By Joe Elliott
Are you fed up with being ignored by influential people in your niche?
Does every email you send seem to be fall into the darkest depths of the digital ether?
Do you find yourself hopefully checking your email inbox anyway, patiently waiting for that magic reply?
Well, unless the email monster is back again, it looks like you could use some help building connections with influencers.
The biggest problem I see in this area is people who go in cold.
How would you like it if some random person came to your door and started telling you their life story?
But if you already knew a bit about the person, you might be more tempted to listen. Let’s say you’d actually read their content and seen their name around.
This would make you more likely to become a part of their community and more disposed to build a relationship.
After all, friends like to help friends!
And in that spirit, I’m going to share with you my top ten ways to build powerful connections with influential bloggers in your niche.
1. Get an introduction from a mutual connection
How many people do you know in your industry?
Are you part of any groups that are focused on your niche?
Take stock of all the people you know in a professional capacity and see if they share a connection with an influencer you are trying to get in contact with.
Being introduced is the easiest and most ‘organic’ way to get noticed.
Imagine being at a party with a friend where you know nobody. You might feel pretty awkward, but you can rely on the fact that people will start smiling at and talking to you because you have a mutual connection.
Think of digital marketing as one big party where using your existing network to meet new people is key.
When you are introduced to someone, you get a perfect opportunity to let your personality shine.
Don’t be shy – ask people who already know you in your industry for an introduction to the people you want to connect with.
2. Use blog comments to gain their attention
If you have exhausted all your connections but no dice, try going directly to the source.
By this, of course, I mean the influencers’ blog. This is where they spend the majority of their time online. This is where they go to develop content, answer questions, look at metrics and check out stats.
Pick your favorite blog of theirs and actually read it. I don’t mean skim-read it, I mean read it word for word, start to finish.
Your task is to find a way to add value to the influencer’s blog post using the blog comments.
Can you add an extra insight to the comments?
What tips or experiences can you share?
Answer questions. If this is a guru blogger, then they will struggle to answer all the questions they get asked here. This is where you can sweep in and start answering other bloggers questions in the comments for them.
If you do it in a polite way and add value to the commentary, they will undoubtedly appreciate it.
Plus other people see you as a helpful person. It’s a win-win situation – you get noticed and you also get a little exposure!
3. Get to know them as much as possible
Do you know anything about this person?
Your answer should be yes!
You know they are an influencer in your niche.
You can learn more, though, because most bloggers make it super easy to get to know them on a deeper level.
Check out their About page. What does it tell you about their life?
Check out their social media profiles. Who do they follow? How active are they? How many connections do they have?
Read the stories they tell, and gather as much information about them as you can.
You can even tweet them or comment on their statuses.
Be specific, if you can. Let’s say you notice they are big cat lovers. If you have a cat, you could share a picture of it with them. This will show your personal side but also connect with them on a level outside of their business.
By making the blogger feel like you actually know them and care about them on a number of levels, you stand a much higher chance of being noticed by them. If and when they do reply, your job is to keep the conversation flowing.
Friendly conversations are much easier to remember than formal ones.
4. Share their content on social media
I touched on this above, but it’s worth going into depth as a standalone tactic to connect with an influencer.
It’s a fairly obvious way to try and get on someone’s radar, but most people are very lazy when they do it. It’s easy to add something to Buffer or to click a retweet button, but to really get noticed by your influencer crush, you need to stand out.
How about making a custom infographic for their post, then sharing a summary on social media? Tag them in your post, embed their link and you are good to go.
This sort of action shows the influencer that you care about them and the work they do. It takes a lot more time and thought to create a custom infographic than it does to hit a retweet button.
If you really want to stand out, you could even create a video that summarizes your favorite piece of their content. When you post it on Facebook, just tag them so that they see it, and don’t forget to thank them for creating it in the first place!
Again, this shows more commitment from you. You could run some paid ads with the post too. This will get more traffic for the influencer in question while boosting your exposure and making you appear more helpful!
5. Join their Facebook group or a group they’re a member of
A lot of big blogs have now started creating Facebook groups for their business. Joining one could help you connect with other like-minded people as well as put you right in front of the influencer.
You can help others in the group with the struggles they are facing by providing relevant advice, insights or commentary. Just make sure that you have read the page’s house rules and know what the influencer stands for.
If the blogger asks the group a question, get involved and provide a valuable answer.
Some bloggers will even let you share your own content once in a while.
6. Feature the influencer on your own blog
When you link to somebody’s website, they automatically get pinged on their WordPress comments dashboard. It also supplies them with your link so that they can visit and see how you have linked to them.
