users won’t want the cold sale while here. So, you need to find authentic ways to connect with people by providing value when appropriate, offering commentary on topics and engaging with threads rather than solely pushing products. Using this inbound approach will help you put across your brand when it’s suitable without alienating forum users. It might also enable you to put forward your solutions when someone discusses a problem or asks for a recommendation, capturing a potential buyer at the most opportune time.
Reddit is a forum but is worth mentioning in its own right as it has become a powerhouse in recent years. It’s particularly popular with men aged 18-29, though there is some use by other age and gender groups. There are 430 million active monthly users across the world.
Reddit is divided into thousands of sections, known as ‘subreddits’ (also marked with the convention r/ followed by the name of the community). Each subreddit will tackle a specific topic, with all threads pertaining to an overarching theme. So, if you can find a subreddit relevant to your brand, there may be an opportunity to connect with the users posting there, who could be members of your target audience.
As with most forums, Reddit users are there to talk about their interests with other users. They are not there to be sold products or services by businesses, and a member who pushes products in this way will likely receive backlash. So, you need to become an active member of the subreddit first. This will help you to learn the unspoken rules of posting in that community and build trust.
Again, it will be essential to promote your brand in a considerate, subtle way. Listen to the conversations people are having and identify ways your brand can add value, such as answering questions and providing solutions. You may not even have to promote your product – instead, think about offering expertise through commentary or linking to a blog article on your website.
It is worth noting that marketing on Reddit is a relatively new concept, and few businesses have had massive success. However, by monitoring activity and providing value at reasonable times, you can draw attention to your brand in an authentic, understated way, without irritating users.
Many brands are already present on social media – and if you aren’t, you really should be. Most social media strategies will include sharing links to your website or digital content on your profiles. While this is a form of outreach, it can be hard to gain exposure beyond the existing following you have on each platform.
Rather than simply sharing content to social media and leaving it floating there, take the additional step of social media commenting. Identify people who might be interested in your business and directly provide them with information through comments.
It’s vital to find appropriate posts to comment on to avoid coming across as ‘spammy’. This means taking the time to monitor your newsfeeds, search-related topics to your business and build relevant connections. When you find posts that you can contribute to – such as discussions that align with your offering or those specifically asking for solutions – comment in an insightful, helpful way. You can end with a call-to-action to contact you or visit your website to help you capture leads. This will ensure you offer value, engage with others in the conversation, and have a better chance of converting customers than you would by entering into sales mode.
Similarly, you may consider direct messaging people, such as professionals or influencers. Again, the emphasis needs to be on finding individuals who are relevant and sending them personal messages that showcase what worth you might be able to provide and why it should matter to them. Avoid sending a one-size-fits-all message to multiple people at once, as this comes across as cold and can even lead to social media sites banning you.
Guest blogging is another tried-and-tested form of outreach. With this, you reach out to websites that share common interests to your brand and offer your expertise via a guest article, exploring a set topic. You will usually get at least a link to your website or mention of your business which can increase awareness and generate leads.
If you are pursuing guest blogging for outreach, it is fundamental that you frequently take stock of the market and identify new people to blog for. This will enable you to stay on top of changing consumer behaviour, targeting people in the way they want, and find new opportunities to expose your brand. This might include monitoring new websites and forums in your industry, working with influencers and finding unexplored niches that could relate to your value proposition.
Guest blogging now isn’t necessarily confined to blogs and articles. Some brands now host social media takeovers, vlogs, podcasts and interviews, which offer ‘guests’ chances to give their expertise in different formats, improving engagement and giving you increased possibilities to showcase your brand.
By seizing guest blogging opportunities and using multimedia formats, you will target new audiences, helping you increase your market share and promote brand awareness. The added benefit is that it improves your SEO by generating backlinks – so it’s a win-win situation!
Video can offer enormous advantages. Marketers who use video report improved return on investment, better audience trust and increased engagement rates. So, embracing video can be an excellent tactic in boosting awareness in your outreach efforts.
There are many ways to incorporate video into an outreach strategy. We’ve already touched upon guest vlogs, but you can repurpose any of your blog or web content into a video that can be shared on social media or YouTube. This will give it a second lease of life without requiring too much additional effort.
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You can also add video into your social media posting, with features like Instagram Stories proving effective for businesses. This feature and sites like YouTube give you the option to link to your website, which can direct traffic and help you move people along the sales funnel while encapsulating the engagement advantages of video marketing.
If you’re using influencer marketing in your outreach, you can use video – such as asking influencers to feature your brand in brand hauls, reels, product reviews or even short-form videos (like a TikTok).
Webinars and conferences
With physical events unable to go ahead during the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a rise in online conferences and webinars. These digital events are often fixated on providing expertise within a specific industry or field. If you can give insight into that area, they could also be a great way to get sight of your brand.
You might host your own webinars or be invited to join the panel on a session led by another brand. Both can give you a notable platform if you drum up a large enough attendance. However, the purpose of the event shouldn’t be to promote yourself. Instead, the focus is educating and supporting attendees, which may coincidentally lead them towards your business.
If you’re planning an event, it’s critical to tackle topics that audiences are actively interested in and address the challenges they face. This might include repurposing topics you already cover on your website, which can further promote that content. You’ll also want to advertise the event via email, social media and other means to get people to attend and increase your reach.
If you want to join the panels of other events, you’ll need to have established authority in that topic for people to want to listen to you. This can be done by creating informative content and ensuring it’s in the public domain, which could grab the attention of anyone looking for guest speakers. It’s also worth building industry relationships so that if any of them host a webinar in the future, they’ll bear you in mind.
Using webinars as an outreach tactic, you can showcase your knowledge in the topics related to your business, which can convince people to trust you over your competitors. It’ll also help you build thought leadership, which can be a great way to improve brand awareness and reputation.
Identifying new routes of outreach is essential to diversify your tactics and create strategies that deliver optimised results. Having an effective outreach plan will also increase traffic and engagement metrics across your content and website, giving you a better shot at converting more users into loyal customers.
The forms listed above all carry advantages for getting your brand seen. Determine which ones work best for your business, in line with your goals, target audience and image, and implement them into your outreach practice.
With this, you can enjoy an expansive reach and ensure people see the value you have to give at the right time and in the right place.