How to reach out and impress potential influencers for your brand
People who have the power to open up the doors of professional opportunities for you are the busiest people. Before they have their first cup of coffee, hundreds of email requests have already started pouring into their inbox.
Even if you don’t receive 1,000 emails a day like some of those busy bees, I bet you’re also dealing with the flood of information and to-do’s you have to take care of on a daily basis. In fact, the number of business emails sent and received per user per day totaled 120 emails per day in 2017, according to a report by the Radicati Group Inc. Now, what does this mean for you?
It’s not an easy task to stand out and make an impression amongst all of the buzz.
However, what if sending one email, or tweeting a tweet could lead to a big collaboration opportunity, a new client, or a new influential friend? If you know how to get busy people to reply, you’ll have an absolute competitive advantage over everyone else.
In this article, I’m going to share a couple of totally legitimate and authentic ways to connect with busy experts and influencers, so that you don’t look like a sleazy person hurriedly handing out business cards at a conference.
Let’s get to work!
1. Attend a webinar and ask an insightful question
Typically, you won’t hear that many people ask a question at the end of a webinar. But imagine how that must feel for an expert who put a heart and soul into his presentation. So if you get ready for a webinar by researching the topic and finding a couple of good and meaningful questions to ask, you will sure support the speaker by raising your hand at the end of the webinar. Another move that will not go unnoticed is if you post it on Twitter or LinkedIn sharing what a great answer you received from this expert. Tag an expert when you create this post, and the expert will be wholeheartedly thankful.
2. Quote an expert
Reach out to an expert, or maybe a few of them, with a question and quote them in your next piece of content. I recommend contacting someone you’ve already collaborated with. Unless you want to spend more time finding a different expert who will not be familiar with your work, save your time by reaching out to someone who heard your name. If you don’t have any experts or influencers among the list of your connections, try looking for those of them who was somehow a part of the topic you’re researching or took part in a roundup post. It’s very important to reach out to at least 10 different people. Typically, about 30% of the people you contact will respond. But it may also take time for them to reply back to you. If you are very impatient, you can speed things up a little by going on Twitter and LinkedIn and sending these experts a direct message. Don’t forget to follow them up with a short email explaining the reason why they should spend their time answering your questions.
3. Write a testimonial or a case study for their product or service
Have you used a product from any of the experts you’re trying to contact? If you reach out to them saying, “I bought your product and my results went from 0 to 100,” they’ll think: “Nice, this person is determined and committed to his job.” So, use their product, service, program, or advice, and then offer to write a testimonial or a case study. Experts value this tactic the most because in order for them to sell their products, they need proof from regular people that it works. By saying that their product or service works, you give them a much-needed endorsement, and, of course, impact their sales and promotions. This will help you to appear on expert’s radar and become valuable in helping them grow their business.
4. Comment regularly on their blog or their posts on social media
For example, at the Digital Olympus event, I like to acknowledge the importance of our passionate online community that I’ve built over time. And the viewer comments during our online event and after are meaningful and intelligent, which is very rewarding for me as an organizer. I can see that we are helping people improve their business and personal results while members of our community are supporting one another with the weekly challenges. The fact that people are leaving you comments on your blog, or your posts, or anywhere else on social media indicates that you’re doing a great job and headed in a right direction! Getting mindful blog comments makes experts feel like their hard work is appreciated and they are making a difference. And when you comment regularly, you will be noticed. Some experts may have active readers, but very few of them are consistent blog commenters. In that case, you’ll stand out by leaving comments, so take advantage of these opportunities. It takes time to build a relationship, but it’s so worth it.
5. Create a short survey and poll various experts
If you aren’t blessed with a list of experts at hand, you can easily create one using BuzzSumo Influencer tool. It allows you to search for influencers within any industry, with an option of adding experts directly to your Twitter lists. Another great idea is to use Twitter lists of created by the leading companies in your niche, like lists by Content Marketing Institute, or SEJ lists. Once you added everyone you wanted to on your list, get ready for some action. Based on my personal experience, the best way of getting experts’ attention is by asking them to take a short survey. That way, you’ll get to ask all the burning questions you have without making your message look like a long novel. The quickest way to spread your survey is by distributing it on Twitter. But you can create it on any platform you like. When drafting your survey questions, make sure to ask your experts for their contact information so that you can let them know when your piece of content is ready. And, of course, distribute the results of your survey via various social media channels by tagging the experts who participated in it, and thanking them for taking the time to answer your questions and share their knowledge with your community.
