Consumers trust information from a third party more than a brand itself (according to Nielson 92% of people trust peer recommendations for product choices and brand preferences). And there’s no better endorsement a brand can get than a nod from an influencer. Influencer endorsements can come in the shape of a share, a quote or a link to your site/blog post. They provide social proof that your blog post is worth reading, your website is worth bookmarking or your name is worth mentioning.
But just who are these influencers? Usually bloggers, vloggers and people who have either taken the time to build up a powerful online presence or already have one (for example, celebrities). We’ve compiled a handy cheat sheet that contains everything you need to know about how to find, connect and engage with the right influencers. The best part? We’ll show you how to get what you want and need for your brand.
Not every online influencer is a good fit for your brand. One of the most important things you can do is define your own audience first and then define what your influencer outreach is trying to achieve. You need to go after influencers with access to and influence over your target audience to make sure your content is placed in front of the right people.
Finding and connecting with your ideal influencers can require some effort so you’ll have to make sure that your potential influencers have a large enough following. Visit each of their social media channels and determine how many followers and fans they have. You can also try Klout to assess their influential score.
Reach and audience alone aren’t enough to justify contacting an influencer. There also needs to be a contextual fit (that is, that the content they’re already sharing fits in with your own content goals). Otherwise your influencer outreach will look disjointed and disingenuous and will have little impact on what you’re trying to achieve. As Jay Baer says, ‘True influence drives action, not just awareness.’
Top Tip: Jeff Bullas tries to connect directly with and follow the audience of his industry influencers to maximise the impact of his content.
BuzzSumo has an awesome influencers search tool that allows users to search for the most powerful influencers for any topic or in any location. You can filter the results by reach, authority, engagement and influence. BuzzSumo also allows you to keep track of the content your influencers are sharing and export all of your influencer data onto a handy spreadsheet. You can build specific influencer lists within BuzzSumo and follow influencers direct from the tool too. An all around winner!
Followerwonk is a powerful Twitter Analytics tool. You can use it to search for and analyse your competitors’ followers – this can help you determine which influencers might be worth approaching. What’s more, Followerwonk allows you to search for the Twitter bios of individuals and delve into a deep analysis of each account, providing key information about who they follow, etc. A great tool to help target the right influencers for your audience!
Little Bird helps users discover influencers who are validated by their online peers. It allows you to find thousands of influencers in a matter of minutes and analyse your influential connections. You can unleash in-depth information about how you, your customers and competitors are connected with relevant influencers on any given topic. This one’s worth splashing out for if influencer outreach is a big part of your content distribution strategy.
Influencers will not share your content or contribute their thoughts if they don’t rate your blog, as sharing poor quality content could have a negative impact on their own personal brand. Nobody wants to endorse something they don’t believe in and this is especially true with influencers.
Before you approach any influencers make sure your blog has the best quality content possible. It needs to be easy to read, engaging and unique. And most importantly, your influencer should be immediately able to identify why it’s worth sharing with their own network.
Building up relationships with influencers can take time. Start by following them and watching out for their updates. Link to their blog posts and website/s in your articles where possible – they will often check their own backlinks and if your name pops up often enough they might just sit up and notice.
Twitter is also a great way to reach out to influencers online. When an influencer shares their latest post send them a quick tweet telling them you think it’s great (and why you do). Ask them a quick question you need help with (people love to help others), retweet their content and find ways to regularly get in front of them (like joining relevant groups they are a part of and contributing your content and thoughts).
Getting the conversation started helps you get on their radar and when you ask for help in the future you’ll be in a better position to do so.
Influencers get hundreds of emails every day (maybe thousands). They don’t have time to read your carefully constructed email so keep it short, sweet and to the point. Here’s a handy template to use if you’re asking someone to contribute their thoughts for your article:
Subject Line: Quick Quote for (insert subject of blog).
Line 1: We’re writing a blog post about (insert subject of blog).
Line 2: As a (insert compliment – the reason you’re contacting them to begin with) expert we’d love to get your views on (insert subject of blog).
Line 3: If you could please send on a short quote of (insert desired word count) we’d really appreciate it.
Line 4: Your thanks and sign off.
Top Tip: Send them a quick tweet first asking them do they mind if you send them a quick email – it’s polite and alerts them to the fact that there’s an email lying in their inbox that must be read.
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