Big bloggers might miss these though, so it is best to always follow up with an email.
All you have to do is provide a quote from the influencer and then link back to their blog. Personally, I like to create a custom graphic and add a ‘click to tweet’ button.
A lot of people use outbound linking nowadays, and by putting this extra effort in, you can really stand out.
Just remember that both inbound and outbound links should always add value to your content and for your audience. This tactic should not just be about getting noticed and it shouldn’t affect your audience’s experience.
However, if you are partly doing this to get noticed, it may be beneficial to feature them on a guest post. The blog you are posting on should be more authoritative than your own. This adds more value to the person you are quoting.
They will get more traffic, exposure or credibility from your guest post than they would on your blog at this stage.
I have actually created roundup posts on higher authority sites. This is a perfect way for you to get noticed as you are linking to them with an authoritative link which adds more ranking power for them.
Because it’s a roundup you are pulling in a handful of awesome influencers all at once.
7. Be their assistant on Facebook Live
Facebook Live is a great tool for getting right in front of an influencer because you can interact in real time and they can see your efforts straight away.
The problem is that a guru’s ‘live’ sessions tend to be packed full of fans and other marketers.
So how can you stand out? Is it all luck?
Nope, you can act as a helpful virtual assistant.
Live chats are usually so busy that there is no way one influencer can read all the questions or comments.
This is where you come in.
Get involved in the chat, answer questions and share links that the guru mentions.
Doing this gives you prime exposure, plus if you can keep your pace up, the influencer will be able to see all your hard work in real time.
8. Get noticed during a Twitter chat
Twitter chats are similar to Facebook Live, except that when you answer any question, you should mention the gurus @username.
This is just an added measure to ensure you get noticed by the influencer.
You could download TweetChat, a simple but powerful tool to quickly interact and reply to tweets in the chat. It gives you an added edge so that you can stay with the pace and get maximum exposure.
Use the same approach as you would playing virtual assistant on Facebook Live – be helpful, answer questions and share your own experience.
9. Review their products/services on your blog
Sometimes you don’t need to try hard to get in front of your favorite influencer. If they own a product or service, just buy it.
This changes your relationship in their eyes as you become a customer, and in my experience, customers have a much easier job getting attention from the influencer.
For example, if coaching is the service you purchase, then you are going to be working alongside the influencer directly.
If they offer something else that isn’t coaching, you can review the product or service. Don’t be boring and follow a crappy review template. Go into detail:
- What is it and why did you need it?
- How exactly did you use it?
- What benefits have you gotten from using the tool? Show proof!
- What would you like to be added to the product or range in the future?
- Were there any downsides?
- Can you provide a video walk-through or tutorial?
This type of review offers a lot of value to your audience and to the influencer.
When your post is live, you should share it with your email list first to get some social shares and comments. Then post about it on Facebook, tweet it, add it to LinkedIn or do whatever fits best with your content marketing strategy.
This will give the post some traction.
Once your post has gained a little traction, reach out to the influencer and tell them about your review.
They might actually have got the WordPress Ping about the new link already.
10. Be as helpful as you can
As you can probably see, the biggest takeaway from this post is to show how helpful you are. It doesn’t matter what option you take, just show the influencer that you want to help them and give them value.
When I reach out to people, I usually start with a simple little line… is there anything I can help you with?
This is best left for once you are at the emailing back-and-forth stage because by then they will have an idea of what you can do for them.
If they haven’t seen you write, why would they ask for your help to write a blog post?
If they need SEO help, why should they trust you?
You need to position yourself so that they already know what you are good at.
It doesn’t have to be a difficult undertaking to get noticed by the movers and shakers in your industry. Sure, you have to stand out amongst the hundreds of other people craving their attention, but there are clear tactics to do so successfully.
Always ask yourself, how can I add value to their lives and enrich this relationship further down the track?
Promote their content and be living social proof that their products/services work. It might take a few days, weeks or months, but eventually, they will take notice of you.
Oh, and once they have noticed you, that doesn’t mean your work is done. You are not giving to receive – you are giving to give more!
Reciprocity will kick in before you know it.
Now, tell me all about your experiences. Do you use influencer marketing for your blog? What struggles have you faced when connecting with influencers?
Guest Author: Joe Elliott is the founder of One Man Wiki, his blog that shares tips to help you kickstart your blog. If you are a new or struggling blogger his tips will show you how to get traction in no time at all. Take his exclusive free course that will show you how to leverage the power of influencers so you can skyrocket your traffic and subscribers.
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