This article originally here appeared in Econsultancy.
What is an outreach manager?
We went and asked one – Olivia Royce of digital agency Artefact UK. Royce lifts the lid on what her role includes and how to do it well.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
As outreach manager, I’m responsible for all content distribution, link earning, influencer marketing and organic social media activity for our clients. It’s a varied job. There’s lots of pitches and consultation, but also activation, so it’s quite a hands-on role!
A large aspect of it is digital PR tactics and influencer marketing, but the main thing to take away from it is that outreach is more than just link earning – it’s also about boosting our clients’ digital footprints.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
My role and the outreach department sit in the SEO service at Artefact. We’re one of three pillars in the SEO arm – there’s tech SEO, onsite content, and offsite outreach (us!). I report to Eamon Looney, Artefact UK’s head of SEO.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
I’m traditionally PR trained then learned SEO afterwards. My PR grounding has been hugely significant in offering the essential skills required for this role, which are: good communication, creative flair, strong writing skills, digital interest, desire to build relationships internally and externally, good research skills, proactivity… this is all stuff I’ve worked hard on over the years. I’d suggest people who want this kind of job don’t have to come fully formed – I didn’t! – but an employer needs to see that potential.
Earning links doesn’t just happen overnight, and you need to think outside the box – there are always going to be issues, but you need to deal with them and find a creative way around them. It’s challenging, but it’s worth it.
Tell us about a typical working day…
The first part of my day is eaten by checking and replying to emails internally and externally, while also keeping up to date with the news agenda in relation to the digital industry. I usually end up in a few meetings, because as well as covering activation for clients, I’m also responsible for growth of Artefact’s outreach service, so I often meet with managers to discuss potential opportunities.
In terms of client meetings and catch-up calls, I’m often responding to the trajectory of campaigns, conceptualising, holding brainstorms and reporting back on campaign success. It’s a tired phrase – and I’m sure everyone says this – but ‘no day is the same’. Honestly!
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
I love the creative edge of my job – it keeps me on my toes. I can be a bit of a perfectionist, so the job’s never really done – there’s always one more piece of coverage you could’ve secured, another link to earn, just an extra influencer you could’ve reached out to. Putting an end to a campaign is hard, especially when it’s going well; sometimes you question whether maybe you could’ve done more, so having realistic expectations is something of a blessing and a curse.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
We currently measure our work with core SEO practices, so things like visibility, rankings, onsite engagement, referral traffic we’ve driven, and social media engagement statistics if appropriate. That last one’s particularly useful when working with influencers; best practice is hugely important to us, so engaging with people who have the right market, the right audience, no fake followers and so on. That way, we can report back to clients and say the campaign was X times more effective, because we used X influencer to push the work.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
From an outreach perspective, Ahrefs is invaluable. It’s our way of sussing out what’s going on in backlink profiles, and helps shape strategy accordingly.
How did you end up at Artefact, and where might you go from here?
Before Artefact, I was at a bit of a career crossroads. I was working in traditional PR for a boutique agency, and felt like I was in a constant battle trying to prove digital’s worth in PR. So, did I keep fighting, or find an industry that was willing to fight next to me? I was in the fashion and beauty industry, and I felt like I’d learned all I could in terms of the core PR skills. So, when I moved to Artefact, I used that outreach knowledge in a completely different setting and learned all the necessary SEO tricks.
In terms of where I might go from here, I feel like I’ve still got a lot to learn from Artefact. They call themselves ‘marketing engineers’ for a reason – they’re doing so many unique things with data and artificial intelligence. A lot of agencies say it but Artefact do it, and I’m keen to keep forging that path forward with them.
Which PR campaigns have impressed you?
The example I always show clients is That Feeling When Gucci. It’s a great example of digital PR in play, generating loads of likes and traction with something as seemingly simple as a meme. At the time, it was extremely progressive, and is a prime example of a brand speaking to more than just its captive audience.
What advice would you give somebody who wants to work in PR?
Resilience is key.
Even when you get to grips and break into the industry, you’ll still suffer knock backs. Campaigns go wrong, journalists can be difficult and clients don’t always understand the true value of PR and outreach. You constantly need to prove your value and it’s hard at times, but the reward is amazing job satisfaction. It’s an incredible feeling.