Influencer programs continue to be of high interest across all practices, especially within Edelman’s consumer digital team. Forming a network of influencers is the recipe for building an effective lineup of brand advocates. But before sending out a mass email to a giant list of contacts, consider these five essentials:
1. Don’t Hit Send Just Yet
Like media relationships, a digital professional’s figurative Rolodex of influencer contacts is a coveted asset to their career. Building your network is important, but make sure that someone on your team does not have an existing relationship prior to reaching out. Your team member will be well versed in how this influencer likes to be approached. If you’re handling all influencer outreach for a program, have a teammate make the introduction.
2. Stay In The Know
You read their blogs weekly. You know about their side projects. You know how many pairs of Valentino Rockstud shoes they own. And surely you know what they’ve said about clients and competitor brands in the past. When it’s time to reach out, arm yourself with this knowledge and show the influencer that you respect them as an expert in their space. Prove that this partnership would be a perfect fit. Personalize the pitch as much as possible.
3. Don’t be a “User”
Often just being generous is the best way to build strong relationships with influencers. As an example, when you first reach out to bloggers, try not asking for anything. Just get to know them, and as in the previous point, what they’re about. If brand teams avoid the typical “brand using a blogger” narrative and show their genuine interest, it can establish a relationship in which both blogger and brand want to account for each others’ best interests.
4. Keep In Touch
After getting to know a blogger, follow them on Twitter, chime in on relevant conversations and congratulate them on life milestones and achievements. Not only will this demonstrate that you have a vested interest in their success, but that you know what’s going on in their lives. Influencers have full time jobs and lives outside of their Twitter feeds and blogs and staying on top of this is crucial. You wouldn’t ask an eight-month pregnant blogger to host a walking tour of New York City in July, would you?
5. Keep Track of Conversations
Sometimes, you need to reach out to 200 influencers per program. Make a list of targets in a spreadsheet. Vet them again and again. Keep track of outreach dates, and always record their response. If a blogger asks to be removed from your outreach list, make sure to remove them. It could be disastrous if you forget.
Do your research, stay personable and organized and you won’t end up with a photo of the Bloggess’s Wil Wheaton Collating Paper.
What tips do you have for hooking that A-list influencer contact?