Guest post by Ross Hudgens.
Looking to build influence on your blog/website? The best way is a quick path to the heart of the influencers themselves. Influencers will promote your content and the adoring masses will likely give it a strong shot at adoption due to the influencer’s reputation.
However, if you go about this process incorrectly, it’s likely that much of your effort will be wasted and you’ll see no ROI trying to appeal to the internet’s power players.
Picking the Correct Influencer
Firstly, when evaluating who you’d like to reach, establish some metrics for whether or not they qualify for a dedicated effort:
- Is their audience your audience? Even though you may like what they have to say, does that directly mean that their entire audience will like what you have to say? Even if you reach this person, if their audience hates what you say, all you have are little numbers on a Google Analytics account, and likely, a bounce rate that’s pretty large.
- What’s their true influence? Followers aren’t a good (or even decent) measure of true influence on the web. Thankfully, we now have other tools that can more accurately measure true reach, such as Klout. Klout is a great way to assess how engaged a given user’s Twitter following are with their stream.
- What’s their history of retweeting content? Look at their stream history. If they’re a true influencer, they’re getting pitched repeatedly. Occasionally, you should see that they should tweet out something that looks like it was pitched to them, such as a “Top X Person” list they were included on. If you don’t see any of this, there’s a stronger chance that they won’t tweet out your content when you pitch it to them.
- Can you find their e-mail? I’ve found that when you can’t find the influencer’s e-mail and have to contact through other avenues like Twitter, the chance of success drops dramatically. Twitter is less personal and these influencers feel less need to respond to many of the tweets directed at them.
If you’ve evaluated the above, and said influencer passes all four metrics – congratulations, you’ve got yourself someone worth targeting. Thankfully, reaching and appealing to these influencers isn’t as hard as you’d think. In fact, it’s downright easy.
How to Reach an Influencer
Here’s what you should do:
- Create a content piece that directly addresses something they wrote. Respond to it – this can even sometimes be negative and get a response, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
- Find some way to stroke their ego. Call them the greatest X or Y or J, or cite something they wrote and say how incredibly awesome it was. Of course, doing this honestly is the best path to success. Acting through text may be easier than acting with words, but nonetheless, it’s still acting.
- Create something superbly awesome that they’ll love. I don’t recommend this path, but it can work as well. If you just know that they’ll love it and their audience will love it, it’s worth sending a pitch as well. But save these up – do it too often and you’ll just look like a RT hungry glutton!
- To increase likelihood of success, target multiple influencers with one post. Create a “best marketers” or “best bloggers” post. This is fairly generic, though, so try to be a bit more creative. “Best Writers on the Internet” has a little more snap than bloggers, because it has a stronger connotation. Or “The Best 25 Under 25 Bloggers”. Or something else – these are just a few ideas to nichify your bigger, wider reaching content post.
- Make it good. Yes, most of the above steps are rather simple to do. These posts don’t have to be overly creative or sexy, but they do need to be good. Make sure it reads well. And, of course, if you create a post that only strokes the ego of the poster and does nothing else significant, you don’t have much chance of converting the influencer’s tribe into a reader or user of yours.
- Reach out with an e-mail. Once you’ve created the content, reach out with an e-mail blast. The subject doesn’t matter too much unless you completely butcher it. Try and be slightly informal and light hearted. Kindness helps! Throw another compliment the influencer’s way and then supply the post URL. These are busy people, so don’t go too in-depth or risk losing their attention.
It’s that simple. The tweets and the content and the love will start pouring in. Most importantly, have fun and be authentic! You assuredly have some influencers whose content your respect – pick from them those most likely to tweet out your content, and hzah – you’ve got a content piece people are assuredly going to read!