We sent around 20 of these short emails to various journalists, and got a lot of useful feedback and ideas, which we incorporated into our research. We shared the early findings with our influencers and sought their comments and insights. The content influencers we engaged with included Ann Handley, Michael Brenner, Andy Crestodina, Larry Kim, Robert Rose and Heidi Cohen. We included many of their comments in the final post which enriched the post and our research.
A good percentage of our engagement resulted in high-profile placements, and links. For example, we were subsequently written about in Nieman Labs, Inc. Magazine, MarketingProfs, and Forbes. These were the result of influencer/journalist outreach prior to publishing the post.
Engaging with influencers and journalists prior to publishing also helped us validate our idea. All of our emails included the preliminary title of the post (“Analyzing 100 million headlines”). If nobody responded to our emails or questions, that probably meant there was little interest in the idea, and it wasn’t worth pursuing. But in fact, many people responded, and gave us confidence this was a content idea worth writing about.
What happened? The first week
We published the post on a Monday and pushed our multi-channel approach heavily on the first day, namely direct mail, paid ads, social sharing and influencer sharing.
The traffic to our blog during the first week was as follows.