Successful businesses have been built entirely around content marketing.
The problem is that most people who talk about content marketing these days forget the most important aspect: marketing your content.
Really what most people mean is content creation because that’s all they do.
In order to get actionable results from your content you need to be marketing it in the right way.
Just marketing it would be a great start in some cases.
In this post I am going to show you how to find key market influencers with ease and then recruit their help in order to amplify your content.
What’s this influencer marketing thing all about?
The idea of influencer marketing is to focus on marketing directly to key people in your market.
The people in your market that have influence over your target audience, this allows you to quickly reach a much wider audience.
What I’m going to be showing you today is how to amplify your content with the help of influencers.
I’m not going to argue the case for influencer marketing, there will be naysayers and I’m fine with that.
That just makes things easier for those of us that keep an open mind.
And it’s important to note that this does revolve around content marketing, if you’re still on the fence about how important that is to your business remember that as of 2014, 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing [source].
So who is this for?
Whether you’re an in-house marketer or you’re working for an agency – this will help you get more eyeballs on your client’s content.
If you’re a solo blogger, don’t think that this isn’t for you because I use these same tactics on my own blog and received impressive results.
8 incredible tools for finding real market influencers
At the beginning of any campaign one of the things that I do is to make sure I’ve got a decent sized list of market influencers.
Before I even think about planning any content I want to know who could potentially get my clients content (or my own content) directly in-front of a large group of people.
A large group of people that fit perfectly with my target audience.
Typically you’re going to be looking for active bloggers, although journalists or anyone that writes about your topic area for a large online publication can work very well.
Below are a number of tools that I’ve had some great success with and I’m sure you will too:
- BuzzSumo – Currently free while in beta, use it to both find and engage with influencers.
- Authority Spy – Desktop software (first that I’ve seen) that allows you to quickly generate lists of influencers and export those lists.
- Inkybee – An incredible tool, primarily used for blogger outreach but works well for finding influential blogs.
- BuzzStream – Best known as a link building tool but the social media version can be very helpful for finding influencers. You can also manage the entire process of contacting influencers from here.
- Traackr – A complete influencer marketing platform. Search, report, engage and more.
- Littlebird – Currently invite only, but if you get the opportunity to take this tool for a spin you will find it very useful. It’s especially useful for discovering sub-communities.
- Twtrland – A great social media analytics toolset that works really well for identifying influencers.
- Triberr – While not strictly an influencer research tool, it’s a great community that is full of influencers from different market sectors. Brands can also use the platform to run their own custom influencer marketing campaigns.
How to get on the influencers radar
If an influencer doesn’t know who you are, doesn’t know who your brand is and doesn’t know anything about your website then you’re going to struggle to get anywhere.
Once you have got an actionable list of influencers to work with it’s time to get on their radar – the aim should always be to build a relationship with them.
A word of warning though: Real people, engage with real people.
Typically it’s going to be difficult to engage through the likes of branded social accounts. Personal accounts do work much better.
Step #1 – Follow influencers on key social networks
Find whichever social networks your target influencers are active on and follow them there.
Step #2 – Share their content with your followers
I find that sharing content can be made much easier on two platforms in particular:
- Twitter – add your influencers to a list and then monitor that list in a client such as Hootsuite, you can then RT content that will be useful for your followers and help to get on the influencers radar. Also, you will notice improved results when using modified tweets (MT). If there’s a great post that your influencer tweeted about just adding “awesome post” or something can make quite a difference.
- Google Plus – create targeted shared circles to help you focus on influencers in key topic areas. For example in this post I created a shared circle of influencers and embedded it. Everyone likes being added to a shared circle.
I typically find Twitter and Google Plus the most straight forward platforms for sharing content, although it’s all dependent on the platforms your target influencers are active on.
Step #3 – Leave engaging comments on their blog
Providing you do this well, you can really get some good results, especially for those influencers that actively respond to commenters on their blog.
The important thing is that you use your real name, don’t try to hide who you are or do anything that could be perceived as spammy.
Otherwise you will just burn a potentially fruitful relationship.
Also, sign up for a Gravatar and upload your profile picture.
Step #4 – Do something unexpected and helpful
This really can be anything, as long as it’s helpful.
