It can be intimidating to start a conversation on the Internet. You might diligently follow a few industry leaders and influencers, but how do you start talking to them? They have thousands of followers! Every blog post has hundreds of comments! Here’s how you break out and improve your chances of being seen by these powerhouses.
Work on Building Relationships
Retweeting an influencer once or twice will not be enough. The retweet may get lost in the mix as their content is constantly being shared throughout the Internet. Consistently retweeting — while including your comments — and replying to an influencer will repeatedly put your name and avatar in front of their eyes. They might not recognize recognize you after the first couple of times, but eventually they will know that you’re a long-time fan. Plus, by adding your thoughts instead of just clicking a button, you’re standing out and showing your personality. This way when you do reach out to them, you don’t have to say that you’re a big fan, you’ve already shown it.
Share Their Content
Oftentimes we reach out to influencers in hopes that they’ll follow us back and read or share our content. We can’t expect them to pour over our posts just because we deign to like theirs. Share their content before you start asking them to share yours. You would never walk up to a stranger on the street and ask them for a favor if you had no relationship with them, would you? The same goes for cyber relationships. Don’t expect favors when you haven’t earned them.
Follow Influencers in Your Niche
Following people just because they have a lot of followers and commenting on articles just because the article receives a lot of comments isn’t as effective as following leaders in your industry. When you do establish a relationship and want to ask for favors, be sure your content is relevant to their niche and agrees with their views. They aren’t going to share an article about the benefits of Obamacare if they do not believe Obamacare is beneficial.
Comment on Their Posts
Take the time to read their articles or watch their videos and comment on them in a valuable way. Once they are familiar with you, take the conversation to email to build the relationship further. Remember not to spam their site with generic comments like, “Great article!” and “I learned a lot!” Here are a few ways your comment can stand out
- Make it Unique: don’t say the same thing other commenters are saying.
- Add Something New: instead of rehashing the content discussed, bring up a point or example the author might have forgotten or add a new perspective.
- Disagree: You don’t always have to tell the author that they’re perfect. Disagreeing can lead to a healthy debate which will be memorable to the influencer.
Tag Them When You Share
When you share their content on your Twitter of Google+ accounts, tag the influencer to let them know you’re a fan. Many will thank you for the exposure and some will even start following you. It’s also effective to ask them what they think of controversial topics. Again, make sure the article’s topic is in line to what they are interested in, or else it may be looked over. This move will transition you from an influencer/fan relationship to one of mutual peers talking about the industry.
This process does not happen overnight. It takes months of diligence and patience. Set aside a few hours a week to or a couple minutes each day to read and comment on the blogs of influencers. No matter how slow you think it is going, don’t get frustrated. Stay consistent with your efforts and it will pay off over time.
It’s Not About You
Don’t put all the focus on trying to get something out of them, if your content is good enough they will see it eventually. You want to focus on establishing a fair relationship where you both can benefit. Asking from someone without giving back is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Focus more on what you can do for them rather than what they can do for you and the results will follow. It takes time, but it is worth it.
The key to sitting at the table with industry influencers is building quality relationships. It takes a lot of effort, but you’ll reap greater rewards.