Your audience’s most reliable sources of information come from word of mouth and peer recommendations, and industry influencers lead the pack in both of these categories. In order for you to successfully generate credibility and authority, you’ll need the support of influencers in your field. But how will influencers ever hear your voice among their thousands of followers?
The rise of social technology has killed old-school networking techniques. Gone are the days of press releases and mass emails. Now, to find and build relationships with key influencers, you’ll need to learn the most modern networking tactics. Here you’ll find the four most effective tactics for reaching out and developing mutually beneficial relationships with your industry’s top influencers!
Find the right influencers
Before you start creating valuable relationships with influencers, you’ll need to find the ones with the most reach and influence. Moz’s tool, Open Search Engine (OSE), enables you to instantly research a website’s value. You’ll be able to find any site’s domain authority, number of backlinks and overall quality. Use OSE to validate your desired influencer relationships — this will help you avoid wasting time building relationships with individuals who won’t be able to provide you value.
Another valuable influencer research tool is BuzzSumo. Use BuzzSumo to find the most shared articles in your industry on social media. The sources with the most shares will be the individuals with the greatest reach and influence. Once you have a list of high-quality influencers to create relationships with, move on to the next relationship-building tactics.
Comment on blog posts
Commenting on an influencer’s blog is one of the best ways to get the influencer’s attention. Most of the time, they’ll even respond personally to your comments. This is a great way to get your foot in the door, but don’t rush into asking for favors! Take your time, post frequently and provide useful insights and information for the influencer and his or her audience.
Work on developing a quality relationship before asking an influencer to share your post or product with their audience. Trying to sneak links into your comments or adding worthless contributions is a surefire way to kill a relationship before it even starts.
“You need to build relationships in natural ways. Just pretend like you’re talking with a friend face-to-face rather than with some unknown person on the internet,” said Thomas Sumrak, the SEO manager at LendingTree.
Think about it. You know the individuals in your audience who comment most frequently on your blog posts — you respect these individuals and respond to them fully and promptly. Expect influencers to react the same way to you as you work to add value to each of their blog posts.
Feature influencers on your blog posts first
Feature influencers on your own blogs and social media accounts before asking an influencer to feature you. Consider different ways you could add value to your audience while involving an influencer:
- Write a blog post featuring an influencer or their product or service
- Create a list: “Best of”, “Top tips”, etc. and link to your influencer
- Do a Q&A interview with an influencer and publish the interview as a blog post
- Quote the influencer in your post
When you take the initiative and help an influencer, they’ll usually return the favor. It’s the Golden Rule of the internet: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Here is an example of how I built a relationship with Tony Gentilcore using this strategy. After featuring Tony in my top 25 health and fitness tips article, I sent him this email. Although Tony has hundreds of thousands of followers, Tony appreciated the value and responded.
This simple correspondence helped us to break the ice, and now Tony knows and respects my blog. Building powerful relationships with influencers doesn’t start with what the influencer can do for you, but what you can do for the influencer.
Harness the power of social media
Social media provides you with an invaluable way to communicate with influencers. Every platform has its own unique tools you can use to connect with influencers and build relationships.
Use Twitter and Facebook to like, comment, share and retweet influencers’ posts. Don’t take this overboard to stalker status, but show that you regularly follow and share the influencer’s content. If you share and comment on an influencer’s posts daily, there’s no way they won’t notice you in at least a few days or weeks.
You can also use Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other social media platforms to find and connect with influencers. Make sure you follow the culture codes and general rules of each platform when interacting with individuals.
The best way to build credibility and authority in your industry is by gaining the trust and endorsement of the top influencers. By finding the right influencers and networking in the right ways, you’ll break through the noise and jump on influencers’ radars. Once you begin to establish mutually beneficial relationships, you’ll see your traffic and reach grow faster than ever before.
Jesse Sumrak is a public relation’s student at Brigham Young University. When he’s not out competing in ultramarathons, Jesse is helping individuals get post-apocalyptic survival fit with his fitness website, Fallout Fitness. He likes to spend his free time exploring the world with his wife and looking for new adventures.