Making connections and building relationships with online influencers and bloggers is important in raising visibility for your product, service or brand. Because they have an engaged reader-base and following, reaching out to these influencers can propel you far into the ether – and usually much faster then any other method.
It is important to approach your key online influencers in the same way as you would with any journalist. And because these influencers are bombarded with messages from everyone, you must ensure that your message stands out from the crowd and gets noticed.
So… how do you make your self stand out?
Before you send out a generic message to every blogger on your list, have a look at their areas of expertise and specialization. Pitching something that is irrelevant won’t get your product posted and what’s worse, you are very likely to break a potentially great relationship that you could have leveraged in the future. Spending some time understanding the blog site and its content is well worth it in the long run.
2. Get to know your influencers early on
You should know in advance who the key influencers are in your particular industry. Start following them (but don’t stalk them!) and share their content with your own networks. Starting the engagement piece early will make it easier for you to get your foot in the door when you are ready to pitch “the big one”.
3. Let them try it out for themselves
Send over your product, give them a 15 day trial for your service, or invite them to your store-front. These influencers have worked hard to build their reputations and they will not be jumping to endorse something sight unseen. Expect them to mention that they were offered a product to try out – bloggers can only be successful if they are open and honest with their audiences and a big part of that is getting their hands on the product they are being asked to promote.
4. Be available for questions
Leaving an open door so your influencers can contact you for further questions and interviews improves communications and gives them an opportunity to write the way that works best for them. You can’t dictate what they write, but you can answer questions and provide as much assistance as possible so they find the best message for their audience. Cooperation is key, and remember that they will be sharing the interactions they’ve had with you with their networks.
5. Offer a discount
If you can, tell your influencer that you will offer a discount to his/her readers. This is a great way of encouraging them to write – not to mention an excellent opportunity for you to track the leads that came in from that particular individual.