Oct 4, 2018

5 Tips for Effective Influencer Outreach

by Digital Marketing Institute

Influencer outreach is a powerful alternative to traditional advertising and a very effective strategy for developing credibility and promoting awareness of your brand. An influencer is someone who has the ability to deliver your message and promote your brand to a large number of people. Since the audience already trusts the opinions of the influencer, they may be influenced to do business with you.

The goal of using a strategy of influencer outreach is to connect with an individual who has the power to influence members of your target audience. This type of individual has the ability to convince other people to listen to and respect their point of view. By reaching out to these individuals, your brand may be advocated by someone who already is respected and trusted by the people you are targeting.

How Does Influencer Marketing Work?

So, what does it take for influencer marketing to work? While the easiest way to get an influencer to promote your brand is by offering financial compensation to him or her, that is not necessarily the most effective strategy.

Celebrities are sometimes paid to promote a brand, but the public is usually aware that they are not necessarily sincere in their endorsements. The price tag for a celebrity endorsement is usually pretty high and results for paid endorsements may not be as good as you hope.

A more effective approach to influencer marketing involves developing an authentic professional relationship with someone who shares similar business goals with your brand, but has already established a loyal audience that trusts their knowledge and point of view.

Reaching out to influencers and getting them to agree to advocate for you is not a quick process. However, when it is done correctly, it can ultimately give your brand access to a large number of people who are interested in listening to a voice they trust. When they hear your message from this influencer, they may be persuaded to trust in your message and your brand as well.

Influencer outreach needs to be done carefully and thoughtfully - from choosing the right people to approaching them the right way. Here are five tips for developing a strategy that works.

1. Know What Your Goals Are

To create an effective strategy for influencer marketing, you need to have a good grasp of your own target audience and what your brand stands for. What are you trying to be recognized for, and who is the best person to help deliver your message? The wrong influencer and the wrong audience will do you more harm than good.

Take the time to thoroughly get to know your target audience. Create a persona of who you are trying to serve. This will help you to find out who is currently marketing successfully to this group of people and capturing their attention.

What are your actual short-term and long-term goals? Are you trying to build an email list, a large social following or a brand identity? How can a known person in your niche help to make a difference in what you are trying to accomplish? These are important questions to address.

A clearly defined goal makes it a lot easier to know what influencers are the best choices to participate in your strategy and most likely to help you move toward your marketing goals if they agree to promote your brand.

2. Identify the Right Influencers

Finding the right influencers will not happen instantaneously. You will need to take the time to study the marketplace and put yourself in the place of your target audience. Who are your prospects following and interacting with on social media? What podcasts are they listening to? Which blogs in your niche are ranking the highest for your targeted keywords?

The influencers you are looking for are the people who have a shared enthusiasm for your niche and your message. You are also looking for people who have established their authority on a certain topic. These are the people who create influential content that is often shared, and they have a large number of social media followers and a great deal of engagement on their blog. How can your brand complement and help the influencer to continue to promote his or her message and establish authority?

Keep in mind that influencers are continually approached by many different marketers. Don’t try to reach out until you know exactly what your message is, what you are trying to accomplish and what you have to offer the influencer in return. Influencers will expect to have something in it for them if they agree to advocate for you to their audience.

Only reach out to influencers who are relevant to your brand. If you are having a hard time identifying an influencer in your niche, use tools such as BuzzSumo to search for key influencers for any topic or area.

3. Build a Relationship with the Influencer

The last thing an influencer wants to hear from you is a sales pitch or a demand for their attention. Influencer outreach means taking the time to build a relationship with the influencer. Remember that a bad first impression can destroy your opportunity to get to know them, so take your time choosing the right people and slowly getting to know them and their approach.

Before you approach them, follow them and their posts on their blog and on social media. Like or share their posts, and add insightful comments whenever possible.

You should genuinely like the content that the influencer publishes. If you do, your authentic interest in them and their content will be apparent. Conversations will become more engaging and natural and less forced. As you gradually bring value to the relationship, influencers will be likely to want to return the favour.

When you contact the influencer to suggest that they endorse your brand or include your content on their established blog, they will already be familiar with who you are and the fact that you are in a related niche. They will also know that you have been interacting with them in a non-pushy, non-demanding way and that your brand has something to offer their audience.

4. Get the Influencer Involved in Strategy

As your relationship with the influencer continues to grow, you will reach a point where you are ready to ask the influencer to help you promote your brand. This can be done in a variety of different ways. You may offer to provide content for their blog or you may request that the influencer profile you, or interview you on their podcast.

The strategy of promoting your brand and how it is carried out should always involve the influencer. While you might feel a bit sensitive to advice that could differ from your original plan, be open-minded to the extensive expertise that the influencer has to offer.

For example, the influencer might completely change a guest blog post that you wrote for their site. Remember that they already know their audience and what works. They know how and when to promote information for the best response from their audience.

Content that the influencer creates for their own blog to talk about your brand has to be written in their own voice and style, as this is what their audience has come to expect. If they are writing a review of one of your products, don’t try to stop them from being honest or thorough in their review.

Allow influencers to participate in and even dictate the strategy of promoting your brand and giving you more exposure. Listen to their suggestions. The audience already trusts them, and they have a good idea of what will bring you the most benefit.

5. Evaluate the Process

All marketing strategy requires that you spend some time looking at the process and how effective it is. This will involve both influencers that you were able to establish a relationship with and those who never became interested in engaging with you.

Strategies of influencer outreach may be unsuccessful with certain influencers who are not receptive to building new relationships or who dislike your approach. When approaches are unsuccessful, see if you can identify what went wrong.

When influencer outreach has resulted in meeting the goals that you were hoping to reach, such as publishing a guest post on a top blog or being interviewed on a well-known podcast, see what impact this strategy had on your traffic or your email list. There’s a good chance that it had a more powerful impact than more traditional forms of advertising.

Track social media shares and posts, and see which influencer had the most impact on your goals. Evaluate what you have learned from this strategy and if there is anything you think you should change in future influencer outreach campaigns.

Using influencer outreach can be one of the most effective types of marketing. By leveraging the established reach of influencers in your niche, your brand can become known to a much larger audience in a relatively short time frame.

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