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The ole one two three four five six seven punch

If you reach out to someone with a great idea or fantastic offer via email and you don’t hear back, never assume you’ve been rejected. People are so busy. You need to be both patient and persistent. If you don’t have any particular people you need to reach, you just need to kiss a lot of frogs; however, if you have a list of top-influencers that your client demands, you need to channel your inner political operative and become 300% more aggressive, persistent, and creative then you’re probably comfortable with. Forget a one-two punch, you’ll need to work on your one two three four five six seven combination.

Don’t You Wish Life Had Delivery Confirmation?

It might make you feel better about the profession of love you sent via letter, email, voicemail, or text. There’s a very good chance that your beloved never saw — or even received — all of the honestly, passion, desire, and love you poured into the one missive you sent before you gave up, licked your wounds, and moved on. The relationship graveyard is full of missed connections. The same thing goes for public relations and marketing. Here’s a secret: all the best PR men and women are really persistent. They will call until they get someone on the line and won’t stop until they get a clear yes or no. And, even if the answer is yes or maybe — and often even a no — a PR pro escorts each and every opportunity all the way home because even spirited yesses don’t mean anything until the morning paper hits the stands, so to speak, and your client’s message is part of the news.

Even the Pity Mention is a Media Mention

You do whatever it takes to get the story out there. Sometimes, it’s really just a matter of wearing them down. Seriously. True.

I’m doing a big influencer outreach right now on behalf of a technology startup. As part of the campaign, I’ve partnered with a top-50 social media influencer to help me extend my network. We’re personally, by hand, reaching as far down the tech, app, and gadget A-list as possible, reaching hundred of bloggers and social media writers. In addition, my staff is doing a long tail outreach, including upwards of 4,000 influencers. My client also has their media list. There’s probably a lot of crossover. We’ll probably reach out to some of the same people — and that’s OK.  Scott, Liz, Paul, John, Jason, and Janet might respond to me but David, Brian, the Peters, and the Chrisses might resonate with my colleague and who knows how many people will resonate with the pitch that comes from Nina instead of Sally or me.

Have Everyone On Your Team Say Hello

In the past, we might have checked each others lists to make sure we’re not all reaching out to the same people. Not anymore. Having more than one person reach out to the same list of people is not only fine but can actually effectively break through all the noise that happens not only on social media but also in the 500-emails-a-day inboxes of today’s top influencers.

When I go to meetings in impressive conference rooms, everyone tends to give everyone else their business cards. This allows each and every person in that meeting to potentially make a meaningful connection with every other new person in that room. It allows people to connect to people and not just brands or companies. It also acts as a safety net. Joe might have lost Mary’s card but I didn’t. Mark might not remember which card went with the guy who really liked what we do, but Sarah does.  Everyone is a potential seller and everyone is a potential brand influencer as well.

What in the Hell is a Rolodex?

It’s not 1973 any more. No matter how well-connected you are, you can’t be everyone to everybody; and even if you’re on a top-50 social media influencer list and know everyone, gone are the days when you could pop one note and things would get done. Activating someone to share their influence with you and your client is a war of attrition. A surgical mission might very well work occasionally, but in a hyper-connected world where you’re potentially competing with everyone with a Vocus/Cision, you can’t just fire and forget. Rare is the clean first round knockout. You might need to stay in the ring for all twelve rounds.

For example, Sally and I aren’t only using email. We’ll reach out in any way we can, including LinkedIn InMail, via DMs or Facebook Messenger (but only if they already follow you or are already your friend) and even those annoying contact pages, clicking through all the Spam Arrest confirmation emails. Sadly, that’s just step one: the initial outreach.

You can’t just rely on one cracker-jack, hyper-rolodexed, PR superstar in the Internet age.  Many hands make light work — but not in the way you think. There’s a lot to be learned from email marketing. Lessons in persistence. Lessons in A/B testing. Lessons in sending similar messages from different senders. Lessons in passing recipients back and forth. Lessons in day-of-the-week, hour-of-the-day, weekday, and weekend.

It Might Be Personal

What I’ve learned, from years of experience, is that sometimes a top influencer and a top PR agent rub each other the wrong way.  People either loved or hated my former business partner, Mark.  When they loved him, we were golden; when they disliked him, my clients would eschew him, not even allowing him to be on calls with us. It was very fascinating. I know I rub people the wrong way, too, in a very real way. The same things that make your PR star a star are also things that can drive other people away. By having everyone in your team pitch every on your list, you offer your prospects a plethora of choices.

