How Influencer Outreach Can Revive Your Content Marketing Strategy

93% of all marketers say they do content marketing.

However, long-term sustainability continues to be a challenge. As more brands create content, experts like Mark Schaefer believe we are approaching “content shock.”

So, how do you break free from the noisy crowd and offer value to your readers?

Influencer outreach is one solution. This strategy is beneficial for relationship development, link building, and content promotion. Moreover, it helps your company exchange value with industry leaders and increase your awareness of future trends.

According to a Tomoson study, marketers rated influencer outreach “as the fastest-growing online customer acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search, and email marketing.”

Tomoson-Study

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Even though influencer marketing works, it’s a time-consuming process that often leaves the best content marketers burnt-out with inconsistent results.

But don’t be discouraged.

You can achieve your content marketing goals. Let’s learn how to effectively execute influencer outreach.

Find Your Purpose

In a gist, influencer outreach involves persuading influential leaders, even celebrities, to promote your brand.

This promotion takes many different forms, like sending tweets, creating videos, or wearing a T-shirt. Tiffany & Co. paid Anne Hathaway $750,000 to wear jewelry to the Oscars.

Don’t let that price tag scare away your marketing dreams. Some influencers are willing to promote your content for free.

To decide which influencer you should contact, start by creating some guidelines. Kristen Matthews of GroupHigh suggests qualifying influencers based on three criteria: content fit, reach, and engagement.

Creating this system lets you filter out who won’t be a good match for your brand. Plus, it requires you to research influencers, read their content, and actually determine if outreach makes sense.

Next, answer this question: how will the influencer benefit? People want to know what’s in it for them.

Will the influencer gain access to a new audience? Or receive promotional perks?

Influencers are busy and receive several requests each week. Wasting people’s time is a short route to a quick rejection.

Therefore, it’s important to set clear goals for your campaign. Be honest with the person, and don’t hide your true motives.

Develop Relationships

When conducting influencer outreach, marketers tend to get bogged down with tactics. They want more traffic, more likes, and more coverage. What they miss are the relationships.

A Facebook post doesn’t last forever. What will last are the relationships you create with influencers.

Your goal is to help others. Focus on bringing value to the relationship, not the brand.

Individuals are more likely to help people who help them. Influencers enjoy returning a favor.

Ask yourself: How can I contribute to the relationship?

Every influencer is different. Some may want to exchange tweets, while others may desire sponsorship.

Whatever you do, learn how to grow a mutually beneficial relationship.

For example, if your brand hosts a podcast, invite the person on-air. Audio platform Spreaker produces shows featuring major influencers, like Jared Easley, Sarah Van Mosel, and Chris Brogan.

“Adding value to your targets community and personal social channels, or publication will put you in favour but it is a full time job,” says Sharon Flaherty, Founder of BrandContent.

“But you can’t and shouldn’t automate the personal touch if you want to remain authentic and individual.”

When developing relationships, be personable. Avoid selling to the influencer.

Instead, offer information and insight. That’s how you show respect and gain people’s trust.

Build A Strategy

When conducting influencer outreach, create a strategy for your team. Understand when and how to connect with influencers.

Timing is important in the outreach process. If you want more responses, schedule your emails at the optimal time for the influencer.

To increase your conversion rates, search specialist Venchito Tampon recommends the following:

  • Schedule initial messages, replies, and follow up emails.
  • Connect on mid-weekdays, preferably Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Contact people during breakfast and lunch hours.

Personalization is vital when reaching out to people. No one likes generic messages.

When sending an email, address the influencer as a subject matter expert. Connect their knowledge to why you’re emailing them. To learn about their most recent interests, check their social media activity.

In addition, send requests, not demands. Your brand shouldn’t tell anyone to do anything. Keep the lines of communication open with friendly questions.

Again, influencer outreach involves relationship building. The image below offers more email tips.

sending-relationship-building-email

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No outreach campaign is perfect. In order to improve, your team must determine key performance metrics to monitor your progress.

If your focus is brand awareness, you may concentrate on website traffic and referral links. If you goal is to generate leads, you might measure form downloads or email subscriptions.

In any case, track the outcomes and make adjusts when necessary.

Select Your Tools

Okay, the planning is done. It’s time to execute your strategy. To help your team outreach efficiently, try a few of the tools listed here.

Buzzsumo

Having trouble finding influencers in your niche? One of the most effective tools is Buzzsumo.

buzzsumo-influencers-outreach

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Using any term or phrase, you can search for influencers in your industry. Then, filter the influencers by reach, authority, influence, and engagement.

And when you’re done researching, the tool lets you export all the results for use in other applications.

EmailHunter.co

It can be difficult to find influencers’ email addresses. Google searches can only do so much!

emailhunter-product

EmailHunter.co eliminates your email search stress. Just type in the company website and the tool generates a list of possible emails. It also offers an email pattern, like: {f}{last}@hubspot.com.

No more wasting time looking for contact information.

ContentMarketer.io

Feeling pressed for time? ContentMarketer.io lets your team promote content and build relationships within the easy-to-use platform.

Content-Marketer-io-screenshot

The tool helps you refine your list before you start outreach. Since it integrates with Google Apps, Gmail, and Twitter, you can send emails and tweets to your list all in one place.

Follow By Example

Need a little inspiration? Here are a few influencer outreach examples.

Zipkick

zipkick-scott-eddy

Twitter hosts several influential social powerhouses who reach millions of consumers. Businesses see this as an opportunity to increase engagement and brand awareness.

@MrScottEddy is the Global Brand Ambassador for Zipkick, a travel search and booking app. Boasting more than half a million followers, Scott offers an insider’s view into his travel adventures with the company.

General Electric

With Bill Nye the Science Guy, General Electric introduced its Emoji Table of Experiments. These pop-up labs received emojis sent from Snapchat fans and sent back interesting science experiment videos.

Leveraging Nye’s expertise, influence, and nostalgia, GE is expanding its brand exposure and helping to explain science to kids.

bill-nye-holograms

Zazzle Media

Zazzle Media, a UK digital content marketing agency, publishes interviews with thought leaders on their blog. For instance, they highlighted their talk with Ann Handley.

By adding great content from industry experts, the agency is attracting the attention of a larger audience and increasing their credibility.

Ann-Handley-the-big-interview

Final Thoughts

Brands are flooding the market with content. To differentiate yourself from the pack, add influencer outreach to your content marketing efforts.

Relationship building and an effective strategy can benefit your business and the influencer. Think about timing, value, and the tools you use.

Create great content. Then, partner with influencers.

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter: @shaylaprice

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