Remember that time in high school when you realized that the best way to get instant popularity is to hang out with people who are already popular? When being a part of a clique or gang takes your “image” to a whole new level?
That applies in online marketing, too.
Being associated with influencers not only opens doors to more leads and potential clients, it also improves your brand reputation within a niche and even beyond. It can also help you easily reach a “thought leader” status (if you aspire to).
Gwen Moran, who is an influencer herself, is a renowned SMB marketing blogger and freelance writer. She wrote The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Business Plans among other insightful works. Here are her suggestions on how to connect with influencers for the benefit of your lead generation campaigns:
1. Offer something.
Give more than you take. When interested in making contact with an influencer, first determine what you can offer that will be of value to the contact. You can offer to interview the person for your blog or for a special report on your web site. Alternatively, you might be involved with a professional or trade organization where you can introduce the individual to your own network of influencers.
2. Do your homework.
It’s usually possible to research influencers’ past writing and speeches, interests, and pet causes with a simple online search. Don’t waste their time asking basic questions or for information that is easily available online. Instead, find common points and use those to find areas where you might connect.
3. Get in touch.
Reach out via phone or email instead of social media because it’s more personal. However, take your lead from the influencer’s cues. If he or she is active on Twitter or carries on online conversations on his or her blog, that might be a good way to get in touch, too.
4. Limit the ask.
When reaching out for the first time, make it short and sweet. Don’t ask for anything that will take more than 10 or 15 minutes — a brief interview or a straightforward question or two. People generally like to help, but they may not have time to answer lengthy questionnaires or get involved in a seemingly endless back-and-forth.
5. Keep in touch.
Maintain a database of contacts that also includes searchable keywords related to interests. That way, if you come across an article or information related to some of your contacts’ interests, you can easily send it along, keeping you relevant and memorable.
6. Ask to reciprocate.
If someone has helped you, ask the individual if there is anything you might do to help him or her. The individual may be dealing with a challenge you can help alleviate. If not, the ask is another form of relationship building, showing the influencer that you’re interested in giving back.