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How Targeting Influencers Can Sky Rocket Your Blog

This is a guest contribution from Rebecca Price, marketing specialist currently working for Davpack.

Have you ever sat in front of your computer, looking at other people’s blogs, and thought: “How the hell have you managed to be so successful so quickly?”

I know I have.

For a long time, I just couldn’t figure out the secret; it often seemed like I was close, but it was always just out of reach.

Then I stumbled on a book called ‘Influence Marketing’ by Danny Brown and Sam Fiorella.

That was the answer – market influencers.

Why is this so powerful?

Instead of starting off from scratch with no blog readers, traffic or any sign of engagement, you put a strategy in place to connect with influencers and get them to promote and share your content to their already established audience.

Of course, there is a bit more to it than that…

In this post I’m going to show you how to expand your reach, increase your audience, get more social shares, become an industry influencer and attract more traffic to your blog.

Finding industry influencers

If you have been operating within your niche/industry for a while, then you will probably have a good idea who the key influencers are and, while they should certainly be on your list of targets, don’t forget the ‘new rising stars’.

These people can potentially carry a lot of weight and your list should never be limited to just a few influencers. This works best at scale.

You will need to put together a list of your target influencers and there are some key pieces of information about them that you should keep track of:

  • Their name
  • Their contact information
  • Their location (potentially a good conversation starter!)
  • Links to their social profiles
  • Links to their blog and any other sites they own
  • What topics they like to blog about
  • What topics they like to share

You could use a CRM or, alternatively, an OpenOffice or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet will also do the trick.

I could write an entire post on finding influencers alone, and a lot have. There are also some awesome presentations floating around on Slideshare, like this one by Wishpond:

Tools to help you

I won’t go into too much depth now about individual tools, as the subject has already been covered in some depth; you can find all of the tools to help you right here.

Don’t rely entirely on tools to do all of the work for you, for while there are some extremely powerful tools that can give you most of the answers – the human element is important.

Computers are getting smarter and so are the algorithms that they use, but there are opportunities that they can miss.

A few things to remember

This entire strategy hinges on building a positive relationship with influencers and, if you go about things in the wrong way, then you could just end up wasting your time.

And your time is valuable. Don’t waste it.

Be helpful and courteous when you are dealing with anyone, not just influencers. There will always be people that waste your time and take the wet, but give them a chance; but know when it’s time to walk away.

Whatever you do, NEVER email someone or ask them via social to do something for you out of the blue.

You will eventually need to ask an influencer to do something for you, but there needs to be a clear benefit, and you must have done something awesome for them beforehand (and they need to know about it).

So, before you ask anyone to do something for you, you need to ask yourself – “what’s in it for them?”

You have to come across as authentic and credible – being real is your greatest asset.

Avoid burning bridges at all costs. Relationships are difficult to repair once you have destroyed them.

Building the relationship

Now that we’ve laid the ground rules, it’s time to start building your relationship with influencers in your niche:

Making things easy for yourself

You’ve got your list of your target influencers and their social profiles, so now it’s time to go ahead and follow them across as many as possible.

Another way to make things easy for yourself is to keep right up to date with what’s happening on your target influencers’ blogs.

So make sure you subscribe to their mailing lists if they have them and subscribe to their RSS feeds too. After Google Reader closed, I started using Feedly but recently switched to Netvibes in favour of their iGoogle style RSS reader – either are solid RSS readers that will help you keep on top of things. 

Commenting works wonders

Try commenting on the blog of an influencer you’re targeting and do it regularly – it works wonders, especially if they respond to comments. You may find that commenting on Facebook statuses and Google+ updates can work equally well, if not even better.

Drop them an email

At this early stage, you could also drop them an email, but if you do, don’t ask them to help you out at all. You need to warm up to that.

Instead, say something awesome and highlight something awesome you have done for them, like share a piece of content etc.

Connect through multiple social platforms

Facebook

Make sure you have the same display picture throughout all of your social profiles – consistency is important and it makes you easier to recognise.

Start off by following the influencers on Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook and whatever other social networks they are active on.

Create a separate circle on Google+ for influencers and a list on Twitter, too – people love it when they’re referred to as a market influencer. It’s quite flattering and great for grabbing their attention, because a lot of influencers don’t actually think of themselves as influencers.

Your next step is to start sharing their content, but there is an important part of the process that a lot of people forget – tell them about it!

The idea of this is that when you do something awesome for someone, they know about it, or at least you do whatever you can to let them know.

