One of the most difficult tasks for an up-and-coming marketer is building meaningful connections with influencers, journalists, and blogger; you need to manage to stand out from a crowd of thousands of people clamoring for the attention of the few who can boost your signal.
On the other hand, it’s also one of the most rewarding marketing processes when done correctly, as new connections means more opportunities to boost your name or brand. As such, it pays to have a strategy to go about forming these links; after all, a bad attempt at outreach will be remembered just as much as a good one.
After forging ahead and successfully creating a bond with a wide enough span of influencers to appear on sites like TechCrunch, The Next Web, and more, I think it’s time to share with you how I went about doing this. It’s time to get your name out there, and network the hell out of your success.
Build a list of relevant influencers
First up, you need to actually find the names and details of the people you want to be targeting, and track them so that you’re not having to constantly re-discover them. One of the best ways to do this is by tracking them using Close.io.
Still, to find them in the first place I’d recommend BuzzSumo. By searching keywords related to the content you’re producing, or the blogs you wish to target, you can bring up people and websites which have a large amount of influence in those fields.
Once you have this rough list (depending on your scope, I’d say to go for as many as humanly possible), record their details in Close.io. Alternatively, if you’re more of a Google Sheets fan, I’d recommend trying out Airtable – this allows you to create spreadsheet with cells, sheets, and tabs which you can inter-link, along with custom filters and more.
5 Tools to Build Meaningful Connections
Interact on social media
You have your list, so now it’s time to act on it. The first thing you want to start doing is to interact with your list on social media.
The best avenue (in terms of social media) to focus on is Twitter – it allows you to both directly talk to the members of your list and boost their view of you by sharing their content. Another great way to use the platform is to create a Twitter list containing your target influencers, making it much easier to go through and interact with each without missing any.
Keep in mind, however, that going overboard with how often you message or tweet them (or even share their content) will be detrimental to your efforts, for one of two reasons. The first is that the person you’re interacting with may be put off, or think that you’re acting like a bit of a stalker – this happens less often, but there’s still a chance.
Alternatively, sharing everything they tweet and messaging them every day will make your attempt at building a connection seem shallow and utterly transparent, and will diminish your chances far more than any content writing mistakes you may otherwise be known for. These are connections that will benefit you, yes, but you aren’t interacting with a Sim – you can’t spam communication to get them to like you.
For reference, I try to only share content when it genuinely interests me, and interact with a new contact roughly once per week.
Comment on their content directly
Any blogger or content creator who knows what they’re doing values comments. They tell Google that the post is engaging enough to inspire conversation, therefore making it a stronger search result.
As such, it’s only fitting to interact with your influencer’s content by commenting on it at its source, be it a blog page or Instagram post. This gives the author a big boost, and is a brilliant way to make yourself stand out amongst the crowd.
Think about it; how many times do you comment on a blog post you like, as opposed to hitting “like” or “share”? In the same way, you’re more likely to be remembered if you directly comment, due to the lack (or at least lower number) of others doing so.
Much like interacting on social media, however, you need to be careful not to do this too often, as otherwise you’ll either be seen as an attention seeker, or just spammy. As a rough guide, go for content about which you have something genuine to say, and go for maybe 3 or so comments in a month.
Guest post where you can
Guest posts (like the one you’re reading) are a great way to get your name out there, but they’re also a fantastic way to get your name in certain circles, and even to firmly cement a freshly-made connection.
Before sending out any kind of pitches, however, you’ll need to have some quality content under your belt. This could be anything from a skyscraper post or an ebook to a solid backlog of high-quality blog posts, but for a general rule of thumb, the bigger the influencer you’re trying to connect with, the more impressive your portfolio should be.
You also need to avoid sending out pitches to the biggest influencer on your list as soon as you have a couple of pieces of quality content; this will likely be ignored, or end up in a rejection, purely because they will tend to have much better sources vying for their attention. Start off with smaller blogs and build up your guest posting portfolio with good quality posts before going for the bigger fish.
This actually has a second benefit to your efforts to make connections, as the more sites you post on, the more likely your content is to be spotted by one of the people you’re trying to contact (which is yet another reason to never send out a sub-par guest post).
Once you’ve gotten a bit of notice through your gradual interaction and have some content on larger sites, you should have little trouble catching an influencer’s attention.
Have any methods of your own to add when it comes to building up meaningful connections? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Author: Benjamin Brandall Image Source: 123rf/Tatiana Kostareva