Making connections with influencers isn’t just for fashion blogs and trendy Instagram accounts.
You’ll need a ‘way in’ no matter who you are or where you’re going.
Whether you’re looking to write for big publications, get a boost to your social shares, improve your SEO, or just get on the radar of a blogger with a big following, you’re going to need to start somewhere.
In this post, I’m going to go through the process I used to write for TechCrunch, get guest blogging slots, and build relationships with social media personalities. It all boils down to a repeatable process with just a few points, and takes very little time or effort.
Let’s get into it…
A few steps before you get started
We’re all blinded by what we already know,
An easy way to find influencers is to use Buzzsumo’s Twitter influencer search. By typing in a keyword relevant to your niche, you can find editors, bloggers, and broadcasters that you can leverage to get more exposure. Alternatively, you can find publications in your niche and then find who’s responsible for content submissions and editing there.
Since this is a social-focused technique, the next step is to follow the influencer on Twitter and add them to a Twitter list.
Now, add their RSS feed to your feed reader so you can keep up to date with what they’re writing:
Now you’re set to get on with the rest of the process.
Retweet two of the influencer’s articles
The first part of the interactions after getting started is to retweet two articles. This should be done over time, either with Buffer to Buffer the retweet, or manually by checking back.
To stand out, you can even add a comment inside the retweet, like above. The more you say to start a conversation, the better the outcome will eventually be, and the faster you’ll get to a comfortable stage where you can reach out personally and offer help / make an ask.
Leave two comments on their blog posts
The comments section is an excellent place to interact with bloggers. It’s their home turf, and every blogger loves getting comments and responding to them because it means their work is being read and they’re not just writing into the void. Even if they get a lot of comments already, more can’t ever hurt. Especially if you say something more worthwhile than other people.
Make sure you:
- Add value to the post (explain how you’ve tried similar methods, or share some of your own experience)
- Encourage a response (by asking a follow-up question)
- Say thanks!
- Sound like a real person
Here’s an example of a great blog comment made for relationship building:
Overall, a thoughtful, conversation-starting response is the most important thing.
Since you’re subscribed via RSS, you can easily keep to date with what’s being posted and just take a little time in the mornings to read it on your phone and comment.
Share two of their articles on different platforms
I don’t often get my work shared on LinkedIn, but when I do it’s usually by someone who’s got an active following there and I remember the occasion because my Twitter feed is flooded, but my LinkedIn notifications update only rarely.
The people who interact with me on LinkedIn stand out, and that’s a tactic you can try too.
Like before I mentioned how you can Buffer retweets so they don’t go out all at once, you can do the same thing with social shares across multiple platforms. Buffer connects to Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.
The influencer could be grateful you’re sharing their content on a platform where they don’t have as much presence.
Send a personal email with an offer and a request
Do you know the most important factor that goes into an influencer deciding whether or not they’ll open your emails?
The name of the sender is the most important factor to 64% of respondents, so if they recognize your name as ‘the person who I had a great conversation on Twitter with’, they’re way more likely to feel obliged to open and respond to your email.
When Alex from Groove tried to build an ‘inner circle’ of influencers to help promote his content, he found that a good way to get shares and exposure was to ask for the influencers’ opinion on the draft of a blog post in an email like this one:
Alternatively, if you’re reaching out to a journalist, you might want to try an email like this one:
Dmitry from JustReachOut.io has compiled a list of 26 cold email templates, which he says he’s used each one of to take his career to the next level at some point, and for requesting an interview with an influencer, he suggests using this one:
Your next steps…
To make it simple, I’ve compiled an SOP you can run to do influencer outreach here. Make sure you’ve compiled a list of 10-15 influencers, and that you run one checklist for each influencer and work through the list.
Using that method, you’ll find you get more followers on social media, more shares, better placement for guest posts, and more backlinks.
And it all starts with a little work on social media, so I’d say the reward is fair for the work put in!
Have you tried any similar methods or checklists? Let me know in the comments.