It could be anything from letting the person know that there is a problem on their website to just saying thanks – no asking them to do anything for you, just to say thanks.
Step #5 – Offer to contribute to their blog
Nothing gets you on an influencers radar like offering to contribute to their blog but it’s important that you do all of the other steps before hand.
They need to have an idea who you are and be able to trust that they can expect some amazing content from you.
It’s important that you deliver too – if you send them garbage then you will just burn the relationship right there. They’ll probably remember you the next time you try.
On my personal blog a while back I received a pitch for a guest post that just panned out so well for the person reaching out to me.
A minute or so before he emailed me, he shared a piece of my content on Twitter.
It just so happened that when I checked my email, the tweet notification was directly above the guest post pitch – a great way to get my attention.
How to get your content amplified by influencers
There are no guarantees here, the same with any other form of marketing.
A word of warning though, while some of these steps may seem trivial – I see people forget step 2 all the time. That will seriously impact your results.
Step #1 – Mention them or involve them in a piece of content
In order to get influencers to help you promote your content you need to give them a very compelling reason to do so.
Mentioning them is a great way to do this, but when you mention them you’ll typically find better results if you include a link to their website (links to Twitter accounts don’t work so well).
Those that choose to share the content will do so because it will increase their perceived authority, at least where their audience is concerned. It’s all part of the effect of social proof.
There is a way to make an even more compelling case for influencers to share your content. That is to use crowd sourced content.
You may have seen a number of “expert group interviews” appearing on the web recently.
Here are a few examples:
- 40 Experts Share Their Favourite WordPress Plugins
- 55 SEO Experts Reveal 3 Favourite Link Building Tools
- 32 Experts Share Their Best Blog Post Promotion Tips
They all performed very well in terms of engagement metrics such as comments, social shares and earned links.
One of the reasons why these posts are so effective is because influencers have contributed content that they have written themselves. This makes them far more invested in the success of the content and the fact that appear next to other extremely influential people within their market sector makes them even more willing to show off the content to their following.
Step #2 – Tell them about it
This is the biggest part that people forget.
They leave it up to influencers to find out for themselves.
And the truth is, generally market influencers are incredibly busy people and it’s just not going to happen.
Here are a few of the typical ways to let them know you have mentioned them:
- Google Plus
@mentions in Twitter status updates and tagging in Google Plus posts work perfectly for this type of thing.
By using social media this way, you take things to an entirely new level because instead of just reaching your own followers you will be using it to reach their followers.
Here’s a recent example I used for my own blog:
Step #3 – Ask them to share the content
Sometimes it’s not enough to simply mention someone in a tweet or a G+ post.
You may need to have some form of call to action and say “if you enjoyed this, would you mind sharing it?”
It won’t always work, but on occasions it could just tip the balance.
Alternate approach – Ask them to share the content because it’s just so awesome
There will be times when you want to expand the reach of a really good piece of content but there’s a particular reason why you might not want to mention any more influencers within the content.
Believe it or not, I actually get a lot of these requests and they usually go something like this:
“Hey, I have written a piece of content that I think it awesome.
Your audience will love it so please share it with them.
Maybe link back in a post or if you want just share it on Twitter or Google Plus.”
My typical answer is just no.
There are two reasons why:
- It’s obvious they have put no effort into the email.
- I am time poor, I don’t have time to help out every person that asks for it, especially if they can’t be bothered to put any time into writing the email.
But, this can work and it doesn’t take much at all.
In a recent post I distilled this process down to a formula that has a much better chance of success:
- I’ve done something awesome for you
- Here’s what I’d like you to do for me
- If you do that I’ll do something else awesome for you
- Sign off
- Email signature
Show that you are serious by helping them out and offer to help them out again if they do you a favour and you will maximise your chances of success.
No matter what starting point your brand is at, when influencers say great stuff about you and share your content – good things happen.
Your brands authority naturally increases and that’s important.
Because when someone of authority tells somebody something – they listen.
And as marketers, the ability to make people listen to us and buy our products is what will allow us to take our businesses to new heights.
Now is the time to put the marketing back into content marketing, build your authority and skyrocket your results.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.