Product reviews, brand mentions in social media accounts with an established audience are the most effective tactics for your company’s digital marketing strategy for the upcoming year.
Influencers are a hard target to reach and then convince to mention your product in their speeches or articles. They are bombarded with tons of email inquiries and pitches about products on a daily basis.
How do you stand out from a screaming crowd of marketers? The best way is to provide value and contribute to their expertise. I’ve found that the most effective way to connect with them is through content marketing.
In this article I want to share least complicated, and yet extremely effective content tactics to connect with influencers. The strategies listed below have been proven to be successful when it comes to building relationships with influencers.
An easy tactic that doesn’t take a lot of your time is an interview. The main thing you need to do to is communicate effectively and leave a good impression. You can do this by researching the following:
- a) What are they interested in?
- b) What topics do they prioritize?
How I do my homework before reaching out, I search for a specific author on BuzzSumo. To do that I use a simple formula in the search bar: author name: <name>. For example, here’s the search result for “Matthew Barby”.
Being prepared and having a list of good questions will allow experts to share something insightful or interesting.
The interview is widely used by digital marketers, nevertheless, in many cases; the text lacks value to the audience and is not engaging or viral. So there’s a chance the expert interview won’t be a linkable asset and the impact of this content will be low when it comes to acquiring leads and traffic. However, don’t get disappointed, you are still achieving other goals:
- Content for the sake of content. If you don’t have the inspiration to write a more valuable piece, or you ran out of ideas, the interview is always a savior.
- You are building relationships with experts and you are introducing your company to the influencer’s audience who will share the interview on their social media accounts.
2. Expert’s quotes
Go through the influencer’s recent publications and find insights or data that fits your topic or area of research. Any kind of publication works for the quote: case studies, white papers, research reports, etc.
I want to show you an example of how I personally use quotes. I was researching the state of travel affiliate market and quoted a couple of well-known experts in the travel industry. Quotes that I use include valuable data from the expert.
Always keep in mind the following things when you use an expert’s quotes:
- I would recommend choosing quotes from top-tier experts. Known names included in your piece of content will simplify the future process of outreach for backlinks.
- Provide a good design of a quote block. It’s very important to make quotes visible, readable and pleasing to the eye. If your content editor “doesn’t provide ready to go quote designs” or you’re not good at HTML, then go for Canva. The tool will easily assist you in creating artwork to suit your needs.
3. Survey to enclose in your future piece
Survey solutions like TypeForm, Google Forms or SurveyMonkey will help you create an online form to distribute in social media. Alternatively, you can run surveys directly on Twitter or Facebook – these two social media platforms have a built-in polling capability.
The easiest way to attract attention is to create a poll directly on Twitter or any niche social media that works for your topic. Pick a closed question and short set up answers, the experts can choose from. Keep it short and simple.
The only drawback of the Twitter polling tool is that the answers are anonymous. If you are planning to write a blog post using the results of the poll, you can’t quote the expert’s vote.
Facebook polling tool shows you who took part in the survey and how they have voted.
If you go for TypeForm or Google Form, then make sure to enclose fields for contact details, so you will be able to share the results of the survey with the experts later on, as well as, list them at the end of your article.
4. Expert roundup posts
If you Google “experts roundup post”, you’ll find lots of success stories on how digital marketers or bloggers achieved skyrocketing results by publishing this kind of content. It’s an old, but effective tactic, if you use it wisely.
I did research of the most viral posts using BuzzSumo on Searchenginejournal.com. During the last three months, the most viral posts were roundups with local SEO experts.
This content tactic works perfectly for smaller blogs. Here’s an example of a similar post I published on the Digital Olympus blog and it went viral.
Roundups have a high potential to bring in social media traffic and backlinks. Experts mentioned in the post and the topic websites are likely to link to such content rather than to a post with tips or “how-tos”.
Don’t forget to keep it simple while working on a roundup post. My recommendation is to use Google Forms or TypeForm to distribute a poll. Enclose fields for links to experts’ personal information: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, link to a photo, company name, etc.