So, when you Tweet their content, @mention them and add some positive commentary. Do a similar thing with Google+ and Facebook too.

You can also take things a step further by sharing quotes and making sure the influencer you have quoted knows about it.

Involve influencers in your content

Grab the attention of your target influencers by involving them in the content that you create.

This can be as simple as linking out to them and saying some awesome stuff about them in a regular blog post or an industry round-up – or it could go so far as to involve them directly in a group interview.

The point here is that when influencers are involved directly in a blog post, they are more invested and therefore more likely to share.

Here are a few examples:

Kikolani

In September, Kristi Hines published a group interview which involved 32 experts who shared their best blog post promotion tips. This post featured 600+ Tweets, 245+ FB likes, 448+ Google+1’s and 180+ Linkedin shares. The post also earned links from over 50 referring domains.

Earlier this year, Blurbpoint.com published a roundup of over 101 SEO experts which also did rather well and received 375+ Tweets, 438+ Google+1’s, 230+ FB Likes and 145+ Linkedin shares. This group interview also earned links from over 30 domains.

These are examples of influencer marketing at scale – these types of posts do take a lot of time to produce, but they attract a lot of eyeballs to your blog, and the fact you have included these participants in an ‘expert round-up’ is quite flattering. Doing great things for people can make great things happen.

The use of social media is a big part of this whole influencer marketing thing, and there are a number of things you can do to get more results using social that I talk about here.

Write for influencers

I guess we could call this guest posting, but there are certain connotations that come along with that word and some people do assume that the focus is on the SEO benefit, but here’s where it’s different.

Sure, you could go around guest posting to build links to your site, people do it and it’s fine, because it will still help you at least from an SEO perspective if you do it right, although you do need to do a lot of it.

The SEO benefit here is a secondary consideration, because the whole idea of writing for influencers within your niche is to expand your audience and reach.

It’s also to get your name out there and help to position yourself as an authority.

Your ultimate goal should be to join the ranks of influencers within your niche, but why? Well, having influence is a great thing and then other bloggers will do awesome stuff for you too.

It all starts off with blogger outreach, which is an extensive topic itself; there are plenty of courses out there, like Jon Morrow’s guest blogging course, while Ian Cleary wrote a great guide that you can find here.

Summary

Marketing your content to influencers within your niche can be a powerful way to not only get more traffic to your blog, but you will also get more social shares, expand your audience and increase your own influence too – you will soon find you’re on your way to becoming an authority.

You can do it, I believe in you.

What other tactics do you use to get traffic to your blog?

Rebecca Price is a marketing specialist currently working for Davpack. Rebecca’s specialty is helping businesses become more visible online.

Photo Credit: Spencer E Holtaway via Compfight cc

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Comments

  1. Drewry says:

    one thing I learned in the world of affiliate marketing and blogging is to meaningfully build relationships with people from all walks of life and careers. I network heavily today on Facebook and LinkedIn with people from news networks, oil and gas industry, credit card companies, US government, private sector employees and million-dollar affiliate marketers. Some of these people mention my site and link out to me, which is definitely a good thing for increasing positive online reputation. I can totally relate to what you’re saying in this blog post Darren, because networking with the right people alongside keeping your blog updated daily with fresh content helps to achieve long-term online marketing objectives and a shorter time frame, especially when you have good relationships with people online.

  2. Daryl says:

    Definitely 100% agree – using influencers or “thought leaders” is a surefire way of maximizing the effectiveness and reach of your content. The truth is, that many of the top people in your particular niche will be more than happy for you to write for them or share your content once you aren’t overly pushy and do it in a friendly manner!

    Relationship marketing is truly one of the most powerful tools available to up and coming bloggers!

  3. Great article, Rebecca. Thanks for sharing our slideshare on how to find industry influencers!
    I’ve recently written an ebook on Influence Marketing, and how you can reach out to your influencers – leading, middle and customers – to drive traffic to your blog. It will be available soon from Wishpond… http://corp.wishpond.com/ebooks

    Influence marketing is a massively powerful method of getting your content amplified to your target audience. Thanks for the article Rebecca, and for publishing it, ProBlogger.

  4. Kerry Jones says:

    This is a great guide to building relationships with influencers, Rebecca!

    I think most people need to just get over the fear of hearing “no” or being ignored. I’m always amazed by the generosity of bloggers, even the bigger names. If you’re targeting influencers who are relevant to your content/product/cause/whatever, most are happy to do what they can to help you out.