6. Create a roundup post
This type of content proved to be one of the most effective working in terms of generating social impressions. Not to mention the fact that almost 80% of the content is created by people who take part in the roundup discussion. Brainstorm some interesting topics for your future post. Use either BuzzSumo or Ahrefs Content Explorer to find the most trending content in your industry.
Or you can Google a search query ‘roundup + search term’ to find what topics interest online surfers the most.
To get you inspired, take a look at these roundup posts below. They all performed brilliantly and created a buzz around them.
This post convenes information about all top competitive analysis tools you will ever find.
This roundup post is what hard work looks like. The author interviewed the best of the best in the digital marketing industry, and spent some time designing a smooth navigation for this post.
Despite its infuriating page layout, this roundup post contains a lot of helpful advice.
This roundup presents a perfect example of how you can bring an already existing content back to life by shaping it into a different type of content. This post has also been very popular among its readers.
7. Make a list of influencers beforehand
First of all, I would recommend to reach out to experts who have already established a solid online presence. People with few Twitter followers or LinkedIn connections won’t help you reach your goals. Also, don’t forget about your current brand ambassadors, fans or friends, they’re always happy to help you and will let the online world know about you.
Here’s what you can do:
- Research the names of experts who recently participated in the roundups. They will be more interested in taking part in a roundup than those who don’t have such experience.
- Find people who are currently contributing to other blogs. Their own online presence is in the making, so it will be really hard for them to turn down your collaboration offer. If you know blogs that accept guest posts, then you can collect the names of its contributors in a few clicks using BuzzSumo.
- Find users that have recently shared similar content. That can be accomplished with the help of BuzzSumo that will show you which Twitter users content that’s related to yours.
- Leverage the power of your current brand ambassadors who are actively advocating for your brand and engaging with your content. To help you accomplish this task, use RivalIQ -- a tool for an in-depth competitive analysis that allows you to compare a lot of metrics of your company against your competitors’. Their Key Influencers feature will assist you in identifying industry’s top mentioners. Another great way of spotting the most active users is TweetBinder. This tool also shows the most influential members of your Twitter community. If you want to find your brand ambassadors on other social media platforms, you are going to have to look for them manually by going through your likes and shares.
8. Use several channels at the same time to maximize your response rate
An outreach process is a time-consuming activity, so don’t expect to receive responses right away. Your industry’s current environment plays an important role in this case, too. Typically, the average response rate is about 30%. To throw in some more numbers here, if you’re looking to get 50 answers, you need to contact at least 140 users.
After trying to get a hold of a couple of influencers myself, I came up with this scenario that proves to be very effective:
- Connect with an expert on LinkedIn. After they accepted your request, send a message. LinkedIn has the read receipts and typing indicators. Very helpful when you’re really trying to get someone’s attention.
- If a person didn’t accept your connection request on LinkedIn, switch to Twitter.
- If they ignored your LinkedIn message, send them an email. We all check our inbox frequently.
- Send an email to those users who both haven’t added you to their connections on LinkedIn or replied on Twitter.
- If you still haven’t heard back from people after you sent them the first email, you can follow up with the second email. But don’t hit their inbox more than that. You’re going to look either desperate or aggressive.
Quick Tip: When connecting with people on LinkedIn, add a short message that explains why you’re reaching out. Mention what kind of article you’re working on, and that you’d be happy to know what they think about a certain issue. I’ve noticed that I’m more likely to add a person to my connections if they are explaining their motive in a brief message.
If you want to find an email address of a particular influencer, use Hunter.io. This tool has literally saved hours of my time.
One thing I have to add. Don’t try to contact top-level experts if you haven’t previously mentioned their work. Strike up a conversation online by promoting their recent content via your personal or business social media account. This increases your chances of hearing back from them.
Going through trial and error inspired me to share tactics that should help you establish new and strong relationships with individuals who can help you grow within your niche. Sometimes, you might receive a 1-line email response. But who knows, maybe one day one of these experts will take you under their wing for life. Influencer outreach takes a lot of effort but the results are worth it because the hard work and lack of sleep pay off!