Finding an influencer for your brand is like finding an angel that will take your brand in front of a large base of audience over whom he/she/they, or it has a powerful influence. And by the term ‘finding’, we don’t just mean having identified the influencer, but also reaching to them, engaging with them, pitching them with our ideas and content, and lastly, retaining them like a ‘trust figure’ for your brand.
This activity of finding, engaging, and pitching an influencer for a brand, also called influencer outreach, falls under the ambit of influencer marketing, which is a subset of digital marketing. The effects of influencer marketing on your inbound efforts include:
- Improved word-of-mouth advertising
- Increased number of expert’s opinion
- A social proof of your brand
Why ‘Influencer Outreach’?
That’s because people trust word-of-mouth recommendation above all forms of advertisement. And this was made clear with a recent Nielsen survey in which 92% of all consumers voted in favor of it. That’s what happens through influencer outreach where you collaborate with an industry influencer (through all your inbound efforts) who recommends your brand to the consumers, and the brand gets sudden credibility among them. See below how influencer outreach benefits your brand:
- Your content assets such as your product, services, or even a story gets an instant boost to reach thousands or lacs of audience, once your influencer shares it.
- It helps in traffic acquisition and the good thing about this kind of outreach is that the traffic acquired through your influencer’s share is highly targeted.
- A highly targeted traffic ensures a good lead generation as well.
6 Steps to Find an Influencer
Before hopping into the steps, you must first understand that there is no one-size-fits-all type of formula of finding and pitching the influencers. However, we’ve tried our best to keep it up to the industry standards. Here is the 6-step process:
Draw a Clear Picture of Your Audience: First thing, you’ll do is to draw a clear picture of your target audience. Identify their taste, and their way of evaluating, discovering, and buying your product (or service). If you don’t know your target audience, how can you know about the person who is able to influence their buying decision.
Search, Identify, and Follow Your Right Influencer: Now that you know about your target audience, it will help greatly in identifying the persons or entity that can influence them. Take the help of different online tools like Buzzsumo, Traackr, Linkdex, etc., to start searching for your brand’s ‘angel’. These tools will help discover appropriate influencers. Make a list of all those prospective influencers and then decide on which one or more to focus first. For choosing the right one/s, find if they have got these qualities :
- An authority, trusted and respected from their audience in a particular niche.
- Someone who can stir an action.
- One who engages with their audience on all channels very ably.
- Have a strong affinity with their audience.
- Who has a high reach across websites and social channels.
- Whose online content that they create and share is of high quality.
Your campaign objectives can be achieved only when you target the right influencer who are in line with your brand and campaign message.
- The influencer’s blog or website
- Their social media channels
- Their newsletters
- Their acquaintances on social media
You’ll also need to identify how they communicate their idea such as their tone of content, their language (do they swear?), the wording of their content, their frequency of shares on social media, and anything from other brands that they prefer or advocate. With these ideas in your mind, you’ll better ably draft the pitching content that will catch their attention.
Act and Engage: In this step, you’ll start building a relationship using some simple actions. Following them, and liking and commenting on their posts on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social channels, sharing their content or sharing your content (of their interest) with them, and linking to your influencers will be the first step in a fruitful relationship.
For a more formal approach, you can send an introductory email explaining who you are and your potential to be a future collaborator, and if you know the influencer on a more personal level, you can send a letter in writing or even a gift through post. All these efforts will make them start noticing you, and (may be) involving in conversations with you. This will help build the platform for your first pitch to them. Remember, just try to be honest with them, and refrain from frequent mails and calls as that can irritable which can damage your impression in the eyes of the influencer.
Go for the First Pitch: This is critical and you will require to be very clear to yourself, and make your idea, intent, and objective clear to the influencer too. So, how are you going to pitch them?
First of all, you have to choose how to pitch them. You can do it through mail, social, phone, or skype, etc. The best way to contact them is the way they would prefer. The things that you’ll need to include in your pitch can be your and your company’s name, contact and address; the vision and motto of your company; about your campaign- product, experience, competition, and objectives of the campaign; and your intent, interest, and incentives with and to them.
The best way to draft and design your pitching content is to ask some questions to yourself, but from the perspective of the influencer. Ask the difficult questions, such as:
- Who is this guy?
- What do they want from me?
- What’s their intent to contact me?
- Is this company worth investing my time? Are they reliable?
- Does the brand represent me, my views, or my activities?
- What’s in it for me? Am I getting paid, or incentivized in other ways?
- How much the other influencers, if any, are getting paid?
- When will the content be ready, and why my audience will show any interest in it?
If you are able to answer these questions confidently, then you’re surely ready for the first pitch.
Nurture Your Influencer: Most of the brands and agencies stop contacting the influencer once they (influencer) accepted and worked on their idea and made the campaign successful. This is wrong! Because you will need to keep the investor on your side for future too, and because, being a responsible brand, you should follow some corporate relationship ethics. It’s a simple task to keep in touch with your influencer and you can do it by:
- Keep engaging on influencer’s social channels and websites
- Mails and calls, or meet ups, if possible
- Inviting them to upcoming client events
- Offering to be a support in anything that they are working on right now
Influencer outreach isn’t a complex online marketing strategy but just a task that requires diligence, creativity, and hard work. One successful outreach campaign can bring huge traffic, leads, and conversions to your website.