phoebe buffay influencer outreach isn't working and smelly cat
Image via TVRage

I’m a huge Friends geek. I own all 10 seasons, and watched all 236 episodes at least 10 times.

After Joey and Chandler, Phoebe Buffay would be my favourite. She’s quirky, outspoken, and I relate to her on a personal level: I’m also a musician that writes terrible songs!

Her best song, however, can teach us a lot of lessons about influencer outreach: Smelly Cat.

Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you? Smelly cat, smelly cat, it’s not your fault.

Let’s say for this analogy that the influencer is the cat, and the “smelly” part is bad influencer outreach results. So if you listen to the song, you can make the conclusion that it’s not the influencer’s fault for YOUR bad influencer outreach results.

Yes, it’s the hard truth. If your influencer outreach isn’t working, it’s your fault. It’s a tough thing to swallow, but here are 10 reasons why your campaign might not have worked:

1. You didn’t set goals before you start your research. Depending on your goals, you might take a different strategy when finding and approaching influencers. What is it you want to accomplish? Raise awareness, create more sales, get people to register for something? Figure it out!

2. You didn’t establish what to measure. What does a successful outreach campaign look like for you? How will you measure it? What tools or tactics do you need to measure results? Those are all things you’ll need to set-up before you start the campaign.

3. You didn’t create a campaign strategy. Who are you targeting and why? What will the campaign look like? Who should be involved, and who shouldn’t? A strategy is important.

4. You didn’t do enough research. You looked at some aspects of the influencer, such as their website, the amount of followers they have, and maybe their Alexa or PageRank. But you forgot some major data that you should be looking at – segmented audience data. Who are they talking to, where do they live, what are their interests? If the influencer is not talking to the right people, your message will get lost. You can estimate who the influencer’s audience is by looking at their blog categories, but that’s not enough. Unless you’re looking at Big Data, you won’t know for sure.

5. Your brief was too… brief. The most important part of your campaign is making sure the influencers you choose understand your brief. If anything isn’t clear on the brief, they’ll have to leave it up to interpretation, which might or might not be what you were thinking. Be clear, concise, and follow-up with the influencers to make sure they understand.

6. The tone of the pitch wasn’t right. This is part of the brief and pitch – you’re setting up the scene for the influencer. If you want them to be jazzed about your campaign, your pitch and brief has to get them excited. If it’s dull, the campaign will be dull.

7. You didn’t communicate enough. It’s important that you keep in touch with influencers throughout the whole campaign. Be available for questions before, during, and after. Be responsive, and be quick. If you’re not communicating regularly with the influencer, they might not want to work with you.

8. You tried to dictate the message. You can’t tell the influencer what to write, and you can’t have creative control. If that’s your strategy, just buy an ad somewhere. Influencers know their community, know what works for them, and know how to write in their own voice. If you dictate the message, their audience will see through this, and won’t trust the post.

9. Your call-to-actions weren’t clear. If you want results, you need great call-to-actions. If there are no call-to-actions included in the campaign, how will you measure results? How will you know that your campaign is working?

10. You didn’t value the influencer. Remember, the influencers are the ones that built the blogs that you want to target. They’re the ones that built a community. They’re the ones putting in effort into researching your product/service/experience, brand, and message. They’re the ones writing the posts, creating the images, making videos, etc. They’re the ones editing, proofreading, publishing, and promoting. If you want them to put the time and effort that your campaign deserves, and you want them to produce results, pay them for their value and the time they’ve spent working for you. You wouldn’t run your agency on toothpaste and coupons, right?

So there you go! In the words of Princess Consuela Banana Hammock herself, Smelly cat, smelly cat, it’s not your fault!

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