Influencer Outreach Mistakes: 3 Lessons Learned The Hard Way

So I published this huge 8000-word list of the best social media tools.

Many people loved it and shared it. But I wanted influencers to share my content.

So I tried out something that Tim Soulo already did.

He reached out to Rand Fishkin and asked him for a tweet for his awesome 7000-word article. His request was rejected and he learned many lessons from it.


But I thought I should give it a shot myself.

I knew this didn’t work for him but there’s nothing bad in trying things yourself.

From my list of influencers, I picked out 5 people. The most influential one was Chris Brogan.

If you don’t know who Chris Brogan is, then let me tell you:

He is a New York Times best-selling author of nine books and a business advisor.

Chris Brogan

He has an active Twitter following with more than 300K followers.

Chris Brogan Twitter

I thought he would love my big fat list of the best social media tools.

So I emailed him. I emailed him exactly how Tim Soulo emailed Rand Fishkin.


Sorry Tim, I did EXACTLY what you did. 😉

At first, I was damn sure that he wouldn’t even open my email. But my email subject made him open my email.

I didn’t expect to get a reply from him.

The two reasons behind this were:

  1. He is super-busy
  2. He receives thousands of cold-emails like this one.

But I was really lucky to hear back from him.

I wasn’t lucky enough to get a tweet. But hearing back from someone like him is also very awesome.

So this is what his reply was:


So I totally screwed up!

He knew every tactic I employed from start to finish!

Can you believe it?

I can!

I wasn’t discouraged because I’ve seen failure many times. But this really was an opportunity to learn something new. I made many mistakes in this outreach that led me to this failure.

Whenever you feel discouraged by failure just remember this:

“Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.”
― Zig Ziglar

And I’m going to show you the mistakes I made and how to fix such mistakes.

You will be surprised to know that there is only one way to fix all these mistakes.

But before that there’s a crazy thing you need to know:

I knew about these mistakes before I even reached out to him.

You may call me crazy but I really like to test things out myself and see the results.

So back to these mistakes. These mistakes make your influencer outreach a failed attempt.

And here are these mistakes:


Influencer Outreach Mistakes

#1: Using Cold-Outreach templates


Using cold-outreach templates is a big mistake. What I used wasn’t a template but it was shared on the web.

He might have read Tim’s article about influencer outreach. This means that he might have seen that email that Tim sent to Rand.

The biggest takeaway from this is that don’t EVER use templates for outreach. Write an email in your own words.

This is because these influencers also read blogs and they receive such emails daily. So these influencers have read all kinds of emails.

And reaching out to Chris with an email that he probably has read was so foolish of me. The worst part was I knew this already.

Many experts share some templates for influencer outreach. But these used to work earlier. Now everyone is using influencer outreach and these templates are used by everyone.

I also used to search for working templates for influencer outreach.

But let me tell you this:

There is NO right template.

In fact, there is no template for influencer outreach.

People say, to begin with a friendly statement then prove him that you know him well and then pitch your idea.

Bla Bla Bla!

This doesn’t work now. This will work only if you are reaching out an expert for a round-up post or an interview.

You can’t reach out to influencers and share your content with them with such crappy methods.

These methods will just help you in ruining your reputation.

#2 The “I’m So Stupid” Approach


In my email to Chris Brogan, I used an approach which is termed as “I’m So Stupid Approach”.

I just declared myself as the “most stupid man on earth” to Chris just because I thought it would help me in getting my content tweeted.

But sadly it doesn’t.

I wouldn’t learn about this until Chris pointed it out.


Using a false deprecation just I did is really harmful. It may ruin your reputation.

It’s not just using “I’m so stupid”. Using anything like that is a big mistake.

Some more examples of such approaches are using these terms in your outreach:

“I’m an idiot”

“I’m very foolish”

“I am a big fool”

You know you’re not a fool, stupid or an idiot. So you shouldn’t use such terms in your outreach email.

#3 Not Knowing Enough About The Influencer


When I emailed Chris, I knew who he was.

But I didn’t know one thing. I asked him for a tweet without even knowing that he never shares anything about social media.

Look at this:


I didn’t even knew what he shares on Twitter and asked him for a tweet.

So before you reach out to anyone, you need to know them very well. What they write about, what they share on social media etc.

I’ve seen many people who use “I’m your big fan” in their outreach emails.

What if I’ve used this in my email to Chris?

I would have screwed up in a more significant way!


Because if you tell someone you’re their fan and you don’t even know what they share on social media…

The influencer will easily find out that you’re lying. And then they will never share your content and make sure that they never share anything written by you.

So make sure you know about the influencer before you hit the send button.

The Fix To All Of Your Influencer Outreach Problems

Now it’s obvious that these mistakes will help you improve your outreach emails.

But still, it won’t work.

No matter how well personalized your email is, it just won’t work.

You will be shocked when I tell you that…

you should STOP sending outreach emails.


Because this tactic is very common and you will not get good results from it.

So what to do?

Start building connections with these influencers. Build relationships with them by commenting on their articles, sharing their content.

So does that mean I should never send them an email?


You still need to send these influencers email to build relations fast. They are experts so many people share and comment on their content.

So they won’t notice you very easily.

By sending an email to these influencers will help you a lot.

You might be wondering:

I first told not send emails and now I am telling you to do it.

Well, I am telling you to stop sending OUTREACH emails to these influencers.

But you can still send them “Thank You” Emails. Sometimes these influencers won’t even reply to your thank you emails.

