Influencers. Everyone understands the power of influence, but does everyone understand how to tap into it?
Companies, organizations and brands everywhere are looking for influencers. These influencers are typically a reflection of their target audience or a niche the brand wants to expand their reach and they will be leveraged for market research, ideation and the creation of content or the amplification of a brand’s content. Everywhere you look there is the search for influencers.
Companies are cropping up that sell you their lists or allow you subscribe to lists they’ve created. The list will cover the influencer’s bio, sites they’ve written for, and all kinds of statistics about the influencer’s sphere of potential influence.
But these are just lists. Just as it’s a bad idea to purchase e-mail lists, it’s a bad idea to buy lists of bloggers.
Beware buying lists of the highly sought-after social mom unless you’re willing to put in the time to turn all the names on the list into faces with an understanding of who they are and what makes them tick. You need to get to know them–personally.
Not to mention, creating a list and selling a blogger’s name without her/his permission will blow up in your face.
Mom bloggers who are influential are influential because of the relationships they’ve built over time. Their audiences trust them and their content. These bonds occurred both virtually and in the real world. The social moms did not purchase lists to grow statistics. They put the work in by connecting on multiple platforms through writing quality content, attending seminars/conferences and engaging in conversation. It’s a full-time job. And their influence did not happen overnight. Their expectation is that you will do the same–take the time to build a relationship and not treat them like a name on a list.
So how do you build a relationship with a blogger?
1. Treat them as you would like to be treated yourself.
2. Reach out by email, but always keep it short and ask for a conversation on the phone or a coffee/drink or a meet-up.
3. Don’t just ask for their media kit, ask about “who they are, how did they get started, what’s in their plans and how can we help each other?” “What’s your Klout score?” is the like asking someone “What’s your sign?” on a first date.
4. Always use their name. Don’t ever use “dear blogger.”
5. Never offer them opportunities without doing the homework to make sure it’s right for their brand. The homework is part of building the relationship. Pitch them something that is not in keeping with their personal brand and you’ve immediately lost cred.
6. What’s in it for them? They will want to know.
7. Listen and respond. They will be trusted advisors if you take the time to listen to what they have to say and respond in kind. And they’ll tell others as a result.
8. Never talk down to them. They’re not just stay-at-home moms with a computer and smartphone. They’re often running businesses or left jobs in corporate America to be with children. They’re educated women.
And those lists created by publishers like “The Top 50 Bloggers who…” are just lists. Often created to increase page views for the publication. They are extremely flattering to be put on, and you can follow or subscribe to their channels, but until you build a relationship with those bloggers, they are just names on a page or someone with a name you’ve followed. And there is no magic wand or easy button to push for that. I have probably just guaranteed I will never be on one of those lists, but I’d rather be on the tip of someone’s tongue or in the back of their mind.
By Holly Pavlika Friday
Holly Pavlika is SVP, Strategy for Collective Bias, focusing on content and media, and founder of MOMentumNation.
Courtesy of MediaPost