As a blogger I’m sure there’s nothing you’d love more than to get in front of the audience of an influencer. I know from my own experience it’s exciting to get in their circles and it also helps build an audience. Here’s a few ways I've been able to do it.
Ask, Implement, Report
This is a super simple strategy that works almost every time. It involves asking for advice, implementing the advice and reporting back. I did this recently with a very well known entrepreneur, who has been responsible for marketing more than a few a few brands that are household names in our circles (let’s call him Noah cause that’s his name).
All you have to do is ask for advice, implement the advice and report back.
Influencers have one thing in common, they get thousands of people emailing them asking for advice. And out of those people who they give advice to, as Noah said to me ‘Hardly anyone follows through”.
So I attended a lunch with Noah a few months ago got a bunch of advice about how to market my WordPress startup WP Curve.
I took Noah’s advice, and implemented everything that worked for me. Then I sent him this:
I wanted to update you on the action I've taken on advice you gave me. I saw your Creative Live session with Tim Ferriss and realized a lot of people probably don't follow through.
We've signed up 8 more customers since the lunch in Brissie which is cool. We've also refined our customer profile. We've decided to target female solo founders who are part of paid entrepreneur communities. A good chunk of our clients are already in this crowd. They know enough about WordPress to be dangerous, they have proven they will pay recurring fees, they are easy enough for us to get to and they need help when things break. On top of that we are finding they love WP Curve and are proactively raving about us on Facebook etc. They also make good customers.
We are making a list of people who run these communities or have this audience and we are starting to target them by offering them content for their audience etc. We've also got 24 affiliates now and quite a few of them are in this sort of crowd.
Thanks mate just thought I'd follow up on the lunch, have fun in NZ.
Noah has been an amazing support, helping introduce us to more of these influencers.
Look for opportunities to relate with online influencers
If you are going to get the attention of an influencer, they will have to have a reason to speak with you. They just simply don’t have the time to help everyone, so you have to stand out. One way is to find opportunities to relate to them and for them to relate to you.
Here’s an email I sent to a very well known entrepreneur called Erica.
I just read your Sh*t hits the fan article – wow amazing story, I had no idea all of that was going on.
Brennan Dunn introduced us a few months ago, you might remember my start up inform.ly – I actually wrote a post titled ‘Is startup validation bullshit?' about it's failure over the last 11 months. Something about sh*t in a headline just works!
That biz is still ticking over but unfortunately, it's not going to change the world (yet). My latest venture, WP Curve is having a lot of success however. We offer 24/7 support for maintenance and small WP fixes from $69 per month. We were ramen profitable in 23 days, which is a welcome change.
MarketVibe sounds very interesting! If you think there’s any way we can help each other there I’d love to chat on Skype. If you are recommending site changes for people it sounds like there might be something. We have a white label and affiliate offering which could be suitable.
Thanks Erica, all the best with MarketVibe.
Erica replied and I chatted to her for 2 hours and she changed the course of our business.
Jump on opportunities to help
One of the main challenges with connecting with influencers is how you can help them. If you can figure out a way to help them, then you are in. But how on earth do you help a seasoned entrepreneur with an audience 100x the size of yours?
It may not be clear at first but the trick is to jump on any opportunity that you see. Here are a few ways that I’ve done it:
- In the example above, Erica was very interested in learning more about my failed product so I made sure I sent her a long and detailed analysis of it.
- Influencers often tweet out when they need something. They will get spammed with replies but take the opportunity to email them directly with something that stands out, something that they can relate to and make them a compelling offer.
- When Noah was coming to Brisbane I sent him an analysis of the Taco scene in Australia (he loves tacos). I don’t know if he needed it, but I’m sure no one else at the lunch made the effort to do it. I’d be surprised if anyone has even followed up with him.
- We’ve had other people who wanted some help with WordPress that we’ve provided for free. If you can offer your service for free, then this could help (money is rarely a big motivator for influencers, but it does remove some friction).
Do a lot of little things
Replying to one tweet is unlikely to get the attention of an influencer.
In all likelihood you will have to do a bunch of little things. As always, look for opportunities to stand out and help. Here are some examples:
- If they have a podcast, they’d love an iTunes review.
- Comment on their blog with the best, most researched, most informed comment for that post. Don’t stress if they don’t reply. They’ll read it. Disagree with them if you want, that can work too.
- Even better than this, comment on someone else’s blog and mention them. If you can send them a backlink they might see it (if they have pingbacks or google alerts on). But you can always just email them and tell them.
- If you see something that helps them, let them know. This could be another company in their space, an article that they might like etc.
- If they have a business, become a customer and send them an unsolicited review. They will love it. A few years ago I got James Schramko’s attention by doing this unsolicited review of his product Traffic Grab. Not only did James appreciate the unsolicited review but it stood out because I’m sure I was the only non-affiliate to take the time to promote his product.
- If you can send them traffic then do so. If they are a blogger they will regularly look at their referrers. You can send them traffic by writing a post about them or better still emailing your list with a link to their site or their recent article.
- Find out where they hang out and hang out there as well. Forums can be great, social media, Facebook groups, local meetups etc. Obviously if you have something legitimately in common with them then this helps. Be prepared to ‘pay to play’ – it’s an investment and it’s a business expense – so why not?
- Send them customers. Sending people traffic is one thing but if you can prove that you can influence purchasing decisions then you are at a totally different level. If you can send customers to them make sure they know about it and ideally don’t ask for any affiliate commissions (it will help you stand out).
- If they have a blog write a guest post for them, and make sure it’s your best work.
How did you connect with an online influencer?
Let me know if you’ve had success connecting with an influencer and how you went about it. Also if you have any questions about this please reply and I’ll answer them.