No matter the industry your brand falls under, be it retail, education, lifestyle, etc., there are undoubtedly a handful (or more) of people who act as influencers to your target audience. Reaching these high-visibility individuals is an important piece of any online marketing campaign because the users whom you want to connect with already know and trust them as valuable resources. You can tweet and update your status all you want, but none of these messages will be as impactful as a third-party endorsement from a well-known online influencer.
When I Say Influencer, You Say…
An influencer is anyone who is highly regarded as a resource by a specific target audience. Influencers often have blogs with high traffic, Facebook pages with many fans, and Twitter accounts with a boatload of followers, among other things. They have a large and attentive audience, and platforms for engaging with these people. Influencers are perfectly positioned to publicize your brand in the online space.
Influencer Wining And Dining 101
Unlike traditional PR, where strict rules and etiquette guide how a brand should reach out to members of the media, influencer outreach should be personable, specific, and authentic. You’ve no doubt heard about “engaging” and “building relationships” with influencers, but what exactly does that mean? The key is to introduce yourself and your brand before asking for placement or pitching story. Some ways to get started include:
- Commenting on an influencer’s blog post
- Sharing content from an influencer on Facebook and/or Twitter
- Reaching out to an influencer just to let them know your thoughts on something they’ve posted
- Asking an influencer if you can share a piece of their content with your audience because you know they would find it valuable
Now That I’ve Got Your Ear…
So you’ve initiated contact without asking for anything – how does this turn into a high-visibility placement? Now that these influencers know who you are, they’re more likely to be receptive to future outreach that is a bit more promotional. Keep the focus on them and what’s in it for their readers, but don’t be shy about asking for what you want. Give them as much information as possible (videos, photos, press releases, social links, etc.), and offer them several options for fulfilling your request (an interview, a blog post, a contest, etc.).
Remember, influencers are people too. Talking to them as such while offering them great content that is of value to their audience is a surefire way to get your brand in front of the people you want to reach most.