Sounds like another dodgy, surreal ‘make your content great so thousands of people will read it’ strategy. But in fact, before you turn away and read something else, using your content to grab the attention of influencers in your industry is a great way of moving your business on the web forward.
But, first what is an influencer? Consulting a dictionary will give you a clue; an influencer according to the Merriman Online Dictionary is someone who has the ‘power of capacity‘ to cause change in an indirect or intangible way. In other words, the right person within your industry can move and sway opinions without really trying. How you become an ‘influencer’ is a subject for another article but what you need to do at this point, is to identify the person, business or body that you think is the or one of the top influencers within your industry or trade.
Your Company Blog
Hopefully, by now, you will have a vibrant company blog with plenty of original and relevant content. Fantastic! That is half the job done.
This is the tough bit – get the influencers that you have identified as being the key individuals or companies contributing to your blog – and doing it for free in exchange for advertisements of promotion on your website or blog.
Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? But it can be done and it has been done. There are plenty of fantastic examples out there on the web of online businesses that have done; by identifying and interacting with key influencers they have doubled the visitors to their site, effectively doubling their revenue too.
Your Online Marketing Plan
And so you will want to know the secret of how to make this happen. There is no magic formula but there are a few steps to follow to get you on the road of using your blog content to engage with influencers.
Step 1 – identify your influencers
As a business, you need to know who these people or organisations are. This is a research step, checking out on all the usual social media sites who are talking about businesses that are similar to yours, or products or services that you sell. They may be bloggers out there too in your field, scour trade magazines (in print and online) to identify these people and companies. You can also use ‘Google Alerts’ to filter and send you daily, weekly or ‘as it happens’ e-mail alerts using keyword search criteria.
Step 2 – get their attention!
You have your list and you know who your top influencers are within your industry. Now, you need to get their attention and time, two valuable assets.
Most influencers have ‘proper jobs’; they work in the industry, sharing content on blogs and various social media networks. They will approached by many different companies, agencies and individuals to write about their products and services and so you will need to be fairly innovative to get on their radar.
There are some tried and tested routines but you could always come up with your own. Social Media 4-1-1 was created by Andrew Davis, author of ‘Brandscaping’. This original idea was to a system of sharing, so that companies and online businesses would get improved visibility with their chosen influencers. Here is a quick guide as to how it would work:
Think 6 pieces of content to be shared via a social network –
- 4 should be pieces of writing, articles or blog posts from one of your key influencers on your newly created Top Influencers list
- 1 piece should be posted by you and be original content, written by you or your company for your target audience. It could be educational in content for example, how your service or product works, who is aimed at, why would a customer, use it etc.
- The remaining 1 piece should be a article or post that is sales driven – some suggestion include money off coupons, press release
But how does it work? Your influencers – in fact anyone who writes and posts on the web – enjoy their content being shared, especially when it relates to their business or products etc. Sharing their content without asking for anything in return is even better and so you will need to play the ‘patience game’… and so after a period of time, when you do finally get round to asking your influencers for something, they are more likely to oblige. This is known as ‘content gifts’ and is an online version of “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”.
Step 3 – make content shine
Now that you have built links and relationships with your created list of top influencers, don’t forget to keep those Google Alerts going for new people and ideas running in your trade or industry.
But now is your chance to ask these people for content for your website and hopefully, they will freely do so in exchange for promotional material or adverts on your website.
But, there is no excuse for sloppy writing, even if it does come from one of the top influencers within your industry. They may have written you a 500 word article but if you need to edit it, to make it really shine; this way your website will become known for high quality, original content rather than just a jumble of words, with nasty grammatical errors.
You will also need an ‘editorial plan’; make sure you are posting relevant material at key times of the year so that you maximise the number of visits to your website.
Keep posting to your own original content to your blog too. There are many other ways of grabbing the attention of top influencers within your industry so start looking – grab their attention and make it worth their while to contribute to your website with ‘content gifts’.