  5. This is so true the most important thing I ever learned while starting to blog is that you are only as good as those you know. Now that doesn’t mean you have to personally know/stalk all the experts ! But it does help to study them,read them,and then eventually interact with them.Building relationship and a community for your blog does more than any social network or promotional scheme ever could! I like the advice of finding the rising stars and talking to them its kinda of like getting on the ground floor of a business.thanks for the advice

  6. Hi Rebecca. One of my strategies for 2014 is to find additional influencers to interact with, to be a little more systematic about it. I already interact with many influencers just because of what comes naturally, but that hit-and-miss approach is exactly that hit AND miss. So for 2014, a little more hitting and a little less missing. :-)

  7. Mike D says:

    I agree 100%…

    Without networking… It’s impossible for the small guy to win.

    Not only do I try to communicate with the “big” guys… But also the small guys. :)

    One of the things I do with EVERY blog post?

    Promote my social media profiles.

  8. Drew says:

    Love your article and I have to agree on the point of connecting. It is a daunting task that may seem to have a very small conversion but is can results in a huge payoff. If they are aware and share your content or give you a small mention it can prove to be a huge boost in the right direction.

  9. Mo Mastafa says:

    Hi Rebecca, some very interesting points.

    I totally agree, the main thing is always lead with “a helping hand, not asking for a hand out”.

    Always look for ways to add value to others, without any expectation of return. The rest is just details.

    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Lindsay says:

    I am fairly new to the blogging world but I find articles like this very interesting. Thank you for sharing these tips Rebecca.

  11. Hi Rebecca,

    Thank you for sharing this great post! I do agree, that targeting influencers can help you with your success. A lot of the things I know about online marketing I have learn from the top bloggers. Great post! :-)

    • sameer says:

      Hi nancy,
      I am agree with you targeting influencers really help you with your success.And also online marketing is very important.

  12. Thanks for the article. Developing a relationship with influencers can bring rich rewards. They can allow you to put links in your comments, teach you how they do their stuff etc. I however prefer up and coming Internet marketers.

  13. Yaisa Hagood says:

    This article has been very helpful. I connect with many influencers in my niche on several social media sites. The relationship is genuine and there is often frequent interaction but I have never thought of how we could form a mutually beneficial relationship until reading this article.

  14. John Locke says:

    Targeting influencers is a long term strategy that pays dividends later. The key is to be genuine and not expect things in return. Building the relationship should be the first goal. It is difficult to reach people’s radar at first; influencers generally have a lot of people vying for their attention. Part of this strategy should also be creating and teaching within your own sphere of influence.

  15. very well written article Rebecca….this concept will surely sky rocket your blog…as this content will target the audience directly and will create more interest in them regarding your blog and that thing will also make you to gain social shares and promotion…and soon you will also become an influencer….

    It is really a nice idea to ponder over it and this is something which I have lost somewhere in my mind..
    so that will be surely gonna hit my blog for sure

    Thanks for sharing !!

    -Jefrey

  16. Exceptional post here!

    Though the online world is “different” in many respects, building relationships online is extremely similar to building relationships offline. Rarely would one ever walk up to a complete stranger, out of the blue, and just ask for something. An approach like that would likely be greeted with a smerk, a potential roll of the eyes, and a cold shoulder as the approached individual walks away a bit dumb-founded. Like building a business, I think relationships also have to be built, and fostered, over time.

    I’ve had some great experiences with this, and doing so really wasn’t all that complicated or confusing. It really just meant getting beyond myself and identifying creatives ways to give back people. From the one-person shop work-at-home blogger, to top tier corporate execs and CEOs, I firmly believe that all humans have the innate desire to continually have their own egos stroked. Even millionaires, despite all their successes and achievements in life, still like to occasionally have the feeling that others think highly of them. Noone likes to be seen in a negative light, and, likewise, those people absolutely love it when you speak highly of them, their endeavors/businesses/projects/etc.

    On one occasion, I wrote a product review that caught the attention of a fairly large company. I wrote honestly, from the heart, but with undeniable passion that was hard to ignore. They could tell I had personally used one of their products, and they LOVED hearing my take on the product. They went ahead and, even without me knowing it, posted a link to my review on their Facebook page. The internet is filled with people launching great businesses simply because they GIVE incessantly to others. They give…give….and then give some more. Like a brilliant tactician, they near seamlessly infiltrate the fan bases of some of the largest brands/companies/entrepreneurs out there. John Lee Dumas–a fellow U.S. Army officer, btw–did just this with his awesome podcasts.

