Eli Wallach once said: “The richest man is the one with the most powerful friends”. Building a blog from scratch is an arduous task. Most people believe that it can easily be done through hard work and dedication. While this is true, there is another important component you should consider – influencers. By connecting to highly respected individuals, you are able to tap into their vast audience, to get valuable insights regarding the industry and ultimately, to get some awesome links. (And at the end of the day, you might even make a good friend!)
Before you approach the biggest names in your niche, know that most of them are insanely busy. These well-known people have worked hard to made a name for themselves with personal branding opportunities, gathered a large following on social networks, and they are typically swamped by jobs and different requests. You will not be the only one reaching out to them.
If you really wish to make a real connection, you need to observe things from their perspective and play by their rules. OK, but how do you do this?
Follow these 3 simple steps to establish a long-lasting connection with an influencer in the proper (and meaningful) way.
Step 1 – Finding the influencers
Unless you have worked within an industry for years and years, we’ll assume you lack the knowledge of all the key players. If you do, you’ll also realize that there are always new guys on the scene who may prove to be valuable as well.
Either way, it’s best to start with a simple Google search by using certain tools or by reading various articles on the topic.
Search for influencers by keyword
Google search is one of the best ways to find influencers in your online niche. Just type your target keyword in the search box, for example “SEO blogs”, and hit enter. The first 30 to 40 results usually belong to the strongest websites within a niche. However, keep in mind that even if you dig deeper in the search, you may still find great resources that can help you on your way.
Use social monitoring to create list
There are numerous different tools that can help increase your influencers list depending on what goals you have set for your potential influencer outreach.
If you are active on Twitter, you can use BuzzStream’s Discovery tool as well as BuzzSumo to find the experts with the most followers. Reach is important no matter what social media platform you find your influencers on, but in this example we’ll go by Twitter followers the influencer has.
The key is to find out where they are and use their following to provide you the best exposure you can get once you build a connection with them and they start sharing your content.
Start reading influencers’ posts
If you truly wish to understand your niche, you will have to start reading articles by the experts. Like everything else, the Internet works by word of mouth. These experts may have quite a reputation and may appear on various blogs as guest authors.
These guest author experts might seem irrelevant at first glance since their blogs are not ranked in the first 50 results in Google, they may have a significant pull when you consider their reader engagement. Remember, these people are a gold mine. We’ll call them engagers as they tend to engage with regular bloggers much more than those who are in the spotlight.
Step 2 – Attracting attention
You have made your initial list and decided which influencers will be the focal point of your campaign. Good job! Now is the time to spread your peacock feathers and show them what you got.
During this phase, you will start testing the waters and learn more about influencer’s personality and personal preferences. This can be done in three simple ways:
Comment on their blog posts
Bloggers love their blogs! It is an extension of their online personal brand and allows them to share their views with the rest of the world. People who are serious about their internet business will invest a lot of time on building their reputation and engagement. They will try to create a huge following while interacting with each and every one of their visitors.
In that regard, comments made on recent posts will most likely help you attract the necessary attention. Of course, your comments need to be useful, interactive and unique. Your comments should always add value! If you are lucky enough and the blogger responds, you are able to add additional comments learning more about their character while increasing your own exposure.
Participate in forum discussions
Many influencers started their online career by participating in forum discussions, while increasing their knowledge and exposure. And guess what? Some of them are still visiting them on a regular basis. Generally speaking, comment sections are still the best way of attracting attention.
Nevertheless, forums provide much better insight because they allow a direct exchange of ideas. Simply put, people are much more talkative on the forums.
Personalize interactions on social media
Promoting your content on social media has become an inseparable part of running a website - but people don’t have time to be equally active on all of them. This is why bloggers usually choose one or two of these communication channels. Find the channels they are the most active on, and reach out.
When trying to make initial contact with an influencer, you need to be very careful. If you send the same message again and again, you will be considered a spammer and you will forever lose the chance to build a real relationship. On the other hand, if you try only one social network, you may have to wait to get a response. Be patient! Even with their flaws, they are still a great way to get in touch with influencers.
Step 3 – Email outreach
This can make your outreach success or make it flop. During this last step, you are ready to contact the influencer via email and take your relationship to another level. However, your largest challenge will be finding out their email! Some of your niche experts are very good at hiding their emails. After all, nobody wants to be spammed to death on a daily basis. Do not worry, there is a solution!
- Email extraction tools - SellHack and ContentMarketer.io are great tools to use. If you have at least some basic data, such as name, URL or social media profile, you can use these tools to extract the right emails.
- A well educated guess – OK, let’s say that you have the first (i.e. John) and the last name (i.e. Johnson) of the influencer. You also have their domain name (i.e. johnson.com). Now, you can start by trying out different combinations such as firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org and search for them in Google. Make sure you surround them in quotes for better results (eg: “email@example.com”). You’ll be surprised how many personal emails you’ll be able to extract with this simple approach.
Create a valuable outreach email for initial contact
Your initial email needs to be professional. In the end, if you just wanted to chat with a person, you could’ve used a social network or a comment section. Emails are seen as a part of formal communication and they need to be used in such a way. It can be about your latest article or about potential guest blogging opportunities.
The best practice is to find a way to connect influencer’s interest to your interest. Be polite and respectful especially if you are asking for a favor. Given that you are in the same industry, influencers would likely be interested in your content as long as you are providing something of value.
Emails are great because they allow unobstructed communication that you can’t get through any other outlet. But remember to be concise too – no one wants to read a super long email. Afterwards, you can stay in touch through social media or some instant message programs.
One last thought: Even though this a part of our work, try to show a fun-loving, relaxed side of your character. Like in real life, this is the best way to make friends!