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[Vlog] 5 Tips to Connecting with Influencers

When you think of influencers, what do you think of? Key individuals, thought leaders, people with a tribe? And that tribe is exactly what you want to get in front of, with their permission of course. In this video we share a few tips on how to do just that, and maybe save you from making some mistakes along the way.

#1: Marketing with Influencers

There are few ways to work with any influencer:

  • Market to influencers
  • Market through influencers
  • OR Market with influencers

We prefer the last. What this means is typically something along the lines of co-created content. This can be imaged in a ton of forms but a couple examples would be a podcast where you reach out to influencers to be an expert guest on your show. They are creating the content with you. The followups are as simple as sharing the final piece, along with assets they can then publish on their site and on their social media accounts that naturally they want to share because you made them a rockstar.

And don’t let the idea of a podcast production overwhelm you. Think of interviewing them over the phone and including quotes in a final article with some awesome quotable social postcards.

So many possibilities, but remember “Find a way to market with influencers” is the aim. Involve them early, create urgency and singularity, as in, “You’re my top pick, I’d really love your expert opinion on this…” Simple.

#2: Build Your List

Here are a few places you can go to not only figure out who your influencers are but possibly score their contact information, all in one shot:

  • Events - Summits, Conferences, Retreats all have speakers and these are typically people with a following already. Just Google “industry events for…” and see what comes up.
  • Crowdfunding platforms - Kickstarter, IndieGoGo - CEOs of up and coming if not already successful ventures. They NEED to be out there and have a prime active audience. It’s the nature of crowdfunding. Search a relevant topic or product and boom, lots of peoples to pick from.
  • Job boards - not for job descriptions but for the names of those hiring.
  • Also, awards sites, universities (think professors and “alumni program”), the associated press...these are just a few examples!

Essentially, turn yourself into a member of the media vs. a marketer and reach out as such. If you show interest in them they’ll likely want to chat you up, too.

#3: Your New Best Friends

Of course it would be awesome if you had a raging network of influencers pumped to work with you but before you ask them....you need to actually reach them. As in, make an introduction OR be introduced. Welcome to your new best friends - The Gatekeepers! They have a lot of names, including:

  • Administrative assistant
  • Virtual assistant
  • Webmaster
  • Forum moderator

Use your imagination. Those who are handling the influencers online situation and providing a pass-through is who you’re after. So, when in doubt, don’t try to aim for the actual influencer but instead get an escorted trip to their center stage.

#4: Ask for an Introduction

If you think you’re starting from zero, don’t get discouraged. We all know one person who knows one person, or likely many, who would be happy to give us an introduction.

Here’s what I do:

  • Create a wishlist of Influencers I’d like to work with
  • Look at my existing network and start reaching out
  • And after every interaction I ask one question: “I’m looking for [insert what you’re looking for]...who do you recommend?”

And then get the introduction! Most people are pumped to make a recommendation and if it’s simple as making an email or phone introduction. It’s something they can check of their to-do list and feel really good about. So, give your network the chance to connect you with influencers.

#5: Cast a Wide Net

Okay, so everything we’ve covered so far will have a major impact on connecting you with influencers if you dedicate time to it each day. Now, we have one more time to help you cast a bit of a wider net and get a more immediate return.

Here’s one way to connect with a lot of would-be influencers and potential cross-promotion providers:

  • Go to HelpaReporter.com, otherwise known as HARO, set up a account (it’s totally free)
  • Post something like, “Looking for opinions on…[insert the campaign name]
  • Create a detailed query
  • And set a deadline, preferably only a few days out

Then let the people, companies and public come to you!

And of course, as you're creating your content strategy, include them early and be sure to avoid the mistakes and pitfalls we cover in this video “5 Things Missing From Your Content Strategy”.

That’s it, 5 tips to connecting with influencers. Until next time!

Shante Schroeder

Shante is the Director of Marketing & Communications at 97th Floor.

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