Influencers act as a mutual friend connecting your brand with your target consumers. 65% of brands now run influencer campaigns and 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people—even if they don’t know them personally—over promotional content that comes directly from brands. Influencer marketing arguably creates more meaningful engagement than traditional advertising.
Most marketing is aimed at the mass market (Early Majority and Late Majority) however it's much harder to get these people to care about your product. Innovators and early adopters are much more passionate about new products. Influencers (especially product reviewers) and their audience are often innovators and early adopters.
The 2 main criteria for identifying potential influencers is their reach and the relevance of their audience. If their reach is small your impact will be small. If their reach is huge it will be hard to get their attention. If their audience isn't relevant then the audience nor the influencer will likely be interested.
4 groups of influencers
Sharks - Are short on time and will take an enormous amount of effort to reach
These are the people with a huge audience and notable achievements (think Gary Vaynerchuck, Malcolm Gladwell, Tim Ferriss, etc.).
Big Fish - Target
Not as famous as the Sharks, but their audience is big enough to make an impact on your own business (think Noah Kagan, Nathan Barry, Glen Allsopp, etc.).
There’s a good chance to reach them with a nice personal email, but never with a template.
Small fish - Target
Don’t have a big audience yet. Their websites are only starting to get traction and they are actively promoting themselves by contributing to niche communities, writing guest articles and participating in all sorts of events.
Spawn - Audience too small to justify the outreach
Doesn’t really make much sense to reach out to them. They don’t have any traffic to send your way, and a link from their website is hardly worth anything because it’s so new.
The core of influencer marketing is creating value. Ask "what can I do to create value for the influencer". If you’re creating real value for your readers, they’ll want to hear from you.
Perhaps the most important factor. Consuming their content and reading the comments will help you learn about their market, the audience norms and what they value. This will allow you to craft a unique approach to this influencer and their audience.
Make the influencer appear in a good light to their audience
If you can create something that puts them in a good light they will want to share it. Find those whose content really is valuable, extract and apply that value, and let them know that you did. You could read their articles, implement and share your results. You could quote from their podcast, article or talk in your blog or write a post featuring them entirely. You could also simply relay a positive experience using their product or service.
Show them something new and valuable
If you have something truly unique and outstanding, influencers might appreciate a heads up, people with large audience need a constant flow of awesome content to cater to their fans. Be realistic though as what seems unique and outstanding to you might easily be old-school for them.
Provide social proof
If your post was popular announce it
Use their correct details
Scraping a name or generic email address incorrectly will signal to the influencer that you're not genuine and guarantee to kill your chances.
Personalisation and being genuine
Kind of the overarching theme. Your outreach should convey that you know them and are genuine in your reasons to connect. Find things you have in common like similar careers, read the same book or visited the same place. Flattery should be specific to them not sound like it's from a template otherwise it will have the opposite effect than the one you're after.
Be short and clear. Busy people get hundreds of emails each day, don’t make it an easy choice to skip reading yours because it’s too long. If you have a prior relationship gently remind the person of your relationship. Again, they get a ton of emails. Giving them a quick reminder of who you are (and what you’ve done for them) is helpful. Keep your ask specific. Don’t make them do the work of figuring out what you want.
If You Want Help, Be Helpful
The shortcut to building relationships with busy, successful people. Figure out what they want and give it to them.
Perk their interest
Find ways to say things that they will find intriguing.
“I saw your speech about Y at event X and had a couple of questions for you”
“Jenny Smith and I were talking the other day about awesome programmers, and she suggested I contact you”
"You tweeted this post, and I thought you’d be interested in checking out a different opinion on that topic. In a nutshell it’s all about XXX and you can read about it here…"
"You wrote this post, but you didn’t mention one very important aspect. I’m talking about XXX and I’ve explained it in this article…"
"You linked to this post, and I thought I should show you a much better resource on that subject. It’s better because XXX…"
These examples are anchored by slightly challenging past actions (again personalisation). The receiver is going to want to know what your opinion is as it may affect them.
State your credentials if relevant and will help to give you gravitas.
It's a numbers game
Not all your efforts will pay off. Invest in as many high-quality relationships as you can. Nurture each one and continue delivering value on an ongoing basis.
It will stop you getting free influence.
You have to add a budget on the platform. The next time you write to an influencer directly, they will tell you that they saw your campaign on platform X and you have to pay for a mention.
Hard to scale influencer marketing without using a platform
They’ve collected tens of thousands of influencers from around the web, and from many different countries. It’s also much easier for the blogger and for the marketer to manage all partnerships in one place.