Looking to refresh your outreach technique in 2016? Try the drafting technique. It’s a simple, but effective strategy that has the potential to create more shareable content, improve your relationships with media sites and bloggers, and increase your traffic. Here’s how you can try it out for yourself.


In the world of content marketing, not only are you trying to get people to open your emails, but you want to connect with them on a personal level. I mean, think about it, how many emails do sites (and bloggers) get everyday? You want to find a way to make a connection with them, grab their attention, and build the relationship. That’s a lot of pressure from one email.

One technique I’ve found to be the most helpful from Derek Halpern of Social Triggers is what he calls the drafting technique. So, what exactly in the drafting technique?

Simply put, the drafting technique is finding other sites similar to yours (i.e. your competitors or people in the same industry) and find what sites they’ve been featured on. See what they’ve contributed, what they’ve written a guest post on, then find a hook or another angle to pitch to the author get you featured on the site as well.

Yes, it is that simple. However, you should never outright copy what your competition did. Brainstorm and take another angle, or build upon their idea, but make it your own.

But as you develop your strategy, you still need to build a connection with the site or blogger. As you write your emails, focus on what you can do for the website or blog. In his article, How to Persuade People You Don’t Know To Help You (This Is The Secret To Getting Links, Derek writes about the importance of building a connection through these incentives: economic, social, and moral. So, how do these break down?

The Three Types of Incentives

  • Economic. If you choose to take this route, find an way to relate to the writer on an economic level. What do they want and how can you help them? An example, offer to plug their book or do something that will help them sell their product.
  • Social. With this incentive, connect with them on a social level. Ask ‘why is nobody talking about this’ and find a way to help share their idea or product.
  • Moral. This approach is where you find a way to connect with them on a moral level. This one can be a little more complicated, but if you find the right angle it can really help you to persuade them to share your content.

Ideally, what you want to do is find a way to create an email that includes all three incentives. That way you are connecting them on all levels and giving them incentives on why they should help you.

In my own content marketing campaign’s, I’ve used the drafting technique along with the three incentives to connect with others and, potentially, get my content shared.

Testing Out the Drafting Technique

I’ve used the drafting technique for a few clients, using one or all three of the incentives in my email marketing. With one of our clients who deals with customer experience and building stronger relationships with customers, on an empathy campaign, I was able to use the drafting technique to find out sites who’ve covered a similar topic and pitch them another angle of connecting with customers.

By utilizing the drafting technique with this particular campaign, we saw a 103% increase in page views compared to the previous month. We also had a total of 6 new downloads of their ebook and 136 new visits to their site.

As you develop and utilize your email strategy, test out a few variations of the email and see which one is getting a better open and response rate. With my own email campaigns, I usually test out 2-3 email strategies to see which is getting a better response rate.

When brainstorming on what sites to contact, be creative and look at different angles. For the campaign I talked about above, not only did I contact sites who covered the same topic, but researched various top influencers in the field for a possible interview.

By looking at various angles on connecting with others, we’ve been able to cast a wider net for building links with some high ranking sites.

Photo via DeclanTM / CC BY

Danielle Schwager
SEO/Social Media Specialist at Big Leap
Danielle is an Online Marketing Specialist at Big Leap. She specializes in content writing and outreach. In her spare time, she enjoys British television, creative writing, and celebrating obscure holidays.