If you think you moved a giant rock by developing your content, well now you have to move a mountain to market it. Brands create a lot of content and post it on their owned media channels, be it their website, blog or content hub. This is great but often it does not cut through all the noise out there to drive real impact with your target audience. The issue is that your content won’t mean anything if no one gets to see it. So who better to market your content than the influencers who already have your target audience’s attention?

Getting influencers to share your freshly drafted articles, blog posts, videos, and infographics has one major requirement: a relationship. The infographic below shows the steps needed to develop relationships with influencers that will get them marketing content for you.

Onalytica / Formative - 5 Ways to engage with Influencers [INFOGRAPHIC]

 

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH INFLUENCERS

Before you can build a relationship with an influencer, you have to know who they are.  Start out by identifying the influencers your target audience is following and vet them to ensure that the topics they care about overlap with the topics and themes in your content. You can do this by following them on social media, subscribing to their newsletters, reading their articles or other content they’ve contributed to such as videos or podcasts. The more an influencer posts about the topics you write about, the more likely they will be to share your content with their followers.

Another key step to engaging influencers is to make sure they know who you are. You can increase their awareness of you, your company, and products or brand by reaching out to them through different channels and mediums such as direct messages on LinkedIn, or @mentions on Twitter. Several light engagements such as liking, retweeting, and commenting on their posts, can lead to a solid awareness and trust upon which your relationship can be built. Sharing one of your existing, related articles is also a great way to break the ice and start building relationships.  The goal here is to get the influencer to engage or follow you, creating an opportunity to network and deepen your relationship.

The main challenge to early influencer engagement is the time it takes to identify influencers and filter through their feeds to find the best opportunities to engage them. That’s where Onalytica’s free influencer identification tool can help you.  This tool matches the proportional usage of nouns in your content against an aggregate of what an influencer has posted on blogs and social networks over the past 12 months.  This makes identifying influencers and engagement opportunities far more efficient than relying on keyword searches in social channels or persistent feed monitoring offered by many other solutions.

The ultimate goal for any content marketer is to have your influencers share your content with their networks. While building a strong relationship is crucial, incentives can be helpful as well. Influencer incentives could include: an exclusive first look at your new product, free access to an existing product, exclusive content such as a video, interview, or live event, or the benefit of being featured on your social channels and websites, allowing them to expand their own reach and following while promoting your content.  Incentives can also be a simple monetary transaction, similar to paid advertising.  However, this type of relationship should be disclosed to your readers.

Once you’ve built your relationship, you can capitalize on it by asking influencers to share your content which can be accomplished in many ways.  Similar to light engagements, you can send a direct message via social media, however, reaching out through email, or calling them directly, can often lead to better results.  When asking influencers to share content, it’s also important to consider timing. Try going to influencers with your new content first and providing them with an opportunity to read and share things before it becomes available on your other channels.  If you’ve built a good relationship and your incentives for sharing are clearly defined, your ask will seem very reasonable and even attractive to the influencer.

If successful, seeding content with influencers can increase your reach and earned media, validate and increase trust in your key messages, increase site traffic and quality, and improve your SEO. What’s more, the relationships you develop with influencers today can provide lasting benefits for many years to come.

To learn more about developing influencer relationships and creating programs to tap their audiences and expertise, be sure to check out our Better Practice Guide

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