As a young blogger, you’re working hard to build your audience, and to create a presence in your niche. So far, you’ve probably built relationships with other bloggers, created a social media presence, and taken action to promote yourself and your blog. You may have even done some cross promotional work with other bloggers. This is great. Hopefully taking these steps has increased your audience, and even resulted in more conversions. Now, it’s time to think about what to do next in order to continue growing. At this stage in the game, you should be thinking about influencers in your niche, and ways that establishing relationships with them, and getting their buy in can help you.
There is no doubt that working with influencers can have great benefits. On the other hand, the process isn’t risk free. Should you reach out to influencers for advice, collaboration, endorsements, etc.? Yes, you should. Just be aware of the things that can be done to make influencer marketing rock, and that can make influencer marketing ruin.
Ruin: Having Unrealistic Expectations of a Collaboration
Working with an influencer can have great results. What it won’t do is create a miracle. It is unlikely that a single collaboration will double your audience, or increase your sales by 50 percent. It won’t result in your bottom line going from red to black, and there’s no guarantee that working with an influencer can save a blog that is struggling.
If your expectations are not realistic, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Not only that, you risk scaring influencers off. Remember that many influencers agree to these collaborations because it helps to cement their reputations in your niche as mentors, advisors, and trusted authorities. They won’t want to work with you, if they believe you will publically declare the collaboration a failure simply because your expectations were off base.
Rock: Putting Together a Thoughtful List of Potential Influencers
If you reach out to any and every person in your niche that is and influencer, you’ll waste a lot of your own time, and will likely end up frustrated. Instead, begin the process by creating a list of influencers who have an audience that would be interested in your blog, and whose opinions and thoughts would also be interesting to your audience. You may end up with a very short list, but you are more likely to get fruitful results from that list than you will by blindly casting a wide net.
Ruin: Bringing Nothing to The Table
When you approach an influencer with your pitch, you won’t get far if the conversation is all about you. Yes, you and the influencer both know that you are going to benefit significantly more than the influencer. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t obligated to bring something to the table. Your pitch should include at least a couple of reasons why working with you is beneficial to the influencer. These might include:
- Demonstrating that your audience fits within the influencer’s target customer persona
- Showing that you have actively promoted the influencer’s products and content
- Having developed a social media relationship with the influencer prior to making your pitch
- Show that your audience is interested in their products and services
- Including an offer to promote, share, or endorse products and content in future blogs
- Showing that you are an active blogger who is engaged with your audience, and who is responsive to comments and inquiries.
- If you’ve worked with other influencers, providing evidence that those collaborations were mutually beneficial
Ultimately, what you want to accomplish is convincing the influencer that you are able to add some sort of value to the relationship and that you are committed to reciprocating any efforts that they make on your behalf.
Rock: Thoroughly Researching an Influencer And Their Audience Before Reaching Out
Before you contact an influencer, do two things. First, go to their website and look at their press kit. Then, take a look at their audience. Do they get lots of unique monthly visitors? Is their audience truly engaged? Would their audience fit in with your audience? Don’t assume that a large audience is a real or engaged audience. Don’t assume that having complementary blogs, products, or services means that you have compatible audiences either. It’s possible that someone can appear to be an influencer when they really are not. That’s what happens when it is possible for people to purchase followers. Even if they have a large, organic following, they may not have a very active following. It’s a good idea to use BuzzSumo or the similar websites to see how much of an influencer’s content is actually being shared. It’s also possible that somebody is an influencer, just not one who is in a position to help you.
Ruin: Failing to Respect The Influencer’s Time
Remember that you stand to gain more out of all of this than the influencer. So, be mindful of the influencer’s time. Return emails and phone calls promptly. If there are disclosures and agreements to be signed, make sure that is taken care of as soon as you are able to. If there are meetings, make sure you are on time. If an action item falls on your desk, take care of it quickly and correctly, then follow up to make sure that nothing else is needed of you. Your goal should be making the process as convenient and easy as possible for the influencer.
Rock: Being Upfront And Clear About What You Want
This can be tricky for many young bloggers. They avoid being upfront because doing so can feel demanding and presumptuous. As a result, they approach the influencer with a vague, rather mealy-mouthed pitch. If you want to create a successful collaboration with an influencer, this is something you simply have to get over.
Approach it from the influencer’s point of view. They don’t have the time or desire to extract out of you what it is that you really want from them. This is why a direct approach is best. Here are a few examples of clearly stated requests:
- Please consider doing a Q and A session with my audience or answering some written interview questions.
- I will be blogging about my new eBook. Would you consider reading it and providing a quote that I can use in that blog?
- I would be honored to write a guest blog for you. What do you think about this topic?
- Would you consider writing a guest blog for my audience? Here are some topic ideas.
- I am doing a giveaway involving one of your products. Would you consider promoting that giveaway on your blog?
Note that all of these things are direct and to the point. Yes, that does give the influencer an opportunity to deliver a quick rejection. However, by letting them know exactly what you want, you are also more likely to receive a quick yes. If you fail to be clear, you are likely to simply be ignored.
Developing relationships with influencers and collaborating with them can be extraordinarily beneficial, especially if you are an up and comer. You can grow your audience, and boost brand awareness if you successfully develop relationships and work well with influencers in your space. Just remember that your action or inaction can really make or break these collaborations. If you are clear, thoughtful, communicative, appreciative, and proactive, not only will your work with influencers be mutually beneficial, you will increase the likelihood that other influencers will be open to working with you in the future.