Let’s face it, you want visibility and profile and you’d probably fall over yourself if an influencer took you under their wing and shared your voice with their tribe – right?
For many people it’s a prized moment – to get the nod from someone who has a huge following, someone who is well respected, admired, a mover and shaker in their niche.
Think it’s just a distant dream – you’re wrong.
Influencers are within your reach
It is absolutely possible to get noticed by influencers but it comes down to doing the right things in the right order and for the right reasons. And, it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a journalist, a social media influencer or an authority in your niche. The same rules apply. Want to blog for The Huffington Post? It’s within your reach.
Infact, it’s much simpler than you think. But, the vast majority of people over think it, over complicate it and, crucially, go about it in completely the wrong way. Of course, you need to know what to do but it’s just as important to know what not to do so you don’t make a fool of yourself or look like a stalker.
How not to approach an influencer, or anyone for that matter
OK, this is going to sound a bit odd. But, just stop trying so hard. It’s never been easier to access people, whoever they are, by using the Internet. Blogs, online contact details and handy ways for working out email addresses can all give you the information you need. The people you want to reach are all reachable and that is part of the problem. It’s why so many people make a complete pratt of themselves – because it’s all too easy and just turns into a numbers game.
Well, contact enough people with your template email and you’ll get a response, right? Well, that’s a bit like throwing paint at the wall hoping that you’ll get a perfectly decorated room. Yes, some of the paint will stick but it won’t look nice and there could be an awful mess to clear up.
OK, I’m not an influencer but if I get emails from people saying ‘love your stuff, have re-tweeted you. Now, will you re-tweet me and can I write on your blog about the health benefits of goji berries?’ then, can you imagine the rubbish that influencers get bombarded with each and every day? Stuff that isn’t relevant, stuff that isn’t interesting, stuff that isn’t timely, stuff that isn’t up to standard, stuff that is just part of a mass email blast.
It’s all about people
The issue boils down to this – this person you want to reach out to is, well, just that – a person. So, you need to treat them like that and not just another name or number on your list. Respect them, respect their time. If you’ve reached out to an influencer and not heard back then it could be for any number of reasons. But, more than likely it’s because you’ve made the fundamental mistake of putting your own needs before theirs.
I’ve found that influencer connection comes when you are genuine about connecting and giving and expect nothing in return. Infact, you should probably think about it as a stepping stone approach. First and foremost – share your knowledge, your story, your insight, your experience as it relates to the work that the influencer is doing. No more or less.
So, let me give you an example of how this worked for me. And, how you can make it work for you.
Reaching out to Arianna Huffington
I’d gone through the usual channels of pitching to blog on The Huffington Post and the results? Crickets. My pitch had gone into their pitching inbox never to be seen again – and no contact name for me to chase up. So frustrating. But, I’m not one to be beaten.
So, I brushed myself off and got on with other stuff but it lingered at the back of my mind. Then, I saw an interview that Arianna Huffington did with Marie Forleo where Arianna spoke about her book Thrive and of a time in her life when perspective changed for her following her collapse from exhaustion. She became much more focused on appreciating what was important in her life.
That message resonated with me quite strongly. And, to put it simply, I felt compelled to email Arianna – not to pitch but just to thank her for sharing her story, her message and also to share my own ‘life change’moment. The result? I was invited to blog for The Huffington Post. You can do that too.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in putting yourself out there. Of course you want more profile and visibility, more coverage, more guest blogs published, you want more traffic, you want more people jumping on your list and more potential customers knocking at your door. And, you know that getting in front of other people’s tribes can help you accelerate that.
But, sometimes, you just need to stop pushing so hard and simply to share because you want to. That’s a much better approach than trying to ram your pitch down someone’s throat or asking for something before you’ve even made the slightest connection.
Put yourself in their shoes
Think about how you would like to be approached – by someone who tells you that they have re-tweeted you and immediately asks for something in return? Or, by someone who simply gives and shares to be helpful without expecting anything? So, how exactly can you ‘give’? There are so many ways, like:
- sharing their content on social media
- commenting on their status updates and tweets
- commenting on their blog
- answering questions they pose
- sending them information, resources and insight related to their podcast or blog post
- emailing them with suggestions for podcast interviewees of guest bloggers
- sharing your successes from using their tips, training and products
- responding to their email newsletters
- sharing your story as it relates to their story and what they are, or have been, doing
- connecting them with people who can help them
But, the key lies in wanting to help because that is the type of person you are. Ulterior motives soon get found out. So, be genuine and you’ll find that the opportunities will come knocking at your door.
In a nutshell: If you want to reach out to influencers then simply give without expecting anything in return – and give so that it benefits them first and foremost. That is sure to set you apart.
Debbie Leven is a PR Coach who works with entrepreneurs and small business service providers to help get them noticed on and offline – to help them build their visibilty, their brands and their businesses.
Image credit: Debbie Leven