Influencer marketing wasn’t on my radar until a frosty winter’s morning, 3 months ago.
Until that life-changing day, The Creative Copywriter’s online traffic had come predominantly from SEO. You know – keywords, landing pages, backlinks – all that malarkey.
And although I used to rustle up (brilliantly written) blog posts here and there, I didn’t understand how to truly promote or drive traffic to them. For me, Twitter was just an overcrowded, over-salesy waste of time.
But then something magical happened.
I chanced upon a very special blog post, created by the awesome Kristi Hines, which was called ’32 Experts Share Their Best Blog Post Promotion Tips’ (read it!)
And all of a sudden, the penny dropped.
My Magical Moment of Clarity
I realised that social media allowed me to reach out to anyone.
I could strike up a conversation with content marketing geniuses Lee Odden and Guy Kawasaki. Or crack jokes with Copyblogger legends Demian Farnworth and Brian Clark.
I could drop Richard Branson a line and tell him how gorgeous his beard is. Or perhaps even get through to the big man himself, President Obama, if I played my cards right.
After all, these world-leading content marketers, social media influencers, entrepreneurs (and presidents), were just people. Like you and me.
And I’m pretty good with people, I thought to myself .
Thus my influencer marketing journey began.
…A couple of months later I knocked up 2 epic blog posts, called:
‘22 Content Marketing Experts Reveal the Secrets to Writing Killer Blog Posts‘ and
‘38 Blogging Masters Reveal Their Number One Tip for New Bloggers’.
Between them, they got over 4,500 shares and 9000 new visitors to my site in just 2 weeks. And that was only the beginning.
Like to know how to do it?
Step 1: Make a list
First of all, suss out which influencers are going to turbo-charge your blog.
They must be creating and sharing valuable content in your niche. They must be awesome at what they do. They must have a whole heap of online influence (a giant social media following or blog readership).
For me, it was content marketing rockstars like Sarah Arrow, Jeff Goins and Joe Pulizzi. Plus copywriting legends like Joe Vitale, Heather lloyd-Martin and James Chartrand. For you, it would be the big online cheeses in your field.
Or as savvy social media strategist Neal Schaffer calls them (in his value-packed book ‘Maximise Your Social‘):
“Individual users, companies, or media outlets that are part of or serve your target demographic”.
Tools which can help you define and find these influencers are: Klout, Peerindex, Kred, Technorati, PostRank, your brain, your eyes etc.
PS. Don’t make the list gigantic at the start. 30 to 50 influencers will do. If you spread yourself too thin, you won’t be able to give each one the love and attention they deserve 🙂
Step 2: Follow your list
Chosen your all-stars? Then follow them on every social media platform you’re a member of. And keep these profiles separate from regular civilians. ‘Cos these guys are special.
Create a Twitter list, call it ‘big influencers’ and pop them all on there. Do the same in Google+, using its trusty ‘circles’ feature. And make sure your Facebook business page is following all their Facebook business pages. Comprende?
Step 3: Help your list
“You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”. That’s the philosophy behind influencer marketing.
So help your list out. Share their content. Comment on their blog posts. Like, favourite, retweet and +1 their updates. Link to their sites. Give them a whole lot of love, daily… You’ll start to get noticed for it.
A platform which can really fast-track your influencer marketing efforts is the clever Triberr, created by Dino Dogan, where you can join tribes of savvy bloggers in your niche and ‘scratch each other’s backs’ (by sharing each other’s content).
Step 4: Ask your list questions
Can’t find the answer to that niggling industry-specific question? Ask the gurus!
Go on. Straight up ask them exactly what you want to know. Tap into their beautiful minds. Like this:
This little manoeuvre will:
a. Get you the best possible answer to your question.
b. Engage your influencers in conversation.
c. Flatter them.
d. Slap you on their radar.
Step 5: Suck up to your list
Make ‘em feel like royalty. Give a daily shout out to several influencers per update (on any social media platform which has tagging enabled). Like this:
Make sure you mix up your targets every day. You wouldn’t want anyone to feel left out, would you?
I learnt this tactic from Twitter mastermind Georg Grey, who certainly loves a good shout-out with his morning breakfast (,lunch and dinner).
This cute little trick will:
a. Benefit your followers by directing them to valuable, must-know industry experts and brands in your niche.
b. Get those valuable, must-know industry experts and brands on your side.
Step 6: Befriend your list
Here’s where personality goes a long way. So make sure you have a good one.
And forget the formalities of old-school business etiquette (yuk!). You’re in social media now. It’s social. Chat to these hot shots like they’re your closest pals. Be bold. Be brazen. Make ‘em giggle.