Many Hands Make Light Work

At the end of the day, the lesson learned is to be creative, to try new things, to try the pitch yourself but also pass it on to your partners, your colleagues, your associates, your spouse, or even your Interns (they deserve some client- and influencer-facing time, too). In the Internet age, public relations isn’t only battling anonymity, irrelevance, direct mail, native advertising, pay-per-click, and busyness, it’s battling technology, too.  Even if you get your message delivered, your timing might suck, your relationship might have cooled, you might have mis-perceived your own celebrity, influence, or impact. Or, it could just be as simple as the timing sucking.

Forget divide and conquer, redouble and conquer

One of the first conversations I have with partner agencies is about divvying up influencers. They call this strategy “divide and conquer.” I have discovered over the years that it’s better to redouble and conquer.  Instead of taking all the business cards and splitting them up. it’s about making a bunch of copies of all the cards and giving copies of all the cards to everyone.  Give everyone a go. Let everyone try their hand at making that connection. Who knows what’s going to pique their interest? I can never tell what’s going to get my attention in my Inbox, InMails, DMs, Messages, or on my Facebook Wall or in my Twitter Stream. Sometimes it’s active filtering (Who the heck are you? Who do you think you are? Do you know who I am?), sometimes it’s just as simple as being a name I don’t recognize or a terrible subject line. Sometimes one pitch goes into my Spam or SaneBox and another doesn’t, and sometimes it’s just about the squeaky wheel getting the grease.

The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease — or Not, it Depends

It’s true. People love to hit the snooze button. They hit the button again and again, until they eventually get up.  Someone on your greater team needs to be right there when the stars align and the influencer you’re interesting in covering your client news, offering, product, promotion, launch, or service is finally available, in the mood, has the time, and is finally affable and receptive. As most of you know from your office jobs, to your endless frustration, the squeaky wheel always gets the grease — until it doesn’t anymore.

Direct mail and professional email marketers refer to that as overworking or burning out the list. The same thing can happen in the PR sphere, however, list overuse is a lot more rare in the wild than you would expect. People tend to put up with a squeaky wheel a lot longer than you would ever consider sane because they get things done.  You might not like the squeaky wheel but your venture wouldn’t work without them. They’re your top sales people, they’re the lawyer you have on retainer, they’re the real estate agent who got you that house.

The Rule of Seven Touches

“But,” you say, “I really like those people. I don’t consider them squeaky wheels at all.”  Well, that’s the X-factor, maybe: likeability, charm, tact, timing, and not just making everything about business, about the pitch, about the sale. But, it’s about making a lot more noise and giving more attention. But it is the difference between earned a media mention on TechCrunch and getting flagged as SPAM.

It all comes down to segmentation and targeting. It all comes down to making sure that the pitch is tailored to the recipient as carefully as possible.  There’s a belief that it’s essential to connect with someone seven times on behalf of your brand before you make a sale. That when you lose on sexiness, relevance, or perfect targeting, when your facts war fizzles, it’ll be the persistent, consistent, personal connection that will result in a conversion.  They call this the rule of seven touches. The number 7 is arbitrary but it suggests quite a few times but not an insane amount. It would also suggest that advertising, messaging, sponsorships, blog posts like this one, and even attending parties, events, and conferences in person can contribute to your overnight success. That advertising, PR, blogging, publishing, and all of those resources on Facebook Pages, Google+ Pages, Twitter profiles, on Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and even organic SEO are worth it, building on each other toward the ultimate moment when a buying, hiring, or purchase decision actually happens and you’re the brand, product, or service under their hand when duck, duck, duck becomes goose; when eenie, meenie, miney reaches mo.

In a perfect world, your brand would be so on top of their mind that you’re all the ducks and the eenie, meanie, and miney, too, but take the first step today. Get out there and go git ’em, Tiger!

Feel free to email me at or call me at +1 202-351-1235

Learn more about Chris Abraham at Gerris digital.

Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham, digital strategist and technologist, is a leading expert in digital: search engine optimization (SEO), online relationship management (ORM), Internet privacy, Wikipedia curationsocial media strategy, and online public relations with a focus on blogger outreachinfluencer engagement, and Internet crisis response, with the digital PR and social media marketing agency Gerris digital. [Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call with me] A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and adviser to the industries' leading firms. Chris Abraham specializes in web technologies, including content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.  Chris Abraham was named a Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes, #1 PR2.0 Influencer by Traackr, and top-10 social media influencers by Marketwire; and, for what it’s worth, Chris has a Klout of 79 the last time he looked. Chris Abraham started doing web development back in 1994, SEO in 1998, blogging in 1999, influencer engagement in 2003, social media strategy in 2005, blogger outreach in 2006, and Wikipedia curation in 2007. Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call. If you want to know the services that Chris offers check out Services If you want to work with Chris use the Contact Form You're welcome to follow me via Social Media You can learn more about Chris over in About Chris writes a lot so check out the Blog Chris offers webinars so check Events

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