The outREACH conference 2017

Last week, Kirsten, Marta and Jodi from our Content & Outreach team in Edinburgh jetted down to London for the first ever outREACH conference, hosted by Verve Search.

The full day agenda covered all things outreach, from coming up with creative campaign ideas to how (not) to pitch to journalists and even automating parts of your outreach workflow. We asked each of the Yardies who attended to pick their favourite session and talk about why they found it so interesting.

outreach conference london

Jodi Mullen (Outreach Lead)

Session: Straight from the Horse’s Mouth – Expert Outreach Panel with Gisele Navarro, Pete Campbell, Bobbi Brant and James Congden

What was it about?

Four outreach professionals from different agencies offer advice, compare notes and take questions from the audience in a panel or roundtable format.

Why did I like it?

Sometimes conference sessions can feel a bit light on detail, focusing on big ideas and conveniently ignoring the nitty-gritty. This makes  it hard to take what you’ve just heard about back to the office and put it into practice.

That definitely wasn’t the case with this expert panel; I came away with a boatload of ideas that I couldn’t wait to try out. I’d be lying if I said there was anything truly groundbreaking for me but the session was thought-provoking and got me challenging the assumptions I’ve built up over the last 7 years.

I especially appreciated the honesty of each of the speakers, showing us real examples of their workflow and communications and not shying away from their less successful pieces of work. That’s a real rarity in an environment where people tend to gloss over failure.

One of the most interesting things was that some of the panel members disagreed with and even contradicted each other. This only goes to show that there’s no one ‘right’ way to do outreach; you need to test  what works for your agency, team and clients.

Marta Tycinska (Content & Outreach Manager)

Session: Get inspired to make better content – talk by Mark Johnstone

What was it about?

Creative content consultant Mark Johnstone talked about the creative process behind shareable content, where he looks for inspiration and how to turn that inspiration into innovative and successful content.

Why did I like it?

When it comes to content, it can sometimes feel like we’re under constant pressure to come up with new and original ideas. That’s why I love hearing other people’s thoughts on the creative process (especially when the person in question has been responsible for creating lots of hugely shareable content pieces like Mark has).

At the core of Mark’s talk was the notion that creativity is about “patiently collecting nuggets of information and following hunches” (much like a detective!), rather than a singular ‘Eureka’ moment. It’s good to be reminded that sometimes you need to take the time to give your ideas room to grow.

Creativity means looking at the things you gather and thinking about how you could do something different with it. Early on is the time for optimism, synthesis, and possibilities. Later on is the time for criticism, analysis, and practicalities.

Kirsten McVey (Campaign Manager)

Sessions:

‘An outREACH mindset’ from Lisa Myers

‘What studying thousands of outreach emails taught us about effective tactics’ from Paul May

What was it about?

‘An outREACH mindset’:

CEO of Verve Search and Founder of Women in Search, Lisa Myers, talked about how a big part of outreach success is down to mindset and the importance of teams working together to achieve the best results.

‘What studying thousands of outreach emails taught us about effective tactics’:

Co-founder and CEO of Buzzstream, Paul May, took us through his analysis of thousands of outreach emails, highlighting what does and doesn’t work.

Why did I like it?

‘An outREACH mindset’:

@LisaDMyers highlighted that there’s no one way to do any job and that we need to trust our team for the best results.

She also made some excellent points about the hiring process and how we should be looking for people with the right mindset, not at where they went to school. Our newest Yardies, Kate and Doug (although intelligent and educated), definitely grabbed us with their outlook and eagerness to learn, so we couldn’t agree more!

‘What studying thousands of outreach emails taught us about effective tactics’:

We’re a big fan of Buzzstream and the whole team use it on a daily basis, so I’m not going to lie, I was fangirling a bit when @paulmay presented. After we’d calmed down, Paul gave us some useful insight into what types of outreach get the best response rates. Although it’s the approach Yard use already, it was interesting to see that it also works for others. Also, as a data-focused agency, it’s always exciting to see some new stats!

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