Inspiring Online Influencers to write about you: What you may be doing wrong
Why should you be targeting online influencers?
Off the top, let’s establish two things:
1. Being an online influencer means more than having many followers or a high Klout score. In the world of online editorial, influence is achieved by the authenticity of the endorsement and the respect held for the writer by their readers – every time. It’s truly a case of quality over quantity.
2. The authentic endorsement from an online influencer can be valuable to a brand’s success.
- Valuable credibility: As independent media entities, online influencers bypass editor and advertiser interests to write about topics they’re passionate about for a carefully cultivated audience that trusts their personal, unbiased opinion.
- Improved SEO: If potential customers are searching for your product or service, high-traffic blogs discussing your product could rank highly, giving you an introduction you may not have had otherwise.
- Media legitimacy: If consumers have heard about your product at the water-cooler, seeing your product on a blog validates it’s legitimacy.
How do you influence the influencers?
I like to think of online media in two categories; OWNED MEDIA that you create on your own based on what you know your customers will find valuable, and EARNED MEDIA; which is coverage from external sources (ie: media ‘coverage’). Online influencers fall under the EARNED MEDIA category. Translation: you need to earn their attention and their promotion.
Consumers respond to authenticity. So do influencers. Bad apples aside, most bloggers I work with do it because they love to write and connect with the people and places that interest them. Most social media all stars I know built their audiences by actively pursuing socialization with their community. Great bloggers should be treated like any other professional journalists – they’re asking the question, “Why should we care?” For God’s sake – give them a good reason to.
Inspire them to write about you/your product by demonstrating that that content will further connect and endear them to their audience. If they are interested, it’s likely because you or your brand/service will solve a problem, entertain, or provide relevant news to their readers.
If they aren’t interested, it’s likely because of two reasons (both of which you can fix for next time):
A) Because they don’t think their readers will be interested:
They know their readers pretty well, and will select topics based on what they will read (and share). If this is the case, you don’t want them to write about it. Why would you? It’s not a good fit. Move on.
B) Because your brand can’t help their brand:
Bloggers are journalists (most often) operating without a paycheque – many of the hardest working writers I know are professional bloggers. If they’re not getting paid, they should see some other benefit. I bet that if you could have shown that writing about your brand/products would have resulted in new visitors to their site, you might have had a fighting chance.
In other words, to appeal to an online influencer on an authentic level, you have to create a value proposition for the writer AND their readers. It should be a win-win-win (the third win is you) – anything less isn’t worth it for anyone.