    Read up on the guy sometime. It is SICK what he is doing. He reaches conducts podcast interviews with top tier entrepreneurs, then gracefully and professionally asks them to share those podcasts with their fan bases–some, with Facebook fan pages of upwards of 10K-100K+ fans! Wanting their brand reinforced, and their ego stroked, of course, they do it. I believe he even use a simple form letter to do this, which basically means he just wrote one letter, one time, and sends it out whenever he reaches that juncture in a relationship.

    Once again…awesome post! Thanks, Rebecca!

  17. This post is just what I needed to read! I was wondering what else I could do to get my blog noticed. Regular content is working slowly, and I knew I needed to network to speed it up, but your tips and tricks clarified what I need to do. Thanks! I’m going to tweet about it and post the link on Facebook to share it with my followers and friends.

  18. Rihsam says:

    Interesting article with lots of new ideas and strategies. Thank you Rebecca

  19. MuthuKumar says:

    Thanks Rebecca,
    Another worthy points about targeted influencers will sky rocket our blog.

  20. Excellent article, Rebecca. Loved all the links and examples. Kept me busy for ages!

  21. Tamar says:

    Interesting post. Thanks Rebecca
    Useful tactics that I can use for my blog

  22. Really good article. Since I’ve been following some of these steps I’ve also found that I’ve “connected” with others who comment on certain blogs and these connections have helped extensively with increasing my traffic. Has anyone else had this experience?

  23. Great post, Rebecca!

    I think connecting with the experts and authorities of your blogging niche is very important and often crucial if you want to become more ‘viral’ in that niche. There does ly one major issues though… A lot of the authorities are making it difficult to connect with them. They are not accepting social profile friends, not answering their own email and so on. That is one thing I don’t ever want to do – put a middle man in between me and my readers.

  24. Erin says:

    This was a really great kick in the pants for me this morning. Being fairly new to this, the process of connecting and networking via social platforms is a little daunting; particularly when you are trying to produce good blog content. Still working on that balance. Thanks, Rebecca, this gives me new motivation and more ideas! And, Luke, it’s good to hear that those connections increased your traffic. I’ll just keep on chugging right along…

  25. A great post for reference, like a New Year’s resolution. When I post and link to places or businesses I send them an email with the post link just to give a head’s up. If they write back it starts an interesting conversation.

    Thanks for the add ons Rebecca,

  26. Ryan says:

    I’ve seen this used for quite a few new blogs and the results are usually pretty good. Rather than having people just stumble on your blog it’s like shining a bright light on it in front of a huge, related audience. Definitely a great strategy.

  27. this is a great article. It really gave me some action points to work on. I always think these big influencers are out of my reach, but this gives me the courage to really reach out to them to grow my blog.

  28. Reginald says:

    Hi Rebecca,

    Okay, this post blows me away. Well done and thank you for sharing such a detailed post! Probably the best I have read this week. I can’t agree more with your intro. It always felt sooooo close but yet so far. Yes, I am (just like many) on my way there and hopefully, I see the bright side soon.

    Thanks for such a great post. What else? Deserve a share of course!
    ~Reginald

  29. Tom Murphy says:

    Great post. As I read this, I was already formulating plans in my mind on how to improve influence for clients. Now the key will be execution but a clear roadmap is provided here and this is valuable knowledge. Thanks for putting this together.

  30. Alexa says:

    I think that talent also matters much. Hard and strategically correct work is great, of course, but it won’t spin without talent.

  31. Sanket Patel says:

    Thanks Rebecca for mentioning my 101+ survey post. My aim is to make this content as a useful resource to all digital marketers. I hope you find it useful. Your post is also good piece of content.

  32. Thanks for writing this great article! It inspires me and I think starting from here is the first step to utilizing this amazing guide.

  33. Seovolución says:

    Amazing article! it helps me a lot! thanks!

  34. Reshu says:

    Hi Rebecca! Nice post. You’re right! Influencer marketing is a great way to amplify your brand’s reach. So it’s very important to identify your influencers and know what they like talking about. But, before approaching them you should take these factors into consideration:

    1) Don’t act in haste: Before introducing yourself and your business try to build a relationship with them by following them, retweeting and liking their articles.
    2) When communicating with them make sure you are using a positive tone.
    3) Before asking anything in return establish close relationship with them and give them a reason to promote your content.

    TIP: Participate in your industry related events this will give you a chance to meet influencers personally.