A recent Tomoson poll revealed that “businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.” Not only that, marketers rate influencer marketing as their fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method, above organic search and email marketing.
Influencer marketing is the fastest growing customer-acquisition method among online marketers. It makes sense when you review the benefits…
One share from an influencer can massively impact your traffic. Participation from just one big-name influencer can give your roundup post, podcast or interview series a ton of traction. Suddenly, other industry leaders are eager to contribute. After all, they want to be seen in the same “category” as Big Name Influencer. And having a personal relationship with influencers can significantly boost your own credibility. Which means you can get more subscribers and followers with less effort.
Outreach matters, obviously. But it’s critical to do it right. The key is to understand that outreach isn’t about getting what you need as quickly as possible. It’s about taking the time to turn big-name influencers into long-term friends. In a moment, we’ll review Dmitry’s process for doing just that. But first…
Why influencer outreach matters
Interestingly, these are the words we use most often when talking about marketing. We tend to think that’s what we’re doing when we offer free content such as lead magnets, webinars or video training.
And in the link building emails I get, I’m sure the sender thinks his compliment in the opening line is a value-add that gets my attention.
But when it comes to outreach, more personal approach is recommended. You have to slow the pace so you can build a deeper, more authentic relationship — which, in the long run, will benefit you more.
Remember, whether you’re asking for a link,coverage or a mention, that person doesn’t know you at all. When you’re drafting your outreach email, ask yourself, “Would I actually say this to a person if I saw them at a conference? Would I walk up to a person I don’t know and make an immediate pitch?”
The key to influencer outreach is to begin the virtual relationship in the same way you would a live relationship: start with common ground, talk about them, let them tell you what they need. By giving value before you ask for anything in return, you’ve got a much higher chance of getting what you want. Now let’s look at the influencer outreach framework that works:
Always start with a goal in mind. What action would you like the influencer to take? Why do you want to connect with him or her?
You won’t necessarily start the conversion with your goal, but you need to have a legitimate reason for reaching out.
The type of person you choose to reach out to depends on your goals. If you want publicity, look for a journalist. If you want a product review, look for a content marketer or blogger who does reviews. For a celebrity mention, find a celebrity who is involved in your industry or respected within your niche.
Where do you find these people?
You can search for influencers manually in forums such as Reddit and Quora, or through HelpAReporter, Twitter or ProfNet queries. Or through tools designed for the purpose, such as JustReachOut, Mailshake (formerly ContentMarketer.io) and Ninja Outreach.
Once you’ve identified an influencer, you need to do some research. Learn as much as you can about what they’re doing and look for ways to help them.
Most outreach emails follow a word-for-word template.
Big mistake! To get an influencer’s attention, you need to be human. Be yourself. And before hitting “send,” review your email carefully to be sure it sounds authentic.
But before trying to craft your email, you need to clarify two things:
- Your value offer. What’s in it for them? Make sure you offer more value than you ask in return.
- Your pitch. Find a point of intersection, then add credibility. Your offer has to be meaningful to them.
The structure is recommended to be as follows:
- Introduce yourself. Tell them who you are
- Identify a point of intersection. Something you’ve both said or someone you both know. You can be creative, but it needs to be genuine.
- Add a bit of credibility. In other words, why you’re worth talking to about this topic.
- Make an offer. It should be something that adds value to the recipient, so they feel comfortable responding.
Following up (the right way)
- Don’t be aggressive.
- Don’t lose patience.
- Don’t push for immediate results.
Your focus should be on adding value over time, not immediately achieving your goal. It’s critical to slow down your time frame so the relationship can evolve naturally. You need to hold off asking for anything until you’ve built trust and reciprocity.
Adopting a value-first mindset
Influencer outreach isn’t easy. It takes patience and perseverance — and a commitment to giving at least as much as you receive. The key is to start now, before you need an influencer, so the value exchange is already in your favor.
If you wait until the last minute to begin your outreach campaign, you’ve put yourself in the position of needing results quickly. Then you’ll do everything wrong.
That being the case, don’t tack outreach onto the end of your campaigns or content promotion. You need to be building and nurturing relationships all the time.
The bottom line
Too often as content marketers, we’re focused on creating quality content, scheduling social media and doing a lot of technical tasks for promotion. In many cases, moving quickly from one task to another is how you get results.
Influencer outreach is just the opposite. For success, you need to slow your pace, focus on the people you’re contacting and help them reach their goals.
It may look like a distraction or a low-ROI activity. In reality, it’s an investment that can pay huge dividends down the road.