But not always.

Check this out:


Aaron contributes to Entrepreneur magazine. This became an opportunity for me to connect with him and build relations.

My email was simple.

I thanked him for an article he wrote. Moreover, to keep the conversation going, I asked him for some other articles that he wrote.

And I got a reply from him!


He replied to me and to keep the conversation running, I asked him a couple more questions. To this date, we have exchanged around 10 emails.

Not many but in these 10 emails, I learned many new things from him.

And when I thought that I have a good connection with him, I shared my social media tools list to him. But I didn’t ask him to share it.


Because these people are smart as hell. Imagine this:

Someone emailed you to thank you and asked something. You replied to him. You exchanged around 13 emails.

Then this guy showed you his content and asked you to share it.

Wouldn’t you notice that he just wanted to get his content shared by you?

Well not all of them, but I would see right through that.

Moreover, when I shared my content to Aaron, I didn’t do it just because I wanted him to share. I did it because I knew it was a helpful resource and thought that he might like it.

If it’s worth getting a share it would. You don’t need to beg others to share it. But this applies only if you are reaching out to influencers.

I reached out to each tool owner of my list. Most of them replied and thanked me for including their tool. Some of them even offered me their basic plans for free.


How cool is that!

But I asked them to share it after their reply. It’s because these tool owners also want to grow their business and proudly sharing the list and telling their audience that they were included is something they couldn’t avoid.

Again I am reminding you to NOT do this with influencers. Build relationships and continue thanking them and keep helping them some way or the other.

When these influencers think that you’re a good kid, they will return the favor and share your content. Some of them may even link to it.

Biggest Takeaway From This Experience

The biggest thing I learned after getting an email response from Chris Brogan was that…

Influencer outreach is not a one day process. It’s not a process where you just send one email to an influencer and if they reply you succeed and if they don’t you fail.

It’s a long process which takes time and brings awesome end results.

While reaching out to Chris Brogan, I had a list of more than 200 influencers whom I was going to email.

I knew this won’t work. But still, I was going to do it and publish my results. But now I won’t!

Because now I know that I may not hear back from these influencers and this could really ruin my reputation.

And no one would ever want that to happen.

And there’s one more thing:

You might be thinking why am I publicly showing this to everyone?

Who would do that?

Well, REAL bloggers and marketers do that.

You can check all these experts. They have shared their mistakes and experiences at least once on their blog.

Wrapping It Up

I hope you learned a lot from this article. Just remember this:

Stop doing outreach and start building relations.

You may reach out to 500 influencers and they will not reply to you. Now the next time you want to reach out to them again! The second time they won’t even open your mail. Some of them may even block you.

But if you have built great connections with at least 5 of these influencers, you can mail them anytime and they may share your content.

Tell me in the comments which one’s worth it?


11 thoughts on “Influencer Outreach Mistakes: 3 Lessons Learned The Hard Way”

  1. This is some good stuff and I should thank you for it Afhaz.

    Truth is I hate getting rejected, It kiils me… In fact I stay away from most girls cause of this. I’ve once tried a couple of folks and I guess that wasn’t just my day.

    I’ll get my gear up again.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Haha ha….That was some cheeky ideas…And among all post which I liked the post was the pic or may be u say screenshot,whatever that were really aswm…Bcoz from there we can get to know the process of approaching through email…and what to write and what not to…Overall it was a good article

  3. Hey bro, you did very nice work. Huge appreciation from my side. I would like to add some info to it. Twitter is also effective in influencers outreach. I have tried it and it worked many times for me.


  4. Sam Adeyinka #Coach

    Hey Ahmed, I am guessing it’s my first time on your blog but trust me I love your approach and it makes me look like some toddler who needs help. Mind helping a brother out sometimes? 🙂

    I must commend you here, right now, for driving me in into reading your article. Did you know how powerful that headline is and how it must have drawn the attention of so many people?

    Well, it actually drew me into clicking the post and trust me it was totally worth my while.

    Bro, no one likes rejection but somebody told me once, “Sam, the greatest problem man has is not in failing but in their stiffness in trying something new.” And that”s when I put those fears away… I’d email the few ones I know and if they reply or not, no worries.

    For instance, I am writing my first ever lead magnet since 2011 and i thought to share some of the common blogging mistakes around and how to avoid or fix them. So I thought reaching out to some influencers will just make sense…

    …So far, I’ve had close to 20 folks showed interest and share their thoughts with me, the likes of Erik Immanuelli, Donna Merrill, Lesly and other A-list bloggers.

    While others are yet to reply me, I know that this book will fly…and that’s how we should look at this.

    About Reach-Out Templates…

    You are right bro, there’s nothing such as the perfect reach-out template, I believe it is perfect only when you’ve carried out your research on that expert and tailor your mail to them as honest as you can.

    Albeit, you will want to say a few “HIs” to them on Twitter or Facebook and share their contents for a period of at least two weeks and be around their blogs, guest posts and the likes and do this often.

    I believe this way, you will have the chance of getting their attention.

    Glad you shared this post though, it really was worth my while. Thanks.


    1. Yes, you are right. Reaching out to influencers is important but instead of simply blasting out emails, we should focus on building a relationship. That’s where many people slip (including me). Many people tend to make a huge list of influencers. They start with building relationships and then realize that it will take a lot of time. And that’s when they send cold emails and mess everything. That’s what I did here and it’s a huge lesson I learned. Thanks for your comment. Do visit my blog again. 🙂

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