Podcast popularity is surging. According to Business Insider, 20% of Americans are listening to this medium. I was invited as a guest expert to take part in a podcast and it was an amazing experience. As the whole conversation usually takes place online via special video conference tools, I didn’t take a lot of time, but I had the chance to chat about things that I care about and find interesting.
Podcasts are a steal for experts who have a tight schedule or don’t love writing. Keep in mind that you need to be careful with picking contributors for the chat. Everything happens live and there’s no way you can rewrite the audio. Pick influencers that have a strong experience in delivering public speeches and presentations. Ask yourself; do I share the expert’s ideas?
You will also need some technical tools to record your podcast and be ready to work with special audio software to insert things as introductory music, advertising, etc. after the recording session.
My recommendations are similar to the podcast ones. Not all experts can perform in the best way during video sessions without seeing the audience. Ideally, you need to pick those who have been involved in online speaking gigs. I know a good number of offline speakers that aren’t interested in webinars, because it’s a different media and uncomfortable for them.
Keep in mind the following rules while preparing a webinar:
- Choosing a reliable platform that won’t crash and glitch. Most digital marketers choose GoToWebinar, but I came across a good number of glitches while using it. Right now I’m experimenting with Zoom and I find it super handy and reliable.
- Promote your webinar 1-2 months before the due date. Use email lists, newsletters, blog posts, and, social media channel or even Facebook ads can work. An expert speaking to just a few listeners is something you don’t want.
7. Guest posts
If your website has low traffic, It’s a challenge to attract a top-tier expert to publish a guest post on your blog. Recognized experts tend to write for popular blogs to get more backlinks and traffic. So at this point you have two strategies: target smaller experts in your niche or be creative with the services you provide as a part of a guest post.
The drawback of working with niche experts or “rising stars” is that sometimes you get content of low quality and you have to rewrite it.
By being creative, I mean providing more than an average blog: place them exclusively in your newsletter or promote an upcoming post in your social media accounts, alternately, help them create an eye-catching infographic. So be helpful in a way you can.
8. Email marketing courses
If your strength is knowledge of how to promote products and services via newsletters and you have a substantial amount of subscribers in your email list, use it as a lure to attract experts.
For example, you can organize a series of educational newsletters using experts’ content delivered to your subscribers.
Experts, especially those who are interested in promoting their services, will contribute content: videos, case studies or how-tos.
You can work with several experts a time. Send a weekly email highlighting information from one particular expert. This kind of collaboration is highly efficient for both of you: experts are likely to receive leads, and you get backlinks and established relationships with a pool of experts.
9. Writing an e-book together with experts
Ask for the experts’ opinions while researching on the topic or writing an e-book. Enclose expert’s quotes or any insights they want to share.
The rules here are very similar to using expert quotes (See #2):
- Work on the design of the e-book and of the quote block. Specifically, make it look professional and clean.
- Always enclose experts in the “Who contributed” section with links to a Twitter account or website, etc. Whatever your expert prefers, ask them about their preferences.
- Work on the distribution plan for your e-book. How will your target audience learn about an e-book publication? Experts don’t want to take part in something that has low performance.
10. Making a joint research
If you have any valuable analytics or data that the target expert can be interested in, reach out via email, Twitter or LinkedIn and propose to publish joint research. Experts who have to write a personal blog are always in search of hot topics and valuable data.
Include graphs or screenshots in your content pitch email to an expert, be precise and clear on what kind of information you can share and what you want from this collaboration.
One of the best examples of such joint efforts is the research on YouTube Ranking Analytics by Brian Dean and Zach Russel from ProTechIG. Beautiful collaboration and perfect content performance results.
Recapping what you’ve read
You, as a digital marketer, have many options to build strong and lasting relationships with influencers through content. The main idea that’s inside each of the tactics I mentioned in the article is that people love being helped and love being promoted. Ask yourself a question: How can I be helpful and contribute in a meaningful way to the person I am reaching out to? Then, select the most appropriate content tactics to collaborate with experts that will streamline your efforts.