Building a Powerful Network of Influencers.

I have recently given presentations is Kiev, Ukraine at SEMCamp (it’s a yearly conference organized by Promodo). It was a great experience and I am very grateful to the company for inviting me!

One of my presentations was about building a powerful network of influencers and how to keep those bloggers keen so they want to work with you as a company. The presentation received a very positive feedback so I would like to share the most important points here.

PART 1: UNDERSTANDING A BLOGGER

Before you start working with bloggers, you really need to understand who you’re dealing with! If you are a blogger yourself, as well as working in social or SEO, that will definitely help you understand influencers much quicker.

So, who they really are? Are there any big brands behind them? What is the most they care about?
The below video could give you a hint how fashion bloggers see themselves and world around them:

1.1. THE TRUTH ABOUT INFLUENCERS:

1. THEY KNOW WHAT THEY LIKE/ WHAT THEY DON’T LIKE
Bloggers and especially influencers have strong personalities!

2. THEY INFLUENCE/ SHAPE INDUSTRY
According to recent study done by Jeff Bullas, 3rd service that most influences online sales are actually blogs (just after retail websites and …)!

3. THEY ARE OFTEN EXPERTS ON THE SUBJECT
They certainly think that they have a lot to say and that what they say is important (both to them and their audience). Isn’t that great news? It looks like you as a brand and the blogger have a lot in common! Isn’t sharing a similar interest, a strong foundation of a great relationship?

 

1.2. WHAT DO BLOGGERS REALLY WANT?

But what those bloggers really want online or from blogging? What are their biggest challenges? I asked a few of the established, full-time bloggers at one of meet up events, and these were the most popular replies:

TO MEET LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE
They want to meet people who have similar hobbies and interests, who run similar blogs or sites to them!

TO GET INSPIRED
They spend so much time on research and finding information they would like to discuss on their blog. They always welcome good material that stumbles along and saves their time. If a brand inspires them, they will write about it!

TO MAKE THEIR BLOG POPULAR
They say, the most difficult is the beginning. Unless you are lucky, it takes quite a long time to reach the right audience and get a significant amount of visits to their blog.

And most importantly: • To BECOME POPULAR!

 

1.3. THE PROBLEM 

Keeping in mind the above, how do you think they will react when receive email I similar to this one:

guest-post-request

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I admit that this email is of the worst asking for link emails I have ever received. [btw, at the conference I have been asked what I do with those emails as a blogger? The answer is- there is a special, automatic rule attached to those messages- ‘delete’]

It is obvious that this is definitely not the way to approach influencers, so what is then?
I’ll say – just LISTEN to your bloggers!

 

PART 2: BUILDING AWARENESS- PRACTICAL TIPS

Before you start contacting influencers, here are a few tips to keep in mind if you are an SEO and want to conduct a successful blogger outreach (all the below are my thoughts from years of link building):

• BECOME A PART OF THE COMMUNITY
Creating a great network of influencers is all about becoming a part of the community. To be a part of the community, why don’t you set up a blog yourself? If you know that you will be working with a travel company, create a personal travel blog. It will help you to understand problems

• REACH OUT TO SOCIAL BEFORE EMAIL!
Why should a blogger read emails from someone they do not know? Would you? It’s like getting your leaflets in the post. Do you really read them all?
So before you email, why not to follow popular bloggers on social site, then follow who follow them and then those who they follow and most importantly pay attention to bloggers content and discuss it!
Read everything they post! If you really like the content, why don’t you leave a comment and tell them that you found it interesting. If you don’t like it, ping them on social and explain why you don’t agree. Just start the dialog!

• THE NICHE NATURE OF BLOGGING
Someone said, I’ve got a blog which targeted audience is 100 people. The right 100 people.
It is not about the numbers. A real influencer is able to create actions taken by their followers. That’s what it all is really about.

• NEW BLOGGERS WITH GREAT CONTENT BUT NO AUDIENCE
You DO want to get in touch with these guys! Why? If they have great content, it is just a matter of time for them to become influencers. Why not to help them with that? You can promote them and share their content before it even happens. If you, as a brand, promote them to your audience, the blogger will never forget thanks to whom they got famous!

• Choose a better title but always be open about who do you work for
Link-builder? Meh…
How about: Trend Researcher, Inspiration Writer, and Community Manager? That sounds pretty cool! It is really what you do!

 

PART 3: KEEPING THEM KEEN

Lets say that you’ve already managed to get attention of a few influencers out there. How make them the real advocates of our brand?
Bloggers already told us what they really want/ need/ desire, remember?

Inspiration, meeting with like minded people, popularity

and we, as brands, have resources and audience, so why not help them to achieve what they really want? Here are a few ideas that could create a real bond between you and the blogger:

 

3.1. INSPIRE THEM

• Create a blog and post every single day

Don’t write the post for its own sake. Tweet about it! Share it! Shout about it! Is there a “bigger“ expert on the subject you just wrote? If yes, mention him/her in your Tweet! Ask them if they agree to what you have just written?

• Send your bloggers a newsletter

Create a list of all influencers you are in touch with and send them a newsletter on a weekly basis! They told you that they spend too much time on research for materials, so save their time and share those pieces with them- you might know what are the next trends, why not to share that with bloggers. How about sneak peak collection previews? What about sharing some good quality photos and let them use it!

• Create different type of content

What about videos? You can even interview influencers themselves!

 

3.2. INTRODUCE BLOGGERS TO LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE

• Organise Events!

Why not create events where you invite all the bloggers so you all can share ideas and experience? What if there is a larger event organized by someone else but relevant to your brand? Why not provide bloggers a break-out area with WiFi access?! They need some space to blog!
Here is a video from one of our fashion blogger events (our social team is amazing!), where we provided a Refuel Room for bloggers:

 

3.3. HELP THEM BECOME POPULAR

• Share their tweets to your followers

Let them know that if they mention your brand in the blog post, they should mention you in the tweet about the post, so you can also share it with your brand followers (isn’t that a cool idea?:)

• Introduce them to your audience on your brand’s blog!

If the blogger is a strong influencer, why not offer them a guest post on your company blog? If that’s (for whatever reason) impossible, why not to write a post about the blogger

• Organise contests and competitions!

Why not?! If you are worried about the budget, you can always team-up with other organizations (not direct competitors of yours)

Blogger Awards

Blogger Awards

Looking forward to your comments, feedback and maybe some other ideas?

Mags Sikora

I'm Mags, an SEO Consultant, London