If you’re a cheeky London copywriter like myself, use your local lingo to your advantage. Words like ‘mate’, ‘cheers’ and ‘’alf a pint o’ lager’ work like a charm with US and Ozzie folk.
In his value-driven post called ‘7 Numbers That Matter on ‘Twitter’, social media legend (and my online buddy), Aaron Lee, recommends chatting with at least 5 Twitter users every day.
For you, at least 4 out of 5 of them should be on your influencer list.
Step 7: Flirt with your list
You heard me.
Got any smoking hot influential ladies on your list – like Anna Hoffman, Nathalie Lussier or Kimberley Grabas? Or perhaps some influential hunks – like Ramsay Taplin or Patt Flynn?
Toss some flirtatious compliments their way. Because who can resist a bit of charm and flattery?
PS. This might not be your bag. But if you’re cocky and shameless – and it’s in tune with your personal/company brand identity – then go for it!
Step 8: Write blog posts about your list
This is where the genius stuff comes in. Influencer marketing at its finest.
Create a shout-out post listing some (or all) of your influencers. Tell the world why they’re great. And link out to their websites, promotions, books and social media profiles.
Once you’re done, let them know about the post (by any and every means possible). If you ask nicely, they should repay the favour with some big fat, wide-reaching, traffic-driving shares.
ESPECIALLY if you’ve already helped them, sucked up to them, asked them questions, befriended them and outrageously flirted with them on social media.
Step 9: Write blog posts about your list’s blog posts
Another little treat here, which will benefit you, your influencers and your readers.
Either write a direct reply to one of your influencer’s specific blog posts, challenging their opinion (which can gain you a whole heap of attention).
Or write a round-up review of some super useful posts you’ve discovered recently.
Anna Hoffman does a tip top job of this in Traffic Generation Café, with her weekly marketing skinny. It’s always worth checking out what little gems she’s listed there.
Step 10: Interview your list
My favourite influencer marketing trick of all.
It’s what brought in those extra 9000 hungry readers to The Creative Copywriter in only two weeks, and placed me on the content marketing map.
Once you’ve rubbed virtual shoulders with your list, and exchanged some friendly banter: ask them to contribute to your blog. Or interview them.
Find out what your followers are itching to know, then send emails to your list asking them kindly to share their wisdom on the topic. 60% of them will get back to you with answers, and in no time at all you’ll have an epic traffic-driving post – just like Kristi Hines’ masterpiece.
A little bonus tip: tell your influencers what other industry-leading experts you’ve approached and you’re much more likely to convince them. We call this ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ in the sales industry. People want to do what other people are doing.
Especially other important people.
And if you manage to get an actual half hour chat with one of your influencers, in Google Hangouts or Skype, that will make for some tantalizing video content.
What should you do once the post is live?
Why, get those gurus to share it with their colossal crew of followers of course! And watch the visitors swarm to your site like ants to a picnic.
Step 11: Link out to your list (as much as poss)
Don’t just write round-up or interview posts all the bloomin’ time.
People want to hear your voice , your wisdom and your story. That’s how to establish yourself as an industry expert and really gain that hoard of loyal followers you seek.
So here’s the secret. And it’s perhaps the smartest one of all…
Link out to relevant influencers and experts in as many blog posts as you can. Quote them, mention them, reference their sites or books, link to their profiles and then ask them kindly (like an English gentleman) to share your stuff.
In a recent blog post about the importance of brand identity, I offered my wisdom on the subject, then listed 4 world-leading content marketers who I felt had nailed the branding game. Of course they all then promoted the post and voila! It got a shedload more readers than it would have otherwise.
Super savvy marketing strategist, Gregory Ciotti (from Sparring Mind), calls this The Drip Technique.
“You simply “drip” in features throughout the piece, grabbing quotes and excerpts from personalities with your ideal audience and putting them in where appropriate.”
See what I did there?
Step 12: Get on other people’s lists
That’s right. With all these savvy marketing tricks you’ll eventually become one of the big players yourself. And start to grace the ‘guru lists’ of other influence-hungry marketers.
Step 13: Put me on your list!
Let’s skip back to step 1 again. You know – the list you’re about to create?
If you dabble in the world of content marketing, copywriting, SEO or social media – then why not get the ball rolling right away? Go on. Visit my Twitter profile now and add me to your very own influencer list.
I look forward to all the flirting and sucking up 😉
Share, share & share some more!
Those beautiful round black buttons look tempting down there, don’t they?
So click away my friend and share this epic post with all your fantastic followers and fans! They’ll thank you for it.